No. 5 Maryland outworked by top-seeded Kansas in Sweet 16
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Maryland seemed to be playing the style and pace it wanted against Kansas, a strategy that had the top-seeded Jayhawks playing catch-up for much of the first half.
The Terrapins just couldn't sustain that effort after halftime and were never a factor in a season-ending 79-63 loss in the NCAA Tournament South Region semifinal.
Trailing just 36-34 at halftime and looking more like the aggressors over the nation's top-ranked team, the Terps (27-9) just couldn't keep up with the Jayhawks in the second half. Maryland made just 8 of 23 from the field (35 percent) and was outrebounded 22-8.
''They really locked in,'' Terps guard Rasheed Sulaimon said of Kansas' defense, which held Maryland to 40 percent shooting overall.
''I still think the way we executed offensively, we still got a lot of the shots that we wanted to have. Down the stretch we couldn't make the shots, and they did.''
Sulaimon led Maryland with 18 points while Melo Trimble had 17.
Perry Ellis scored 27 points to match a season high and Wayne Selden Jr. added 19 for Kansas (33-4), which is back in the Elite 8 for the first time since 2012. Kansas will play Villanova on Saturday night.
It took time for the Jayhawks (33-4) to get going, but once they finally seized the lead late in the first half everything else fell into place for their 17th straight victory. They emerged from the break to make their first six shots and steadily take control behind senior forward Ellis, who made 10 of 17 from the field.
At times, Ellis seemed to do what he wanted against Maryland, making several moves to muscle his way through for one basket.
''We knew he was driving right, and we still couldn't guard it,'' Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.
The Terrapins (27-9) dictated the early tempo and briefly engaged in a back-and-forth game with the Jayhawks before eventually falling behind the tournament favorite.
Landen Lucas added 14 points and 11 rebounds while Frank Mason III had 11 points for Kansas, which outworked Maryland 43-28 on the glass and outscored the taller Terps 40-28 in the paint.
Better shooting also helped the Jayhawks, who made 14 of 25 in the second half and finished 29 of 62 from the field (47 percent).
''I thought we played just superb,'' Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Kansas just had to take its time to slow down Maryland and Trimble in particular. The strategy worked as the sophomore made just 5 of 16 from the field with just one 3-pointer.
The Jayhawks defense kept other Maryland players from becoming factors on both ends as well.
Maryland dictated the early tempo before Kansas regrouped late in the first half to eventually grab a 36-34 lead at the break.
Sulaimon got the Terps started with the first of two 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes to provide an 18-12 lead, significant considering they made just 1 of 18 from long range in their second-round win over Hawaii.
Kansas went 5 1/2 minutes without a field goal but didn't flinch and eventually fought back to take its first lead at 27-26 on two Devonte' Graham free throws with 5:33 remaining in the half. The teams then traded 6-2 runs with the Jayhawks making the last one for a slim edge, better than they could have expected after shooting 41 percent.
Kansas then made its first six shots of the second half en route to a 50-43 lead and momentum that Maryland couldn't stop.
Trimble tried to find solace in Maryland's first Sweet 16 berth since 2003, when it was defending NCAA champions. The Terps just couldn't go farther.
''This is about us getting better and learning,'' he said. ''It was a heck of a season.''
Maryland: The Terps made 5 of 25 3 pointers.
Kansas: Landen Lucas achieved a double-double for the third consecutive tournament game. ... Selden also had seven rebounds and six assists.
Maryland: Season over.
Kansas: Faces Villanova on Saturday.