Kansas and West Virginia booked their tickets for the Big 12 tournament final after their victories on Friday night in the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 1 Kansas
Kansas secured its spot in the final with an 83-67 victory. Kansas State Wildcats pushed hard to narrow the Jayhawks’ 13-point halftime lead and pulled within two points with 10 minutes to go. Then Kansas pulled away and left Kansas State in the dust.
The odds were stacked against the Wildcats with Dean Wade, an all-conference forward, out with a left foot injury. Then fewer than two minutes into the game, Kansas’ Devonté Graham accidentally poked Barry Brown in his right eye. Brown, a K-State all-conference guard, was forced to sit out the rest of the game.
Malik Newman led Kansas in scoring with 22 points, and Devonté Graham followed with 15. The Jayhawks have coped well in the absence of Udoka Azubuike and will need to maintain their form against West Virginia.
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 2 Texas Tech
West Virginia will make its third straight appearance in the Big 12 championship game. The Mountaineers defeated Texas Tech 66-63. Despite leading for nearly the entire second half, West Virginia had to fight until the end to fend off the persistent Red Raiders.
Texas Tech guard Niem Stevenson’s half-court heave was inches away from sending the game to overtime.
West Virginia found great success from the 3-point line, shooting 50 percent. Daxter Miles Jr. led the Mountaineers in scoring and shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
The Mountaineers will need to do something special to avoid losing their third straight game against Kansas on Saturday.