Kansas (25-7, 13-5) marched into the semis with a 64-59 victory over No. 9 seed TCU in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
BU (24-8, 11-7), which has won six of its last seven games, is coming off an 80-70 win over No. 5 seed West Virginia in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Taurean Prince led four Bears in double figures with 18 points, while Rico Gathers also came up big with 15 points and nine rebounds. Gathers is now in ninth place all time in the Big 12 for rebounds in a single season (371). He needs 11 more boards to catch former KU great Nick Collison.
Baylor shot 51 percent from the field, including 54.5 percent in the second half, and outscored WVU 40-20 in the paint and 14-2 on fast-break points.
This is the fifth semifinal appearance for BU in the past seven years.
Prince leads four BU players in double figures with 14.2 points per game, while Gathers averages 11.7 points and 11.6 rebounds.
Baylor played KU quite close in the two matchups this season. BU fell 56-55 at home on Jan. 7, while KU won 74-64 in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 14.
Kansas freshman guard Kelly Oubre Jr. expects a tough battle today.
“They run a ‘Y’ zone,” Oubre said. “They have great players, also, on the offensive and defensive end. We have to bring our game, play with heart and come ready to play because we can be beat on any given night if we're not ready to play.”
SURVIVE AND ADVANCE
KU didn’t play its best game against a pesky and scrappy TCU team, but survived and advanced in the Big 12 Championship. The score was tied 10 times and there were 13 lead changes.
Oubre led all scorers with a game-high and career-best 25 points, while Landen Lucas added a career-high tying 13 points and seven rebounds. Kansas shot 48.9 percent from the field and held TCU to 40.8 percent shooting.
“It was obviously a win which we're happy about; we didn't play particularly well,” KU coach Bill Self said. “And I thought TCU played really smart and really tough. Obviously we didn't make as many plays as I would have liked throughout the game, but Kelly and Landen basically made enough plays to allow us to win because basically they were the two best performers we had today by a long shot.”
Oubre played the best game of his career, making 15-of-19 free throws and scoring 10-straight points, including eight charities, when the score was tied with 8:34 remaining. He set the Big 12 Championship record for free throws made by a freshman and tying the mark for free throws attempted overall.
Oubre talked about his success with relentlessly getting to the free throw line late in the game.
“Within our offense the lanes were opening up, so the play was to drive and kick,” he said. “But I had a bigger, slower guy on me, so I took him and got fouled.”
Self posted his 350th win at Kansas against TCU, making him the fastest coach in KU history to reach the 350 mark. Former KU head coach Roy Williams recorded his 350th win in 430 games, while Self won 350 in 426 contests.
NO THREE BALL
Kansas did not hit a three-pointer (0-of-8) for the second time in the last three games, marking the first time this has happened since the record began being tracked in the 1988-89 season. KU is now 8-of-59 from beyond the arc in its last five games.