Cyclones knock off Jayhawks to reach Big 12 final

Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, far left, and Kansas’ Perry Ellis battle for a rebound during the second half.

Associated Press

Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, far left, and Kansas’ Perry Ellis battle for a rebound during the second half.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Georges Niang walked off the floor in the closing minutes with a bloody towel pressed tightly to his forehead, pumping his fist and riling up the Iowa State fans.

Turns out he was just jump-starting the celebration.

Niang scored 25 before leaving with that gash above his right eye, and the No. 16 Cyclones beat No. 10 Kansas 94-83 Friday to reach their first Big 12 tournament final since 2000.

"We love competing for championships," Niang said. "Coach says take it one day at a time, but the Big 12 championship is one day away from us."

DeAndre Kane had five 3-pointers and scored 20, and Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim added 19 points for the fourth-seeded Cyclones (25-8), who tonight face Baylor, which routed Texas 86-69.

Perry Ellis led top-seeded Kansas (24-9) with 30 points. Andrew Wiggins finished with 22.

The Jayhawks again were without 7-footer Joel Embiid, the league's defensive player of the year. The freshman has a stress fracture in his back and is likely out until at least the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

"Joel not being in there, he could probably guard Niang better," coach Bill Self said. "But I think it was more a collection of everybody rather than just one individual."

Big Ten: Branden Dawson scored 16 and Gary Harris 13 to lead No. 22 Michigan State past Northwestern 67-51 in the quarterfinals in Indianapolis. Harris made a reverse layup, then a 3-pointer to put the No. 3-seeded Spartans (24-7), who face Wisconsin today, up 57-33 with 9:23 left. … Ben Brust scored a career-high 29 to lead No. 12 Wisconsin to an 83-57 rout of Minnesota. The second-seeded Badgers (26-6) scored the last eight of the first half to take a 34-22 lead and later went on a 10-2 run to make it 50-33. … LaQuinton Ross had 26 points and 13 rebounds and No. 24 Ohio State rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to beat fourth-seeded Nebraska 71-67. The victory sends No. 5 seed Ohio State (25-8) into a semifinal matchup with No. 1 seed Michigan today. … Jordan Morgan scored on a layup with 7.9 seconds left, giving No. 8 Michigan a 64-63 victory over Illinois. The Illini had a chance to win on Tracy Abrams' shot, but it bounced off the front of the rim. Top seed Michigan (24-7) has won seven straight.

Pac-12: Nick Johnson scored 16 as No. 4 Arizona pulled away from Colorado to win 63-43 and reach the final in Las Vegas. The top-seeded Wildcats (30-3) face the winner of the late game between No. 2 UCLA and No. 6 Stanford. Down three at halftime, the Buffaloes, playing their third game in three days, made just 5 of 22 second-half shots.

Big East: Doug McDermott scored 32 as No. 14 Creighton beat Xavier 86-78 in the semifinals in New York. The No. 2-seeded Bluejays (26-6) face Providence. … Tyler Harris scored 14 of his 17 during the second half as fourth-seeded Providence seemingly cemented its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 10 years by beating eight-seeded Seton Hall 80-74.

Elsewhere: Jordan Gathers, nephew of the late Hank Gathers, hit a 3 at the buzzer as St. Bonaventure stunned No. 18 St. Louis 71-68 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament in New York. The ninth-seeded Bonnies (18-14), who face No. 4 St. Joseph's today, came into the tourney on a four-game losing skid. Dwayne Evans, who had hit three 3s all season, made one with 20.9 seconds left for St. Louis (26-6) to tie the score at 68-68. … Briante Weber scored 18 in 18 minutes, and No. 23 VCU routed crosstown rival Richmond 71-53 in the quarters of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Weber, who led the country in steals with 111 during the regular season, came in averaging 9.1 points. The Rams (25-7) face No. 3 seed George Washington, which beat UMass 85-77. … Dwayne Polee scored 18 to lead No. 8 San Diego State to a 59-51 win over UNLV in the Mountain West semifinals in Las Vegas. The top-seeded Aztecs (29-3), who face the winner of the late game between No. 6 Boise State and New No. 2 Mexico, used a 19-9 run to take a 48-33 lead with 8:13 left.

4 OT thriller: Melvin Johnson's three-point play with six seconds left in the fourth overtime lifted No. 4 seed Arkansas State past No. 5 Arkansas-Little Rock 116-114 in a Sun Belt quarterfinal in New Orleans. The Red Wolves (19-12) face top-seeded Georgia State in the semifinals today.

Jacksonville fires coach: Jacksonville fired coach Cliff Warren after its third consecutive losing season. He went 126-150 over nine seasons.

Women: Ebony Rowe had 25 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 22 Middle Tennessee past Florida International 64-57 in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament in El Paso, Texas. The top-seeded Blue Raiders (28-4) face second-seeded Southern Miss today. … Shelbie Justice scored 21 as fifth-seeded Ball State upset top-seed and No. 25 Bowling Green 73-55 in the Mid-American semifinals. The Cardinals have won four games in five days to reach today's final, in which it faces third-seeded Akron. The Falcons (27-4) had won 13 in a row.

NCAA Tournament automatic berths

Men

American Patriot

Coastal Carolina Big South

Delaware Colonial

Eastern Kentucky Ohio Valley

Gonzaga West Coast

Harvard Ivy League

Manhattan Metro Atlantic

Mercer Atlantic Sun

Milwaukee Horizon

Mount St. Mary's Northeast

North Dakota St. Summit

Wichita St. Missouri Valley

Wofford Southern

Women

Albany America East

Baylor Big 12

Chattanooga Southern

UConn American Athletic

DePaul Big East

Fordham Atlantic 10

Gonzaga West Coast

Marist Metro Atlantic

Nebraska Big Ten

Notre Dame ACC

Penn Ivy League

South Dakota Summit

Southern Cal Pac-12

Tennessee SEC

Tennessee-Martin Ohio Valley

Winthrop Big South

Cyclones knock off Jayhawks to reach Big 12 final 03/14/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 15, 2014 12:35am]

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