Things weren’t easy early on for Kansas, but the Jayhawks eventually pulled away from a pesky Penn squad ? to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Quakers jumped out to an early 14-7 lead, stretching it to 21-11 after an Antonio Woods layup with 8:01 to go until halftime. Penn was red-hot from deep, hitting their first 3 threes and opening the game 4-7 from behind the arc. But Kansas responded with a 19-2 run, capped by a Devonte Graham three with just 56 seconds left in the first half. KU took a 33-26 lead into the break.
Penn would close the gap to within four points three separate times in the second half: at the 18:24 mark, 17:25 mark, and 11:28 mark. But Kansas was just too much for the Ivy League champs. After a Caleb Wood 3-pointer with 11:28 to play made the score 52-48 Kansas, the Jayhawks would outscore the Quakers ? the rest of the way.
It was ugly at times, and I saw WAY too many fans freaking out on Twitter and in the game thread. That’s right, I’m calling you out, RCT. Penn is a decent club, but after their torrid shooting to begin the game, regression was inevitable. After that 4-7 (57.1%) start, the Quakers hit just 7-22 (31.8%) the rest of the way.
Likewise, after Kansas hit just 1 of its first 8 threes (12.5%), they nailed 6-9 to finish 7-17 (41.2%) from behind the arc.
Devonte Graham led all scorers with 29 points, but took 24 shots to get there. Graham was just 9-24 from the field, but added 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Udoka Azubuike played a few minutes in the first half, but was noticeably less... agile... than normal.
Up next, Kansas awaits the winner of Seton Hall-NC State on Saturday, tip time TBD.