Kansas survives scare from Samford

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The Kansas Jayhawks narrowly avoided becoming the next great upset in NCAA Tournament history on Thursday night, defeating the upstart Samford Bulldogs 93-89 in the opening round.

The number four seed in the Midwest Region, Kansas, controlled the game for its majority, never trailing in the game, but a once 22-point lead dwindled all the way down to one in the final moments. Then, Kansas broke through Samford full-court pressure, finding an open Nick Timberlake and a path to the basket. Timberlake opted to attempt a dunk, which was blocked by Samford’s AJ Stanton-McCray, where a foul was called.

In review, the foul call was questionable, and the root of much controversy, as Timberlake made the ensuing free throws and Kansas would go on to survive, but all told, the Jayhawks led the game from tip to end, and shot over 60% from the floor in the contest (35-58).

The Jayhawks are now 26-0 all-time in the NCAA Tournament when scoring 90-points or more, and saw all five scorers reach double-figures. KJ Adams Jr. scored a team-high 20 points for Kansas, followed by 19 from both Timberlake and Hunter Dickson, who also reeled in an impressive 20 rebounds. Johnny Furphy scored 16 points on eight rebounds, and Dajuan Harris Jr. scored 13 points while dishing out a team-high seven assists.

Samford’s come back attempt was led by Achor Achor’s game-high 23 points, while Jaden Campbell scored 18. Samford as a team shot 41% from the field (30-73) and 43% from three-point range (16-37). Kansas out-rebounded the Bulldogs 44-35.

Kansas now improves to 23-10 on the season, and will face the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at 2:15 PM. Pregame radio coverage will begin on Y 93.7 in Salina at 12:45 PM.

Gonzaga is the five seed in the Midwest Region, and blasted 12th-seeded McNeese State Thursday night, winning 86-65.