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Kansas No. 3 beats NC State on return of coach Bill Self

PARADISE ISLAND – First-year guard Gradey Dick scored a season-high 25 points to help No. 3 Kansas beat North Carolina state 80-74 in the opener of Battle 4 Atlantis on Wednesday, beating coach Bill Self after a suspension made a successful return to the bench from four games .

Dick had 18 on six 3-pointers in the first half before going off the field 1 for 8 after the half. Jalen Wilson added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the reigning national champions Jayhawks (5-0), who annihilated an eight-point lead at halftime and a nine-point lead in the second half before ending in the final minutes .

Casey Morsell scored 21 points and led the Wolfpack (4-1) while Terquavion Smith added 19 points.

NC State played a fast pace, taking full court and staying within reach of Kansas all the way, but couldn’t take a lead even after five second-half ties, the last one coming at 63-all on Jack Clark’s jumper at 7: 14 left.

Kansas had imposed the suspension of Self and his assistant Kurtis Townsend as part of the fallout from a pending case of NCAA violations related to the federal investigation into corruption in sports.

Self was allowed to train, so stayed with the team until game day. The rest of the time, he said, he got a dose of a fan’s helpless perspective while assistant Norm Roberts managed the team. He said he couldn’t even take notes until he saw the game on a replay.

As he emerged from the tunnel on Wednesday, he was greeted with loud cheers from a boisterous Kansas fan squad. He had a slight smile as a fan dangled a Jayhawks championship banner in passing and gave a series of high-fives to several fans as he walked onto the court.

But Dick quickly grabbed the limelight with a barrage of outdoor shots. He went 6 for 9 behind the arc in the first 20 minutes, the last of which saw him knock down one through light contact from Morsell and fall to the ground just before the half-time horn.

Dick got up with an emphatic scream and clapping while Morsell could only respond with a frustrated shrug as Kansas went into the break with a 39-31 lead.


NC State: This was NC State’s first appearance at Atlantis since 2017, when Kevin Keatts began coaching. This wolfpack team opened this tournament with a stunning upset against No. 2 Arizona, and this year’s squad flirted with another while inflicting seizures on Kansas until the final minutes.

Kansas: The 6-foot-8 Dick has gotten off to a strong start. He averaged 16.8 points while shooting 10-of-20 from 3-point range, and then surpassed his (brief) season-high 23 points from the opener against Omaha.


NC State: The Wolfpack meets loser Wisconsin-Dayton in Thursday’s consolation round.

Kansas: The Jayhawks advanced to the semifinals on Thursday to take on the Wisconsin-Dayton winner.


Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap


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