The WKU Hilltoppers gave the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks all they could handle Friday night, leading at the half and remaining within four points with 25 seconds left in the game.
But WKU went ice cold offensively in the second half, and Kansas held on to win 64-57.
WKU shot only 31% from the field for the game, and the Hilltoppers went 3-20 from three-point range.
Senior point guard Jamal Crook ended his WKU career with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and four assists.
WKU fans now have the 2013-14 season to think about, with forward George Fant and guard T.J. Price returning to form a nice nucleus for the two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champions.
The WKU Lady Hilltoppers are also in action this weekend, taking on Auburn Sunday at 2 p.m. in the second round of the women's NIT. WKU advanced to the next round after beating East Carolina Thursday night in overtime.
Update at 11:11 p.m.:
Kansas is leading WKU 52-42 late in the second half, the largest lead of the night for either team. WKU forward George Fant has fouled out of the game, and WKU has gone ice cold from the field.
Update at 10:57 p.m.:
WKU is struggling offensively in the second half against Kansas, and the Jayhawks lead 47-41. The Hilltoppers also have some major foul trouble, with both George Fant and Alexsejc Rostov with four fouls.
Still, Kansas was a 20 point favorite heading into the game, and the Hilltoppers are still very much alive as they try to become the first #16 seed to ever beat a #1 seed.
A #16 seed has never beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Yet we keep hearing from college basketball analysts that it's just a matter of time before it happens.
Is tonight the night?
The WKU Hilltoppers lead the heavily-favored Kansas Jayhawks 31-30 at the half in Hilltoppers' first game in the 2013 NCAA tournament. Latvian native Aleksejc Rostov has 9 points for WKU, George Fant has 6, and Jamal Crook has 6 for the Hilltoppers.
Kansas 7'0" center Jeff Withey had his way early in the first half against the Tops, using his size to dominate inside, scoring some easy buckets and grabbing rebounds. But the Hilltoppers have answered every KU counterpunch, and have led throughout the first half.