Forward Dedric Lawson scored 24 points and guard Quentin Grimes added 18 before leaving with a second-half injury as No. 17 Kansas thumped West Virginia 88-74 Friday in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament at Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas (25-8), the No. 3 seed, will bid to repeat as tournament champion Saturday against Iowa State, the No. 5 seed. The Cyclones downed Kansas State, the Big 12 co-champion in the regular season, 63-59 in Friday’s other semifinal.
Iowa State and Kansas each captured three Big 12 tournament championships the past six years.
Grimes made his first five 3-point attempts in one of his best performances since netting a career-high 21 points in his Kansas debut, a season-opening victory against Michigan State in the Champions Classic. Grimes added eight rebounds before his left knee cramped with 6:04 remaining. He did not return.
Point guard Devon Dotson added 13 points and six assists as the Jayhawks reached their 14th Big 12 tournament final.
West Virginia (14-20) was the first No. 10 seed to reach the Big 12 tournament semifinals since the conference contracted to 10 members in 2012-13.
The Mountaineers, who beat Oklahoma and Texas Tech to advance to the semis, were bidding to become the first 10 seed to reach the final since Missouri in 1996-97, the Big 12’s inaugural season.
A freshman who emerged during the Mountaineers’ trying season, forward Derek Culver, posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Forward Lamont West added 16 points.
Kansas closed the first half with a 16-4 flurry, including 11 straight points, to overcome a seven-point deficit and claim a 48-40 lead at the break.
Grimes was scorching, going 5 of 5 from 3-point range, including a bomb from the top of the key to end the half. He scored 16 points and Dotson added 11 to counter a strong start by West Virginia.
The Mountaineers were in control as late as the 3-minute mark after Brandon Knapper scored on a drive. The Jayhawks then went on their closing surge, which included three treys from Grimes.
—Field Level Media