College Sports

Devonte' Graham helps Kansas hold off Clemson in the second half

KU's Devonte' Graham battles his way by Seton Hall's Desi Rodriquez on his way to the bucket.
KU's Devonte' Graham battles his way by Seton Hall's Desi Rodriquez on his way to the bucket. rsugg@kcstar.com

Kansas senior guard Devonte' Graham, a former standout at Broughton High School, got off to a slow start but finished strong during the Jayhawks' 80-76 round of 16 win vs. Clemson on Friday night in Omaha, Neb.

He warmed up in the second half and wound up scoring 16 points despite spending most of the second half in foul trouble. He made some big plays toward the end of the game, garnering an offensive rebound with 1:50 left to keep Clemson at bay. He also hit two free throws with 12.6 seconds left to give the Jayhawks an 80-74 lead, icing the game.

Graham, the Big 12 player of the year, scored only two points in the first half, hitting only 1 of 7 shots from the field. However, he led Kansas with four assists and four rebounds to help the top-seeded Jayhawks to a 40-27 lead at the break.

He quickly heated up in the second half, hitting a 3-point shot less than two minutes into the half to give KU a 49-29 lead.

Graham sat out more than four minutes in the second half after picking up his third foul. The Jayhawks maintained their double-digit lead during his absence.

Graham picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench with 8:10 left in the game. At that point he had 10 points, including a 3-pointer that gave KU a 65-47 lead.

Graham has been the Jayhawks' iron man this season, averaging 37.6 minutes per game.

He returned with 5:28 left and KU holding a 70-57 lead.

The Tigers (25-10) made a late run, but couldn't get closer than four points.

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