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Kansas Wears Down Oklahoma State 82-68

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KANSAS CITY -

Malik Newman carried Kansas in the first half, scoring 20 of his career-high 30 points in the opening frame and the Jayhawks wore down Oklahoma State in the second half, winning 82-68 in the Big 12 quarterfinals.

The Cowboys (19-14, 8-10) now have to sweat out Selection Sunday to find out whether or not they’ll get invited to the Big Dance. Kansas (25-7, 13-5) will face Kansas State in the conference semis on Friday.

Senior Jeffrey Carroll led the Pokes with 17 points and added seven rebounds. Kendall Smith had 14 and backup big man Yankuba Sima scored a career-best 11. Mitch Solomon joined them in double figures with 10 points and five rebounds.

Carroll got off to a hot start with 11 points in the first nine minutes as OSU jumped out to a 24-14 lead. Kansas rallied back and took a 35-30 lead after a flurry of Newman treys. Then with Jayhawk big man Mitch Lightfoot on the bench in foul trouble, an unlikely candidate put the Cowboy offense on his shoulders.

Yankuba Sima, whose previous high was seven points against Texas, scored all 11 of his buckets in the first half, which ended in a 43-42 Kansas advantage.

The teams opened the second half trading baskets and Tavarius Shine’s jumper made it 52-50 Kansas with 14:59 left in the game. From that point, the Cowboys went cold and went nearly eight minutes without scoring.

The Jayhawks increased their lead to 66-50 over that span and OSU never fully recovered, getting only as close as nine before succumbing.

Now it all comes down to the committee. Many bracketologists still have the Cowboys on the outside looking in, but a few see OSU as an 11-seed. If passed over for the NCAA Tournament, hosting a first-round NIT game seems like a realistic possibility.

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