Kansas City, Mo. With senior guard Keith Langford out with an ankle injury, Kansas University men's basketball team needed its other seniors - Wayne Simien, Aaron Miles and Michael Lee - to step up Saturday against Kansas State.
The experienced trio did just that, leading the Jayhawks to an 80-67 victory over the Wildcats in the Big 12 Conference Tournament quarterfinals. It was KU's third win of the season and 31st victory in a row over KSU.
Simien, the Big 12 player of the year, had his usual huge game, scoring 28 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, hitting 10 of 13 free throws. Miles had 18 points (4-of-6 shooting from three-point range), five assists and five rebounds, and Lee had six points, four assists and a career-high 11 boards.
The Jayhawks, who will face either Colorado or Oklahoma State in the tournament semifinals at 3:20 p.m. Saturday, needed those performances to hold off a Wildcat team that wouldn't give up despite being down double digits numerous times.
After KSU took an early 3-0 lead, Kansas fought back with 12 consecutive points and led by as many as 15 points, 23-8, midway through the first half. The Wildcats answered with seven straight points, and later cut the Jayhawks' lead to three points, 35-32, with about a minute and a half left before halftime.
Lee hit a pair of free throws before intermission, though, extending the lead to five points, 37-32, at halftime.
KU's momentum continued early in the second half as the Jayhawks scored nine of the first 11 points after intermission, taking a 46-34 lead about four minutes in.
Kansas State clawed to within three points, 60-57, with about five minutes to go, but Kansas followed with a 7-0 run and held off the Wildcats with strong free throw shooting down the stretch.
J.R. Giddens had 14 points and five rebounds for KU, Jeff Hawkins had eight points and three assists, and Alex Galindo had five points before fouling out with 1:52 left.
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Christian Moody had a point and five rebounds before fouling out with just under four minutes left, and Sasha Kaun had two fouls.
Martin had 14 points for KSU, Jeremiah Massey had 17 points, and Fred Peete had seven points before fouling out with 1:40 left.
Justin Williams had three points, Clent Stewart had three points, and Lance Harris had 23 points.
The Jayhawks were 23-of-49 shooting from the field, including 10-of-25 from three-point range, and 24-of-29 shooting from the foul line. Kansas had 17 turnovers.
The Wildcats were 18-of-50 shooting from the field, including 8-of-19 from long distance, and 23-of-35 shooting from the charity stripe. Kansas State had seven turnovers.
¢ Langford did not make the trip to Kansas City with the Jayhawks. He remained in Lawrence suffering from dehydration because of the stomach flu.
All stats are unofficial.