Apparently, it takes Kansas a while to get going in the NCAA tournament.
One year after surviving a scare against 16th-seeded Holy Cross, Kansas held on to beat 15th-seeded Utah State, 64-61, Thursday night in the West Regional at Oklahoma City.
The second-seeded Jayhawks (26-7) withstood two three-point tries by Utah State in the final 10 seconds and moved on to the second round to play 10th-seeded Arizona State.
"In the back of everybody's mind, you realize if you lose, you're done," Kansas forward Nick Collison said. "But we weren't really scared, we didn't really panic.
"We felt Utah State was a good team. We're not really ashamed of the game."
The Jayhawks questioned their seeding after winning the Big 12 regular-season title, but got more than just a tuneup from Utah State (24-9).
They found a way to win, though -- a late 7-0 run finally provided enough breathing room, but just barely. Keith Langford scored 22 points and Collison had 18 for the Jayhawks, who reached the Final Four last season after rallying to beat Holy Cross in the first round.
They never trailed in this one and even led by 13 in the first half, but weren't able to shake Utah State.
Utah State's Mark Brown made a three-point basket to make it 62-58, then Desmond Penigar, who had 25 points, made another one with 47.2 seconds left to make it 64-61.
After a Kansas turnover, Utah State called time out with 10.3 seconds remaining. Penigar missed from the top of the key and, after a scramble, Cardell Butler missed another three-point attempt as the buzzer sounded.
Arizona State 84, Memphis 71 -- Ike Diogu, the Pacific 10 freshman of the year, scored 22 points, 10 in a key second-half run, to help the Sun Devils (20-11) win at Oklahoma City. Diogu made two three-point baskets in a 13-0 second-half run that opened a 10-point lead for the Sun Devils (20-11).
Shawn Redhage had 18 points and Curtis Millage scored 17 for Arizona State, which shot 52% from the field.
Chris Massie scored 20 points and had 13 rebounds for No. 7 Memphis (23-7).
From Associated Press
Central Michigan 79, Creighton 73 -- They almost blew the whole thing, a 26-point second-half lead, which might have inspired a nickname change from Chippawas to Chippawasn'ts.
Instead, No. 11 Central Michigan survived a little-too-late rally to win at Salt Lake City.
The game went from all-out snoozer -- the lead was 50-24 at one point -- to hair-raising in a matter of minutes, Creighton going on a 46-22 second-half run to cut the Central Michigan lead to 72-70 with 1:38 left on Larry House's baseline jumper.
Central Michigan had lost its grip.
"It looked like the rope was kind of running out with three or four minutes left to go," Central Michigan Coach Jay Smith said.
Then, almost as fast as Creighton rallied, its engine quit, the energy expended to complete the comeback too much to overcome.
Mike Manciel, capping a brilliant 29-point night, scored a basket to push the Central Michigan lead back to 74-70 with 1:07 left.
Creighton (29-5), on its next three possessions, dropped a pass out of bounds underneath its basket, committed a foul after a bad pass and threw the ball and the game away for good with another turnover with 21 seconds left.
After a serious scare, Central Michigan (25-6) cinched the game with free throws and advanced to Saturday's second round against Duke,
-- Chris Dufresne
Illinois 65, Western Kentucky 60 -- The Illini's three freshman starters -- James Augustine, Deron Williams and Dee Brown -- combined for 37 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists, and Brown made two free throws with 22.8 seconds left to seal the victory at Indianapolis. Illinois (25-6) advanced to play Notre Dame. Nate Williams led the Hilltoppers (24-9) with 17 points.
Notre Dame 70, Wisconsin Milwaukee 69 -- Chris Thomas scored 27 points to lead the fifth-seeded Irish (23-9) at Indianapolis. No. 12 Wisconsin Milwaukee (24-8) had a chance to pull off the upset, but Dylan Page missed a layup just before the buzzer. The Panthers were making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
From Associated Press