KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Kansas men’s basketball team defeated Creighton University 79-72 Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, during the NCAA Tournament round of 32.
Saturday’s win sends the Jayhawks to the Sweet 16.
Although KU started the game off trailing, the team found its rhythm halfway through the first half.
Bringing in Remy Martin and Mitch Lightfoot off the bench was the adjustment KU was looking for.
Quickly the team capitalized off of a quick game pace, forcing the Blue Jays to call a timeout after a 14-3 run.
But Creighton kept putting pressure on the Jayhawks, shooting 53.3% behind the arc with 16 rebounds while KU was shooting 33.3% with 25 rebounds.
KU went into halftime ahead 39-38.
Despite initial hesitation, Martin had a healthy first half putting up 16 points while Ochai Agbaji struggled to find his stride, going 0-4 from the field in the first half.
#kubball at the half:— Dan Cohen (@DanCohenTV) March 19, 2022
Remy Martin: 16 points
Jalen Wilson: 8 points
Christian Braun: 6 points
Ochai Agbaji: 2 points
David McCormack: 2 points
The second half carried on with a pace as quick as the first, and KU and Creighton continued to go back and forth.
KU gained a 9-point lead, the largest of the game, with around 8 minutes remaining, but Creighton swiftly narrowed the lead back down to four.
And with less than 2 minutes to go, it was a one-point game.
Martin, who contributed season-high 20 points, and Jalen Wilson cushioned KU's lead from the free-throw line with 7 seconds on the clock, cementing a 79-72 Jayhawk win.
As time expired, KU head coach Bill Self celebrated his 10th 30-win season with the team and first Sweet 16 appearance since 2018. The victory also marked the program's 24th Sweet 16 appearance since March Madness expanded in 1975.
Acknowledging the game wasn't perfect, Self said postgame while he wasn't sure the team would have won this game two months ago, it's necessary to "when games when it's kind of ugly."
Looking forward, Self believes his team has "yet to be our best," noting he's confident they still "have another gear."
The Jayhawks face No. 4 Providence at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, March 25 in Chicago.