KU beats Nova; moves on to the Elite Eight

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DETROIT (AP) -- Russell Robinson drove down the left side of the court and tossed the ball off the glass to Brandon Rush, who slammed home the carom.

And to think Rush said it was a bad pass.

"I wasn't expecting that at all," he said.

But even when Kansas is off, its jaw-dropping talent is too much.

Rush scored 16 points and Robinson had 15 as the top-seeded Jayhawks toyed with Villanova 72-57 Friday night to earn a spot in the Midwest Regional final.

The Jayhawks (34-3) will be a huge favorite to end 10th-seeded Davidson's stay in the NCAA tournament and advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2003.

Davidson star Stephen Curry, though, already has Kansas' attention.

"Curry is unbelievable and he's on a run," Jayhawks center Sasha Kaun said.

Kansas coach Bill Self is in the regional finals for the fifth time -- at three schools -- since 2000 and is a win away from no longer being regarded as the best coach without a Final Four on his resume.

"We've knocked on the door a few times," Self said.

Villanova (22-13) had to know the night was doomed when star guard Scottie Reynolds shot an airball and missed another try on the opening possession of the game.

The Wildcats simply could not keep up with Kansas' speed, size and athletic ability at the other end of the court.

Kansas slammed four alley-oop passes in the opening 9 minutes and made seven 3-pointers to take a 41-22 lead at halftime.

"The 3s hurt us early," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "When a team that good is making those kind of shots, it is going to be tough. I didn't think we were that bad defensively in the first half, they are just a very good team that is playing very well right now."

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, indeed.

Mario Chalmers added to Kansas' balanced attack with 14 points.

Unlike some NCAA tournament games that are decided in the final moments, this one seemed over soon after it started.

Kansas took control early with a 14-2 run and didn't need to break a sweat to keep its cushion.

Reynolds was scoreless until making a 3-pointer midway through the first half, a shot that started an 11-2 burst that pulled Villanova within seven points with just under 7 minutes left.

Then, Kansas held the Wildcats to only a point and no field goals the rest of the half and opened up a 19-point lead at the break.

Villanova needed Reynolds to score at least 20 points as he had in each of his previous three NCAA tournament games, but he didn't come close against swarming guards and helping big men.

"They were trying to get the ball out of my hands," Reynolds said. "And if I drove it, they would bring over a big."

Reynolds was just 2-of-9 in the first half and finished 4-of-13 for 11 points, leading his offensively challenged team in scoring on a night when none of its starters had an assist. Dante Cunningham and Shane Clark each scored 10 for the Wildcats.

Villanova's task on defense grew when center Casiem Drummond -- its only player taller than 6-foot-8 -- broke his right ankle in the second-round win over Siena.

The Wildcats were one of the last teams to slip into the NCAA tournament and looked out of place against the high-powered Jayhawks, who lead the nation with an average scoring margin of 20.

"I just told Bill he's got a lot of big-time players that play the right way," Wright said. "What we feared was not being able to score. We needed to be able to make 3s and Scottie and Dante to score and they just did a great job defensively."

Villanova rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat fifth-seeded Clemson in the first round.

That wasn't happening against the Jayhawks, who coasted to the easy victory in the second half without needing to hold off any sort of rally against a team that fell behind one too many times.

"That's been our way of starting games this season," Villanova's Dwayne Anderson said. "We knew it would catch up to us and tonight it did."


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