Kansas routs Kansas State, 70-54, for Big 12 championship

One by one, Kansas players headed to the top step of the ladder to cut down the nets, with Jeff Withey carefully nipping at a piece of nylon and then waving it to the roar of the fans.

There was no way the Jayhawks were going to share this celebration.

No way they were going to share this title.

Withey had 17 points and nine rebounds Saturday night, and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks used their trademark suffocating defense to beat No. 11 Kansas State, 70-54, in Kansas City, Mo., and win the their ninth Big 12 tournament championship — this one at the expense of their regular-season co-champs.

‘‘I think how this season played out this year, I think it means a lot,’’ Kansas guard Travis Releford said.

The Jayhawks (29-5), who may have locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with the win, beat Kansas State for the third time this season.

Rodney McGruder scored 18 points despite a poor first half for the Wildcats (27-7), who have not won a conference tournament in more than 30 years.

The first meeting between the schools in a league tournament title game since 1980 — back in the days of the Big Eight — resulted in a record crowd of 19,256 at the Sprint Center.

Johnson and Naadir Tharpe each hit 3-pointers during a 14-2 run by the Jayhawks, and a bucket by Kevin Young in the closing seconds made it 24-16 at the break.

It was Kansas State’s lowest-scoring half this season, and the second-lowest by Kansas.

The Wildcats finally got into a rhythm early in the second half but Kansas once against clamped down on defense, and the result was another 12-3 run to seize control.

Big Ten semifinals — Ryan Evans had 16 points to help 22d-ranked Wisconsin upset No. 3 Indiana, 68-56, in Chicago.

The Badgers (23-10) allowed only 7 points after the top-seeded Hoosiers pulled to within 1 with less than 10 minutes left. They earned their 12th consecutive win against Indiana, tying a record for any school against the program.

Christian Watford scored 14 points for Indiana (27-6), and Cody Zeller had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Victor Oladipo scored 10 on 4-of-12 shooting.


 In the other semifinal, Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead No. 10 Ohio State past No. 8 Michigan State, 61-58.

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The Buckeyes (25-7) avenged a loss in last year’s championship game against the Spartans (25-8).

Keith Appling scored 16 points for the Spartans.

ACC semifinals — Durand Scott scored a career-high 32 points to help No. 9 Miami beat North Carolina State, 81-71, in Greensboro, N.C., earning its first trip to the title game.

 Shane Larkin added 23 points for the top-seeded Hurricanes (26-6), who led the entire way and were up by 19 late in the first half.


 Scott also had a couple of big shots that shut down comeback bids by the fifth-seeded Wolfpack (24-10), who got as close as 6 after halftime.

 In the other semifinal, Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock scored 15 points apiece and North Carolina held on to beat Maryland, 79-76.

 P.J. Hairston scored 13 points despite a heavily wrapped and injured left (non-shooting) hand for the third-seeded Tar Heels (24-9), who got an airballed 30-footer from Logan Aronhalt with about 10 seconds remaining off an inbounds play.

 Alex Len had 20 points to lead seventh-seeded Maryland (22-12).

 Hairston needed eight stitches to close a wound suffered in Friday night’s win over Florida State.


SEC semifinals — Kenny Boynton scored 11 straight points during a 15-0 second-half run and No. 13 Florida rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat Alabama, 61-51, in Nashville.

 Held scoreless for the first 25 minutes, Boynton finished with a game-high 16 points for the the top-seeded Gators (26-6).

 Trevor Releford scored 12 points for No. 4 seed Alabama (21-12).

 The other semifinal saw Marshall Henderson net 23 points as Mississippi beat Vanderbilt, 64-52. The third-seeded Rebels (25-8) are in search of their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2002.

 No. 10 seed Vanderbilt (16-17) lost for only the second time in eight games.

Mountain West final — Tony Snell scored 13 straight points for New Mexico, and the No. 15 Lobos (29-5) scored a 63-56 win over UNLV (25-9) in Las Vegas to add the conference tournament title to their regular-season crown.

Conference USA final — In Tulsa, Okla., Chris Crawford scored 23 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in double overtime, and No. 20 Memphis (30-4) held on for a 91-79 win over Southern Miss (25-9) to win its seventh conference tournament title in eight years.

Pac-12 final — Carlos Emery had 20 points in Las Vegas, and Oregon (26-8) outlasted No. 21 UCLA (25-9) in a 78-69 win.

Mid-American final — Demetrius Treadwell scored 13 points and top-seeded Akron (26-6) beat Ohio, 65-46, in Cleveland. Ohio’s D.J. Cooper, the MAC’s Player of the Year, missed all nine shots and scored just 3 points for the Bobcats (24-9).

MEAC final — In Norfolk, Va., Adrian Powell had 14 points, including two free throws with 23.4 seconds to play, and blocked a potential tying 3-pointer as North Carolina A&T (19-16) handed Morgan State (17-15) a 57-54 defeat for its first conference tournament title since 1995.

Big Sky final — Montana (25-6) made the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years by beating Weber State, 67-64. Kareem Jamar had 20 points for the host Grizzlies.

Big West final — Tony Gill had 19 points and Pacific (22-12) held off UC Irvine (20-15) to win, 64-55, in Anaheim, Calif.

Southland final — Northwestern State fended off Stephen F. Austin, 68-66, in Katy, Texas. The Demons (23-8) got 19 points from Shamir Davis. Only eight players saw action for the Lumberjacks (27-4).

SWAC final — Derick Beltran had 13 points, plus a late steal and layup, and Southern University (23-9) got its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2006 with a 45-44 win over Prairie View (15-19) in Garland, Texas.

WAC final — Sim Bhullar’s 16 points and 15 rebounds lifted New Mexico State (24-10) to a 64-55 win over Texas-Arlington (19-13) in Las Vegas.