NCAA Tournament: Kansas cruises into Elite Eight

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press Published: March 25, 2011
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SAN ANTONIO — In an NCAA regional full of underdogs, Kansas played like the dominant No. 1 seed it is.

Brady Morningstar scored 18 points and the Jayhawks knocked off 12th-seeded Richmond 77-57 Friday night get one win from returning to the Final Four for the first time since their 2008 championship. They await the winner of 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth and 10th-seeded Florida State.

The Southwest regional is the first in NCAA history with three double-digit seeded teams. But the Spiders looked jittery in the school's second round-of-16 appearance.

The Jayhawks? They were calm and confident in reaching a fourth regional final under coach Bill Self.

Justin Harper led Richmond with 22 points.

The Spiders (29-8) passed up open shots, bounced balls into the Kansas bench and found themselves down 31-9 with more than six minutes still left in the first half. It belied the bluster Richmond appeared to show during a chippy confrontation with Kansas players before tipoff.

The Spiders were bouncing around the tunnel of the Alamodome, firing themselves up, when Kansas players brushed past them on their way to the court. Some apparent contact set off an exchange of words and shoves, and security stepped between the teams.

Before Kansas (35-2) filed back to the locker room at halftime — with a 41-22 lead — Self held his players back and waited for Richmond to exit first. He told TBS during a halftime interview that he wanted his players to go through the tunnel after the Spiders.

Self said he wasn't after separation at that moment. But on the scoreboard, the Jayhawks already had it.

Thomas Robinson had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Marcus Morris scored 13 for Kansas. The Jayhawks have yet to be tested so far this tournament, winning by an average of nearly 18 points.

Kansas is riding an easy-looking path toward the Final Four. The Jayhawks can make it to Houston next week without having beaten a seed higher than nine.

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