KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He’s been doing it all year and he does it again on a big stage.
Kansas forward Jalen Wilson had a superb night in the Big 12 Tournament semifinal against Iowa State.
Wilson opened the game by scoring 10 of the Jayhawks’ first 19 points while hitting the boards with 10 rebounds and impacting almost every facet of the game.
“I felt really good just to see how competitive it was,” Wilson said after the game. “It was good to compete against that type of team and I always have fun out there. It’s fun making plays and hearing the crowd.
“That’s the type of games I live for.”
Living for 25 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 57% from the field and 3 for 7 from three is a nice life to live.
Wilson had some scoring lulls after racing to 13 points in the first half. His first second-half points didn’t come until the 14:03 mark.
But those free throws negated a small 39-38 Iowa State lead that helped Kansas took the lead back with a 13-4 run of their own.
That was ignited by young forwards KJ Adams and Ernest Udeh on the court at the same time. The real fire came from an Udeh alley-oop to increase KU’s lead and an Udeh steal that came on the next possession.
“We kind of needed his spark,” Adams said. Adams expressed that veteran guard Dajuan Harris is always pushing the freshmen to be aggressive, especially Udeh, telling him to dunk the ball at any given moment.
“Not a little scared but he’s a little antsy when he gets in there. So just when he gets in there, he gets his first dunk, I think he’s impossible to stop when he’s in there.”
With the absence of head coach Bill Self due to illness, assistant coach Norm Roberts has had to be the next man up even for coaching. With a team led by veterans and the unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year, it puts the team and its fans at ease.
“JWil has been great, Dajuan has been great, Kevin has been great. Coach talked to them about stepping IP and they have done that all year. They’re pretty comfortable in that role.”