No KU? No problem for the Big 12 Tournament.
The top-ranked and top-seeded Jayhawks headed back to Lawrence on Thursday, but the Sprint Center should be loud for Friday’s semifinals with Iowa State in the first game and Kansas State in the second.
In Thursday’s afternoon quarterfinal session at the Sprint Center, almost all of the announced crowd of 18,972 was wearing Iowa State cardinal and gold or KU crimson and blue. In the night session, purple was the color of choice as Kansas State took the floor in the late game.
In the opener, the Cyclones breezed to a third victory over Oklahoma State, 92-83. Iowa State reached the Big 12 semifinals for the third time in four years: the Cyclones won the championship in 2014 and 2015.
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In the next game, TCU heard the loudest roars of the Jayhawks fans as Kansas chipped away at an 11-point second-half deficit. But the Horned Frogs prevailed 85-82 and will face Iowa State at 6 p.m. Friday.
“We really responded well,” said guard Kenrich Williams, who led the Horned Frogs with 18 points and eight rebounds.
In the night session, Kansas State awoke from a sleepy start and beat Baylor 70-64 with an impassioned second-half effort. The Wildcats reached the Big 12 semifinals for the first time since 2013.
They will face West Virginia around 8:30 p.m. The Mountaineers took care of Texas 63-53 and reached the Big 12 semifinals for the second straight year.
Jevon Carter led West Virginia with 21 points, hitting 5 of 7 threes as the Mountaineers shot a season-best 7 of 13 from three-point range. But that was about all they did in coach Bob Huggins’ eyes. He’ll be facing his former team on Friday.
“We obviously didn’t play very well today,” Huggins said. “Didn’t shoot it very well from the free-throw line. Didn’t make layups.”
Big 12 Tournament semifinals
No. 4 seed Iowa State (21-10) vs. No. 8 seed TCU (19-14)
When/where: 6 p.m. Friday at the Sprint Center
Season series: 1-1. TCU won 84-77 on Jan. 14 in Fort Worth and Iowa State won 84-71 on Feb. 18 in Ames
No. 2 seed West Virginia vs. No. 6 seed Kansas State
When/where: About 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Sprint Center
TV: ESPN 2
Season series: 1-1. K-State won 79-75 on Jan. 21 in Manhattan and West Virginia won 85-66 on Feb. 11 in Morgantown