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Kansas gives Big 12 a lift with rout of New Mexico State

Mar 20, 2015 - 10:40 PM Omaha, NE ( - It figured that the Big 12's first victory in the 2015 NCAA Tournament would come from its most storied program.

After an 0-3 showing by the conference on Thursday, Kansas provided a lift with a 75-56 win Friday over New Mexico State.

Frank Mason III scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Jayhawks (27-8), who were coming off a loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 championship game last Saturday.

Five other players scored at least eight points in the balanced attack for Kansas, which shot 54.0 percent. Perry Ellis scored nine points for the Jayhawks, while Brannen Greene, Kelly Oubre Jr., Jamari Traylor and Devonte' Graham each chipped in eight.

"It was nice to see the ball go in the basket, gave us confidence as the game went on, and we were happy that we knocked down shots," said Mason.

Next up for Kansas, seeded second in the Midwest Region, is a third-round matchup Sunday with Wichita State. The Jayhawks and Shockers, despite their proximity, haven't played since Jan. 6, 1993.

DK Eldridge led New Mexico State with 11 points, while leading scorer Remi Barry added 10. Barry, who entered the contest making 46.3 percent of his shots and 44.6 percent from 3-point range, hit just 2-of-6 from beyond the arc and 4-of-13 overall on Friday.

The Aggies (23-11) had won 13 straight games, including the WAC championship for a fourth consecutive year, but have now lost nine straight NCAA Tournament games.

"We ran into the real Kansas Jayhawks tonight," said New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies.

Kansas never trailed and blew it open early on Thursday.

Landen Lucas snapped a 4-4 tie with a bucket, igniting a run of seven straight points. The lead reached double digits for the first time on Wayne Selden Jr.'s dunk for a 19-9 edge nine minutes into the contest.

The Jayhawks opened some breathing room with a 10-0 run. Graham buried threes on consecutive possessions during the burst and Traylor's basket made it 34-16 with just over three minutes left in the first half.

New Mexico State cut it 36-23 at the intermission and got as close as 11 early in the second half. The Aggies were still within 55-43 with just under 10 minutes remaining, but the Jayhawks followed with 13 of the next 15 points to put it away.

Greene drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to fuel the surge and Mason scored the other seven for Kansas. Mason's triple capped the run and gave the Jayhawks a comfortable 68-45 cushion with just under six minutes to play.

"We did a lot of good things today; we did some things not so well, but for the most part we were pretty consistent and never allowed a really good team to make a serious run there in the second half," said Kansas coach Bill Self.

Game Notes

Lucas finished with seven points and nine rebounds in the victory ... The Jayhawks made 9-of-13 from beyond the arc and 12-of-15 from the free throw line ... New Mexico State shot just 35.7 percent overall ... Kansas is making its 26th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the longest active streak in the nation ... New Mexico State hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since March 19, 1993, a 93-79 triumph over Nebraska ... Kansas has won all three meetings with New Mexico State.