LAWRENCE, Kan. — No. 17/18 Kansas (25-8) is set to face Iowa State (22-11) in the final of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Saturday at Sprint Center.
No. 3-seed Kansas, who advanced with a semifinal win over No. 10-seed West Virginia on Friday night, will meet a No.5-seeded Iowa State team that outlasted No. 1-seed Kansas State in the semifinals. Kansas or Iowa State have won each of the last six Big 12 Tournament titles. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. (CT) on ESPN with Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst) and Holly Rowe (reporter) calling the action.
- No. 3 seed Kansas (25-8) will face No. 5 seed Iowa State (22-11) in the title game of the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, March 16, at 5 p.m. (Central) on ESPN. KU advanced to the finals with an 88-74 win against No. 10 West Virginia in the semifinals, March 15.
- KU advanced to the finals for the 22nd time in conference postseason tournament play, including the 14th time in the 23-year history of the Big 12. KU is 11-2 in Big 12 tourney title contests, 15-6 all-time.
- Kansas and Iowa State are meeting for the 12th time in conference tournament history, including the sixth time since the Big 12 began in 1996-97. Kansas and Iowa State last met in the 2015 championship game with ISU winning 70-66. Kansas is 6-5 against Iowa State in conference tourney play, including 3-2 in the Big 12 era.
- Kansas is the No. 3 seed for the Big 12 Championship for the third time with the others being in 1999 and 2004. Kansas won the 1999 Big 12 Championship behind Most Outstanding Player Jeff Boschee. In 2004, the Jayhawks lost to Texas in the Big 12 semifinal. This year ended a 10-year run as No. 1 seed for KU.
- Kansas is defending Big 12 tournament champion and has won 15 conference postseason tourney titles and 11 in the Big 12 era, which began in 1996-97. Kansas (11), Iowa State (4), Oklahoma (3) and Oklahoma State (2) are active league members with Big 12 tourney titles.
- Since the Big 12’s inception in 1996-97, Kansas 46-11 in the league tournament. KU is 21-3 in its first games, 1-0 in opening-round games, 19-3 in the quarterfinals, 14-6 in semifinals and 11-2 in finals.
- Kansas is 1-1 against Iowa State this season with a 77-60 loss at Ames on Jan. 5 and an 80-76 win in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 21. Kansas leads the overall series with Iowa State, 94-17, which includes a 6-5 mark in conference tournaments (3-2 in the Big 12 Championship).
Ranked No. 17/18 nationally, Kansas is 25-8 overall and finished 12-6 in Big 12 play. In all games, Kansas ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring offense (second at 75.7), field goal percentage (third at 46.5) and field goal percentage defense (third at 40.6). KU has a +2.5 rebound margin and also averages 7.4 3-pointers made, 13.4 assists, 6.8 steals and 3.9 blocked shots per game. Through two Big 12 Championship games, KU is averaging 76.5 points, with a +11.0 scoring margin, a +9.5 rebound margin and 13.5 assists, 7.0 steals and 6.0 blocked shots in its two victories.
Redshirt-junior F Dedric Lawson is coming off his 16th 20-point effort of the season after his 24 points, with eight rebounds against West Virginia (3/15). Lawson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.2 ppg, rebounding at 10.4 rpg and with 20 double-doubles. The Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team selection, Dedric Lawson is the only player in the league averaging a double-double. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week (11/12, 11/26, 12/26) and five-time league newcomer of the week (12/3, 12/17, 1/14, 1/28, 2/11), Lawson leads KU with 35 blocked shots and his 1.1 blocks per game are sixth in the conference. Lawson is 10th in the Big 12 with a 49.3 field goal percentage.
Freshman G Devon Dotson is averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds in the Big 12 Championship. He averaged 12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.8 apg and 1.3 spg in Big 12 play. An All-Big 12 Third Team honoree, Dotson ranks 16th in the Big 12 in scoring (11.9), sixth in assists (3.6), 13th in field goal percentage (47.6), ninth in steals (1.3) and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5).
Freshman G Ochai Agbaji has seven games of 10 or more points, including three 20-point efforts. Agbaji has five games with multiple 3-pointers. Agbaji pulled his redshirt prior to the TCU game (1/9) and averages 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest.
