Kansas Headed to the Elite Eight

Russell Robinson (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

DETROIT - For the fifth time in the last eight seasons and the 19th time in school history, the University of Kansas men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight late Friday night when it defeated Villanova 72-57 at Ford Field. Brandon Rush led all scorers with 16 points.

An NCAA preliminary round single-game record 57,028 fans witnessed the Jayhawks improve their record to 34-3, the third-highest win total in Kansas history. Villanova fell to 22-13.

The Jayhawk guards set the tone early scoring 32 of Kansas' 41 first-half points.

After Villanova scored the game's first points, Kansas went on a 19-6 run over the next five minutes fueled by Russell Robinson and Brandon Rush who combined for 17 points during the stretch. Robinson was particularly sharp from the perimeter where he canned his first three 3-pointers, which tied his career high.

The offensive surge continued as KU extended its lead to 26-10 on a Darrell Arthur slam at the 11:19 mark. The Wildcats clawed back when Scottie Reynolds scored his first points on a 3-pointer a minute later and then were able to cut the lead to seven using an 11-2 run to make the score 28-21 with 6:53 remaining the half.

Unfazed, Kansas responded with a 13-1 run to close the half. Mario Chalmers pumped in eight points, all in transition, over the final minutes of the period and the Jayhawks led by 19 at intermission with the score 41-22.

Robinson led all first-half scorers with 13 points followed by Rush with 11. Reynolds paced Villanova with six. Kansas shot 59.3 percent from the field in the period compared to 26.7 percent for Villanova and was able to outscore the Wildcats 12-0 in fastbreak points in the opening frame.
 
Villanova was never able to get closer than 12 in the second half as Kansas coasted to the 72-57 victory.

Kansas finished the game shooting 53.3 percent from the field while holding Villanova to 35.6 percent. The Jayhawks narrowly owned the glass 33-30.

Robinson finished with 15 points, to go along with five assists and three boards. Chalmers added 14 points, four assists, three steals and three boards. Rush added four rebounds to his game-high 16 points.

Reynolds led Villanova with 11 points and Dante Cunningham chipped in 10.

The win extended Kansas' winning streak to 10 games and advanced the Jayhawks to an Elite Eight matchup with No. 10 seed Davidson on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. (Central time). The game will be televised by CBS.

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Story courtesy:  KUAC

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