Cats Come Up Short in Big 12 Semifinals

OKLAHOMA CITY Cartier Martin scored a game-high 17 points, but No. 2 Kansas was able to held off a second-half charge from the Wildcats as Kansas State fell in the semifinals of  2007 Phillips Big 12 Men’s basketball Championship, 67-61, Saturday afternoon at the Ford Center.

Lance Harris chipped in with 16 and Akeem Wright collected a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas State (22-11), which trailed by just four points heading into the final media timeout thanks to a 3-pointer by Martin.

But Kansas responded with four straight points and the Wildcats never got closer than six the rest of the way.

Mario Chalmers led Kansas (29-4) with 16 points, including back-to-back treys that game Kansas its first double-digit lead of the game at 43-31 in the opening minutes of the second half.

Julian Wright added 12 and Sherron Collins added 10 for the Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks eventually pushed ahead by 14 on a 3-pointer by Brandon Rush, who was held to just 3-of-10 from the field.

The Wildcats stayed in it, though, by preventing Kansas from extending its dominance on the glass. K-State had a 23-13 rebounding edge in the second half, after being outboarded 21-8 over the first 20 minutes.

Martin’s triple with 4:11 remaining capped an 8-0 run that made it 56-52. The Wildcats had a chance to bring it closer in the final 2 minutes, but Rush dove to create a jumpball to regain possession for the Jayhawks. Wright responded with a spinning jumper in the lane that extended Kansas' lead to 62-54 with 1:05 to play.

Kansas State couldn't get closer than six after that.

Thanks to some hot 3-point shooting in the early going, Kansas State raced out to a 16-9 lead during the first six minutes. Harris and Martin each drilled a pair of trays during that span, which saw the Wildcats outscore the Jayhawks 10-2 during one three minute stretch.

Kansas responded with a huge run of its own to retake the lead and scored 15 of the game’s next 18 points, with only a triple by Harris stemming the tide.

The Jayhawks lead would as many as nine with just under a minute to go after a 7-2 min-run put KU up 35-26. A steal and a dunk by Akeem Wright just before the halftime buzzer pulled the Wildcats back within seven at the break at 35-28.