Third-seeded Kansas avoided an upset by taking control down the stretch in its 93-84 win over No. 14 seed Eastern Washington Saturday afternoon in Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Games have a tendency to get weird during March Madness, and Kansas fans were reminded of that for the first 30 minutes of the game. The Groves brothers — Tanner and Jacob — played a big part in Eastern Washington jumping out in front, as shots from long range were falling in bunches early on.
The Jayhawks, who were shorthanded with COVID-related issues, managed to stay within striking distance for much of the game. They then took the lead on a 3-pointer from Dajuan Harris with 9:48 left to play.
Kansas never trailed again, though EWU didn’t completely go away either.
Senior guard Marcus Garrett knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers that effectively put the game away down the stretch. Garrett finished with 20 points, but it was a balanced attack for the Jayhawks in their opening-round victory.
Box score: Kansas 93, EWU 84 ( .PDF )
Despite playing with some fatigue from being away in quarantine, Kansas big man David McCormack finished with a team-high 22 points. Ochai Agbaji recorded 21 points, while Harris (13 points) and Christian Braun (12 points) also ended up in double figures.
Tanner Groves, who was the Big Sky MVP, poured in a game-high 35 points in the loss. Jacob Groves finished with 23 points on the day.
• Look out for Lightfoot:
One notable play from the first half was when Mitch Lightfoot attempted to lunge for a loose ball. Lightfoot knocked over a table and a laptop in the process, though Eastern Washington’s Twitter account later revealed that the laptop still worked.