Freshman G Quentin Grimes is averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals with six 3-pointers made in the two Big 12 Championship contests. His 18 points against West Virginia (3/15) were his third most this season. He is 17-for-35 (48.6 percent) from 3-point range in his last six contests, including a 5-for-8 effort from beyond the arc against WVU (3/15). Grimes is second on the team with 51 3-pointers made this season. He averages 8.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per contest.
Sophomore G Marcus Garrett scored 11 points against West Virginia (3/15) with five rebounds. He pulled down a season-high eight rebounds with five points against Texas (3/14) in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Garrett ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 1.5 steals per game. He scored 8.8 points in Big 12 play and overall averages 7.3 points and 3.8 rebounds and has 53 assists.
Other KU regulars include freshman F David McCormack (3.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg), redshirt-sophomore G Charlie Moore (3.0 ppg, 19 3-pointers), redshirt-sophomore G K.J. Lawson (2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg), and junior F Mitch Lightfoot (2.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg). McCormack has started each of the last 10 games and is averaging 10.0 ppg and a team-leading 8.5 rpg in the Big 12 Championship. He is 8-for-10 from the field in the tourney and has averaged 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in his last four contests and is 22-for-30 (73.3 percent) from the field in that span.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State, 182-65, dating back to 1908. The two teams split this season with ISU winning 77-60 on Jan. 5 in Ames and KU winning 80-76 on Jan. 21 in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas holds a slim 6-4 series edge in the last 10 meetings. Iowa State won two of those contests in the Big 12 Championship (88-73 in the 2014 semifinals and 70-66 in the 2015 title game). Prior to the recent closeness in the series, KU posted an 18-1 record versus the Cyclones from 2006 until 2014.
Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 37-14 against Iowa State with a 34-12 record in regular-season play and a 3-2 mark in the Big 12 Championship. KU head coach Bill Self is 27-9 all-time versus Iowa State, including 26-9 while at KU, while ISU’s Steve Prohm is 3-5 against Kansas. Eight of the last 12 meetings have been decided by seven points or less and six of those by five points or fewer.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 26-8 give KU 26 victories for the fifth-straight season and 12th time in the 16-seasons under head coach Bill Self … Give Kansas its 12th Big 12 Championship title and its 16th all-time postseason conference tournament title … Make Kansas 12-2 in Big 12 Championship title games, 16-6 in all-time conference tourney championship games … Make KU 6-0 in neutral-site games this season and 16-1 over the last two seasons … Improve Kansas to 77-27 in league tournament play and 47-11 at the Big 12 Championship … Make Kansas 42-9 all-time in Sprint Center, including 4-0 this season … Make the Kansas-Iowa State series 183-65 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 7-5 in conference tournament meetings, 4-2 in the Big 12 Championship … Make Bill Self 473-104 while at Kansas, 680-209 overall, 28-9 all-time versus Iowa State (27-9 while at KU) and 42-12 all-time in conference tournaments (33-7 while at KU) … Make Kansas 2,274-857 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 25-9 … Make Kansas 15-7 all-time in conference tournament finals, including 11-3 in Big 12 Championship title contests … Hand KU its first neutral-site loss this season (5-1) and just its second neutral site loss in 17 games (15-2) over the last two seasons … Drop Kansas to 76-28 in league tournament play, including 46-12 in the Big 12 Championship … Make Kansas 41-10 all-time in Sprint Center, including 3-1 this season … Make the Kansas-Iowa State series 182-66 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 6-6 in conference tournament play, 3-3 in Big 12 Championship meetings … Make Bill Self 472-105 while at Kansas, 679-210 overall, 27-10 all-time versus Iowa State (26-10 while at KU) and 41-13 all-time in conference tournaments (32-8 while at KU) … Make Kansas 2,273-858 all-time.
LAST TIME OUT
Impressive shooting nights from Dedric Lawson and Quentin Grimes helped push the No. 17/18 Kansas Jayhawks past the West Virginia Mountaineers, 88-74, Friday night in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship semifinal contest at Sprint Center. The No. 3-seeded Jayhawks advanced to meet No. 5 seed Iowa State in the tournament final on Saturday, March 16 at 5 p.m. (CT).
