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DES MOINES, Iowa – All five Jayhawks scored in double-figures, led by 20 points from redshirt junior Jalen Wilson, as No. 1 seed Kansas defeated No. 16 seed Howard, 96-68, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday.
Kansas improved to 28-7 on the season, winning their 16th-straight first round game. The defending National Champions improved to 46-13 all-time as the No. 1 seed and 17-0 against the No. 16 seed.
Freshman Gradey Dick scored 19 points on 7-of-13 from the field, paired with 11 rebounds. Dick’s double-double marked the first of his career, while he is the first KU freshman to record a double-double in a tournament game since March 25, 2017, when Josh Jackson scored 10 points and 12 rebounds against Oregon.
Paired with Wilson and Dick, all five Jayhawks scored in double-figures for the seventh time this season, including Wilson’s 20 points, Dick’s 19 points, K.J. Adams’ 13 points, Dajuan Harris’ 11 points and Kevin McCullar’s 10 points.
For Howard, Shy Odom led the Bison with 15 points and eight rebounds. The Bison ended their season at 22-13, in the program’s first tournament appearance since 1992.
Howard took the lead five times in the first half, but the Jayhawks always had an answer. Kansas went on a 13-3 run over the final five minutes of the first half to take a 50-37 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Kansas extended its lead by outscoring the Bison 46-31 over the final 20 minutes of play, to finish off Howard, 96-68. Kansas’ 96 points scored were the most in a NCAA Tournament game since 2017, when Kansas scored 98 points in a 98-66 win over Purdue.
Kansas will now set its sights to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will play the winner of No. 8 seed Arkansas (20-13) and No. 9 seed Illinois (20-12).