FORT WORTH, Texas — Remy Martin scored 20 points, Ochai Agbaji put Kansas ahead for good with his first basket early in the second half, and the Jayhawks held off Creighton 79-72 on Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16.
Martin hadn’t led top-seeded Kansas (30-6) in scoring all season as the fifth-year senior transfer from Arizona State battled a sore knee, but he’s done it in both NCAA Tournament games.
The shorthanded Bluejays (23-12) stayed close with an uncharacteristically hot showing from 3-point range. One of the worst teams in the country from beyond the arc, ninth-seeded Creighton went 12 of 28.
The biggest came from freshman Trey Alexander, who swished an off-balance heave from well behind the line as the shot clock was about to expire. Keyshawn Feazell’s bucket soon after got Creighton within one in the final two minutes.
The Bluejays had a chance to go ahead in the final minute, but Alexander’s errant pass went off Alex O’Connell’s hands, leading to a breakaway dunk for Agbaji, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
Arthur Kaluma scored 24, going 4 of 10 from long range for the Bluejays.
Creighton, which reached the Sweet 16 last year, had just six players in its rotation after losing 7-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner to a knee injury late in overtime of a 72-69 win over San Diego State on Thursday.
Ryan Hawkins drained a 3-pointer from well behind the arc 13 seconds into the game and finished 3 of 6 from distance with 14 points. O’Connell was 3 of 8 and scored 16. Alexander finished with 14.
Martin, the plucky 6-foot guard who scored 15 in a blowout of Texas Southern in the opening around, had 16 in the first half off the bench, then helped the Jayhawks stay in front.
Christian Braun scored 13 for the Jayhawks, including a big 3 that was his only one of the game in the second half.
Creighton: The Bluejays wouldn’t go away in the second half despite having three players on the court the entire 40 minutes and another for 38. They couldn’t get the lead inside six points for a long stretch of the second half before the late surge that gave them a chance to pull the upset.
Kansas: Kansas tied Kentucky in all-time wins and 30-win seasons. Each storied program has 2,353 wins and 16 seasons with at 30 victories. The milestones came two days after Kentucky lost to Saint Peter’s 85-79 in overtime as the second seed in the East Region.
Kansas plays either Richmond or Providence in its 32nd Sweet 16.
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