KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas coach Bill Self watched West Virginia counterpart Bob Huggins pick up two technical fouls in quick succession, then stalk off to the locker room to watch the final 30 minutes of their Big 12 quarterfinal matchup.
Nobody was more upset about the situation than Huggins.
Self might have come close.
“Nobody wants that. We caught a big break there but it’s not a break we wanted,” Self said after the sixth-ranked Jayhawks cruised to an 87-63 victory Thursday. “I don’t and I didn’t like it.”
There was plenty to like about everything else.
Ochai Agabji scored 18 points for the top-seeded Jayhawks (26-6), who built a 41-19 halftime lead and never let up. Christian Braun had 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and Jalen Wilson finished with 15 points .
Next up is fifth-seeded TCU, which rallied from 20 down to beat no. 22 Texas, in the semifinals Friday night.
Malik Curry led West Virginia ( 16-17) with 19 points. Taz Sherman had 10 points but was just 3 of 14 from the field.
Most of the excitement in the Big 12 Tournament’s second quarterfinal came in the first 10 minutes, when Jayhawks roared to a 19-4 lead and had a T-Mobile Center full of red- and blue-clad fans whipped into a frenzy.
That’s when Sherman missed a bucket – the 16th miss in the Mountaineers’ first 17 shots – and complained to referee Doug Sirmons about a no-call. Sirmons immediately gave him a technical foul, and when Huggins roared off the bench in defense of his player, the Mountaineers’ Hall of Fame finalist got two technicals of his own.
“He was definitely trying to defend us. It’s what he’s done all year,” Mountaineers guard Sean McNeil said. “It’s not my place to say whether the calls were right or wrong. My job is to play.”
Huggins’ longtime associate head coach, Larry Harrison, took over when he headed to the locker room.
“They need to put bigger TVs in there,” Huggins said in a moment of levity. “The TVs are awfully small. We had a hard time getting a true picture of what was going on with those dinky TVs in there. They really need to upgrade that system.”
Duke 88, Syracuse 79: No. 7 Duke began coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament with a tougher-than-expected 88-79 victory over ninth-seeded Syracuse, which was playing without suspended star Buddy Boeheim.
Wendell Moore Jr. scored 26 points and Jeremy Roach had 17 in the second half as top-seeded Duke (27-5) hung on to advance to Friday’s semifinals at Barclays Center against the winner of Miami-Boston College.
Arizona 84, Stanford 80: Christian Koloko scored 24 points, Bennedict Mathurin added 20 and No. 2 Arizona held off Stanford 84-80 in the Pac-12 quarterfinals.
The top-seeded Wildcats (29-3) had a hard time shaking the Cardinal in a win late in the regular season and faced a similar issue to open the tournament.
Colorado 80, Oregon 69: Evan Battey had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jabari Walker added 18 points and 16 rebounds for his 17th double-double this season and fourth-seeded Colorado beat No. 5 seed Oregon 80-69 in the quarterfinals.
Iowa 112, Northwestern 76: Keegan Murray scored 26 points, Jordan Bohannon had 17 and No. 24 Iowa beat Northwestern 112-76 in the quarterfinals.
Murray was 11 of 16 from the field and also had eight rebounds as the Hawkeyes (23-9) delivered a historic performance in coach Fran McCaffery’s 400th game. They broke single-game tourney records for points, field goals (43) and 3-point baskets (19).
Indiana 74, Michigan 69: Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half, Xavier Johnson had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and no. 9 seed Indiana closed on a 31-9 run to rally past eighth-seeded Michigan 74-69.
Al Durham drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 41 seconds left for his first basket of the game, and No. 11 Providence barely got past pesky Butler 65-61 in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.
Georgia fires Crean: Georgia coach Tom Crean has been fired in a much-anticipated announcement a day after the end of a 26-loss season.
Georgia announced Crean will not return for his fifth season. The quick decision comes less than 24 hours after the Bulldogs’ 86-51 to Vanderbilt in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Mississippi State 73, South Carolina 51: Tolu Smith scored 20 points with 12 rebounds and 10th-seeded Mississippi State dominated the second half in beating seventh-seeded South Carolina 73-51 in a second-round game.