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No. 4 Seed Kansas Falls to No. 5 Seed Gonzaga in the Second Round, 89-68


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gonzaga played a nearly perfect second half, busting open a back-and-forth game with a 15-0 run Saturday to pull away from Kansas for an 89-68 win and extend its nation-best streak of trips to the Sweet 16 to nine.


Redshirt senior Dajuan Harris Jr. led the Jayhawks with a 10-point, 11-assist double-double for the second of his career. Harris’ 11 assists tied a career high. Harris’ 11 assists tied a career high and were the most in an NCAA Tournament game for the Missouri native.

The fifth-seeded Zags (27-7) made their first five 3-pointers of the second half, not missing from long range until 1:30 remained and the game had long entered extended garbage time.

Mark Few’s team will make its trip to the second weekend to play the winner of Sunday’s game between Purdue and Utah State.

Nolan Hickman finished with 17 points for the Zags, and big man Graham Ike had 15 points and nine rebounds, going toe to toe with KU’s Hunter Dickinson, who finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

“Hunt gave us everything he had,” Bill Self said. “But that was one tired dude out there today.”

While Gonzaga was cruising, parts of this looked painfully familiar to fans of the fourth-seeded Jayhawks (23-11), who have struggled with depth, shooting, consistency and injuries — leading scorer Kevin McCullar Jr. (knee) was out for the tournament. During Gonzaga’s 15-0 run, the Jayhawks missed 10-straight shots and never got within single digits again.

“It’s a formula for disaster when you can’t make shots and you can’t stop them,” said Kansas forward KJ Adams Jr., who finished with 10 points.

For 22 minutes, at least, this game lived up to its billing — a rare showdown between much-adored power programs. There were eight lead changes. At one point late in the first half, the teams combined to make nine-straight shots from the field, trading leads almost every time down.

It ended abruptly when Ike made a turnaround jumper, then Watson took a dish from Ben Gregg on the next possession for an easy layup. It was the start of a 15-0 run that expanded to 32-4 and pushed the lead as high as 27.

Kansas concluded their season with a record of 23-11 (10-8 Big 12), giving Kansas 23 wins in 18 of Self’s 21 seasons as head coach.