• Key play: Ben McLemore opened the game with a dunk on an assist from Elijah Johnson, then knocked down a three-pointer two possessions later.
• Key stat: McLemore scored 12 of the Jayhawks’ first 15 points.
• Key play: McLemore hit a three-pointer that gave KU a 37-27 lead with 19:33 left in the second half. The lead would stay double-digits from then on.
• Key stat: KU’s shooting percentage (66 percent) set a single-game Big 12 Tournament record.
As teams play deeper into March, bench rotations usually contract rather than expand. But Kansas’ 91-63 victory against Texas Tech on Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals allowed KU coach Bill Self the opportunity to give freshmen guards Andrew White III and Rio Adams some rare playing time. They responded with stellar production.
White knocked down two three-pointers and finished with six points, while Adams went on a late-game scoring spree, pouring in 11 points in just five minutes. Add in the production of forwards Perry Ellis (eight points) and Jamari Traylor (seven points), and KU’s bench finished with 39 points for the afternoon.
The bench production eased the scoring burden of freshman guard Ben McLemore and KU’s four senior starters.
“We were playing as a team,” McLemore said, “moving the ball around, making extra passes to each other and just (creating) for each other.”
• Since the inception of the Big 12, KU has reached the semifinals of the league tournament in 15 of 17 seasons.
• KU’s margin of victory (28 points) was its largest in a Big 12 tournament game since it beat Texas Tech 90-50 in the 2002 semifinals.
• Kansas improved to 18-4 all-time at the Sprint Center.
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org