Climbing a mountain: With Self in the hospital, No. 3 Kansas pushes past West Virginia and into Big 12 semis | News, Sports, Jobs

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) fires up the crowd during a Kansas run against West Virginia during the second half on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at T Mobile Center in Kansas City. Photo by Nick Krug

Kansas City, Mo. — Top-seeded Kansas’ maturity was on full display during a 78-61 win over No. 8 seed West Virginia at the Big 12 tournament on Thursday.

Playing without head coach Bill Self, who was hospitalized late Wednesday night and missed Thursday’s game, the Jayhawks took it upon themselves to handle their business and the Mountaineers.

While that certainly seemed to be easier said than done, given the serious nature of Self’s absence, KU junior Jalen Wilson said the Jayhawks took pride in making sure they delivered for Self, the roster and the program, with acting coach Norm Roberts leading the way.

“We’re so hard on our culture and how we talk to each other, it’s really no difference,” Wilson said after scoring a game-high 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds in the win. “Coach (Roberts) picks up right where coach Self was and we execute everything the same way. There’s no substitute teacher kind of vibe. We all have a job and that’s to win. And this is the best time of the year to do it.”

The Jayhawks found out about Self’s absence early Thursday morning. And most of them admitted that it affected them. But thanks to a message from Self, relayed to them by Roberts, the nation’s No. 3 team was able to lock in on the Mountaineers (19-14) when the game began.

Box score: Kansas 78, West Virginia 61

Photo Gallery: Kansas basketball vs. West Virginia

Wilson set the tone early, getting on the glass and leading the Jayhawks to a quick 5-0 lead and Kansas really turned it on late in the first half, turning a 14-11 deficit into a 29-18 lead with an 18-4 run.

Wilson and point guard Dajuan Harris Jr., were responsible for most of that,…


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