Michigan State’ Kenny Goins (25) jogs to the bench as Kansas’ Dwight Coleby (22) celebrates late in the second half of a second-round game in the men’s NCAA college basketball tournament.
By RENALDO DORSETT
ATLEAST one Bahamian player will move on to the Sweet 16 of the Men’s Division I NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Dwight Coleby and the Kansas Jayhawks pulled away late to advance with a 90-70 win over Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn and the Michigan State Spartans at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Coleby was a key contributor in the second half and finished with three points, four rebounds and one steal. Nairn finished with two rebounds and one assist.
Kansas will now face the Purdue Boilermakers on Thursday (March 23) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Jayhawks - the No.1 overall seed in the Midwest Region - moved to 30-4 on the season, which marked the 14th 30-win season for the Jayhawks under head coach Bill Self.
The Jayhawks clung to a slim 54-53 lead with just over 12 minutes left to play, but Jayhawks’ freshman Josh Jackson sparked a 13-4 second half run and went ahead by 10 with just over 8:06 minutes left.
Jayhawks starting forward Landen Lucas finished with a double double, 10 points and 11 rebounds but was in foul trouble down the stretch, prompting the contribution from Coleby.
The junior forward, in his first year on the floor with the Jayhawks programme, logged some important minutes and scored off a putback and added a free throw during the run.
The Jayhawks ended the game on an amazing 36-17 run to win going way.
The Jayhawks finished the season at 28-4, won their 13th straight Big 12 regular season title but were upset by the TCU Horned Frogs in the conference tournament quarter-finals.
Coleby averaged 1.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in his first season in a Jayhawks uniform after transferring from Ole Miss and sitting out last season due to transfer rules and a knee injury.
It was third trip to the postseason for Nairn. As a freshman, he was a member of the Spartans team that advanced to the Final Four. As a sophomore, the Spartans were upset in the opening round as a No.2 seed against fellow Bahamian Stephen Strachan and his No.15 ranked Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.
The Spartans played this NCAA Tournament with only three players who saw action in last year’s loss to the Blue Raiders.
Nairn averaged 3.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior this season.
Strachan and the Blue Raiders lost in the round of 32 with a 74-65 loss to the Butler Bulldogs.
The loss moved the Blue Raiders to 31-5 to 0-4 all-time in the Round of 32, while Butler advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time since advancing all the way to the title game in 2011.