Down 30-23 with 6:07, Grimes caught fire from beyond the arc late in the first half and the Jayhawks flipped the momentum before the halftime buzzer sounded. The freshman out of The Woodlands, Texas, hit four triples over the final 4:15 of the opening frame, which included converting on a rare and-one opportunity from deep. Grimes’ four-point play gave the lead back to Kansas at 38-36, still with 2:28 before the break.
After a pair of Marcus Garrett lay-ups to keep the Jayhawks’ furious finish to the first half going, Grimes rose up from well beyond the arc and swished his fifth 3-pointer of the night just before time expired. The basket capped a 16-4 KU run to close the half and gave Kansas a 48-40 advantage as the two squads headed to the intermission.
The break from action did little to halt the KU momentum. Lawson scored nine points in the six minutes following the restart and aided the Jayhawks to a 16-6 run after coming out of the locker room. The stretch saw KU push its lead to 18 points, going up 64-46 on Garrett’s lay-up at the 14:29 mark. Kansas’ bench then got into the scoring action as Mitch Lightfoot and Charlie Moore combined for six points during a 9-1 Jayhawk spurt that saw the KU lead reach its largest of the night at 23 points, 75-52, with just over eight minutes to play in regulation.
The Mountaineers made one final push to get back in the game as the No. 10 seed went on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes and slashed the Kansas advantage to 13 points. But Dotson had an answer after a Bill Self timeout. The freshman point guard cut to the rim for a lay-up and kicked off an 11-4 stretch that got KU’s lead back to 20 points and handed the final knockout blow to the Mountaineers.
Lawson finished the night with his 16th 20-point scoring effort of the season, posting 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Grimes added 18 points which included five 3-pointers, all of which were in the second half. He also pulled down eight rebounds and collected four steals, both of which were season-highs. Dotson contributed 13 points to the KU scoring effort and added six assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
WEST VIRGINIA LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- KU moved to 5-0 in neutral-site games this season and 15-1 over the last two seasons.
- The win improved Kansas to 76-27 in league tournament play and 46-11 at the Big 12 Championship.
- The victory made Kansas 41-9 all-time in Sprint Center, including 3-0 this season.
- Kansas used a 13-2 run to erase a 34-30 deficit into a 43-36 lead with lead.
- Over the final three minutes of the first half and the first 5:30 of the second, KU outscored WVU 32-10
- KU’s 88 points were the most by the Jayhawks at the Sprint Center since Kansas tallied 98 in a victory over Purdue on March 23, 2017, in the NCAA Tournament. The point total was its most in a Big 12 Championship game since KU defeated Iowa State 88-73 on March 15, 2013.
- Kansas shot 52.4 percent from the field marking the 12th time this season the Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better. KU is 12-0 in those contests with a 250-9 record in the Self era.
- Redshirt-junior F Dedric Lawson recorded his ninth multiple 3-point field goal game of the season as Lawson went 2-of-3 fot the game.
- Freshman G Devon Dotson has 394 points this season, putting him ninth in the Kansas freshman single-season record book as he moved past Darnell Valentine who scored 392 points in 1977-78.
- In Dotson’s two games in the Big 12 Championship, has posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 10:1.
- Dotson’s 30 minutes logged moved him past Brandon Rush who tallied 1,047 minutes in 2006 for fifth all-time in minutes played in a single season as a KU freshman. Dotson has now played in 1,070 minutes this season.
- Junior F Mitch Lightfoot blocked three shots in the first half for the second-consecutive game.
- Lightfoot swatted a season-high four shots in 15 minutes played and has eight blocked shots in his last three games.
- Freshman G Quentin Grimes’ 5-of-5 clip from 3-point range in the first half matched the most by a Jayhawk in a half this season. Charlie Moore hit five in the second half against South Dakota on December 18, 2018.
- Grimes has made 51 threes on the season as he moved past Sherron Collins who made 47 in 2007, Mario Chalmers who made 48 in 2006, Billy Thomas who hit 49 in 1995 and Brandon Rush who made 50 in 2006 for fifth all-time in threes made in a Kansas single season by a freshman.
- Since the calendar turned to March, Grimes is 14-of-29 from beyond the arc (48.2 percent).
Kansas will learn its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday. CBS will televise the selections from 5-6 p.m. (CT). Kansas will be making its 48th NCAA Tournament appearance, including its NCAA record 30th in a row, a streak which started in 1990.