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No. 10 seed Stanford shocks No. 2 seed Kansas

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ST. LOUIS — After an ugly first half that saw both teams combine to shoot 32 percent from the field to go with 16 turnovers, No. 10 seed Stanford settled down and pulled away from No. 2 seed Kansas to earn a 60-57 upset win on Sunday, in a Round of 32 game in the South Regional.

Stanford advances to the Sweet 16, where they’ll face No. 11 seed Dayton in Memphis on Thursday.

Kansas senior forward Tarik Black led Kansas with a game-high 18 points, but fouled out with five minutes remaining. That changed the game for the Jayhawks, as Black was the only offensive option for the Jayhawks in the second half. Black and freshman guard Connor Frankamp combined for 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting. The rest of the Kansas roster managed 27 points on 9-for-42 shooting from the floor.

MORE: Kansas has lost to a No. 9 seed or lower five times under Bill Self

The fault will likely end up falling on the shoulders of Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins. A projected top three pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and the most hyped player in a loaded 2013 recruiting class, Wiggins had as many points as turnovers — four — on 1-for-6 shooting from the field. He was a no-show, and it cost Kansas.

The Jayhawks fell behind early, trailing the Cardinal, 18-11, with 9:31 remaining in the first half, but the Kansas defense held Stanford to one field goal for the remainder of the half as the Jayhawks closed the frame on a 13-4 run.

Frankamp came off the bench and sparked the Kansas offense by knocking down the first Jayhawk three-pointer of the 2014 NCAA Tournament with 3:34 left in the first half to cut Stanford’s lead to 21-19 and ignite the dormant, pro-Jayhawk crowd. Frankamp’s pull-up three-pointer with one second left — after an Anthony Brown turnover — gave Kansas a 24-22 halftime lead.

But Stanford rallied in the second half as the Cardinal went on a 25-14 run to open the second half as Stanford led Kansas, 47-40, with 6:54 remaining. Using multiple zone looks — including an occasional 1-3-1 zone, which Kansas saw against Eastern Kentucky on Friday — Stanford’s defense confused the Kansas offense as the Jayhawks struggled to consistently reverse the ball and attack the Cardinal defense. Kansas shot 32 percent from the field (19-for-58) and 31 percent from three-point range (5-for-16) on the afternoon.

Kansas rallied, however, using a full-court trap to speed up the game and force turnovers. The Jayhawks went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 49-all with 5:12 remaining, but Stanford responded with buckets from senior center Dwight Powell (15 points) and senior center Josh Huestis (six points) to take a 53-49 lead with 3:11 left.

After two free throws from Kansas sophomore forward Perry Ellis, the teams traded stops and Powell knocked down two free throws with 56 seconds remaining to give Stanford a 55-51 lead.

Junior guard Anthony Brown (10 points) also made 6-of-9 free throws down the stretch for Stanford, but Frankamp kept Kansas within striking distance as the freshman’s three-pointers on back-to-back possessions cut Stanford’s lead down to 59-57 with 14.9 seconds remaining. Brown split a pair of free throws that would have iced the game with 12 seconds left and Frankamp’s ensuing tying three-point attempt wasn’t very close as Stanford recovered the ball and ran out the clock.

Junior guard Chasson Randle also chipped in 13 points for Stanford.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.