No. 1 KU didn't seem to take No. 16-seed Lehigh lightly in the Jayhawks' 90-74 opening-round victory…
KU coughed the ball up 15 times leading to 21 UNI points, while the Panthers also got 18 points off second chance points. With the Jayhawks never finding an offensive rhythm, it was too much to overcome.
Things seemed to start off good on KU's first possession when Cole Aldrich took a feed in the post and converted a strong post move over UNI's seven-foot Jordan Eglseder for a 2-0 lead.
However, the mood quickly changed as Northern Iowa rattled off 10 straight points with five coming from Eglseder and head coach Bill Self was forced to call for an early timeout with 17:32 on the clock. Self's instructions in the huddle seemed to work as Kansas went on a mini 7-2 run to close the gap to 12-9 in favor of UNI.
Using a dizzying array of jumpers from mid and long range, Northern Iowa proved difficult to guard. Kansas was never able to reclaim a lead, but did cut the margin to two when Sherron Collins slashed to the hole for his only bucket to cut it to 25-23 with 6:35 to play.
Ali Farokhmanesh then scored eight straight for UNI while the Jayhawks went cold. At halftime, KU trailed 36-28. Farokhmanesh led all first-half scorers with 11, followed by Eglseder with 10. Kansas got seven from Marcus Morris and Aldrich, with Aldrich grabbing seven boards.
Kansas turned the ball over eight times in the period leading to 11 Panther points, while the Jayhawks only converted for three points off four UNI miscues.
Not much changed after the half until about the 10 minute mark when Kansas started to turn up the pressure and slowly chip at the lead. Up 52-41, UNI inexplicably started hoisting long-range threes, missing most of them, as Kansas edged closer.
In the final minute Kansas looked to have finally gained momentum, as it had clawed all the way back to within one with the score 63-62.
Farokhmanesh – also the hero of the Panthers first round game – then hit a long three to regain a four point lead. He tacked on two more free throws in the closing seconds to seal it.
Aldrich finished with his 37th career double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Marcus Morris led Kansas with 16 points and Collins added 10 in his final college game.
Farokhmanesh posted a game-high 16 points thanks largely to four three-pointers. Eglseder scored 14 and Jake Koch added 10.
Kansas shot 44.4 percent from the field compared to just 40 percent for UNI. The Panthers hit 9-of-26 threes and 16-of-19 free throws, while KU converted just 6-of-23 treys and 13-of-18 from the line.
Story courtesy: KUAC
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