Ellis, Alexander lift Kansas over Tennessee 82-67
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Perry Ellis and Cliff Alexander helped Kansas pull away late in a victory over Tennessee.
Ellis scored 24 points, Cliff Alexander added 16 and No. 11 Kansas beat Tennessee 82-67 Friday in an Orlando Classic semifinal.
“The big thing is we got stops,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Frank Mason III had 11 points and seven assists for Kansas (4-1).
Tennessee (2-2) got 16 points from Josh Richardson, while Kevin Punter finished with 14.
After Tennessee’s Armani Moore tied it with two free throws, Alexander’s 3-point play keyed a 7-0 stretch as Kansas went ahead 69-62 with five minutes left.
“He’s starting to get it,” Self said of Alexander.
Ellis’ 3-point play made it 74-64 with two minutes to go.
“They’re tough,” Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall said of Kansas. “They’re talented. They’re well coached. They have great depth.”
Alexander had consecutive dunks to give Kansas a 53-40 lead 4 minutes into the second half. Mason set up both with nifty passes.
The Volunteers, as they had throughout the game, battled back to 54-53 with 12 minutes to play as Detrick Mostella made a pair of 3s and Richardson had a layup following a Kansas turnover.
“We took some positives out of the game, but we’re disappointed we didn’t win the game,” Tyndall said.
Mostella had 13 points.
Dominic Woodson had two in-close baskets for Tennessee, while Kansas’ Brannen Greene connected on a long-range jumper just before the shot clock expired as the Jayhawks kept a narrow lead through the midpoint of the second half.
Perry had 11 points to help Kansas grab a 40-33 halftime lead.
A wild final few minutes saw Tennessee pull to 35-31 after Punter made a layup and two free throws after a flagrant foul call. Richardson had a basket on the ensuing possession.
“They got out to some runs, but I’m happy that we stayed composed,” Ellis said. “We fought back after those runs and I felt like that’s what we needed.”
Kansas responded by getting a 3 by Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte Graham’s slam.
Graham, coming back from a shoulder injury, had two points and one rebound in seven minutes.
Kansas: The Jayhawks reached the semifinals by beating Rhode Island 76-60 Thursday. ... Kansas is 34-6 in in-season tournament games under Self. ... The Jayhawks are 4-1 or better for the 10th time in Self’s 12 years at the school.
Tennessee: The Volunteers topped Santa Clara 64-57 in their tourney opener Thursday. ... Tennessee was called for 28 fouls. The Volunteers entered averaging 26.3, second-most in the country.
CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARDS
Kansas outrebounded Tennessee 44-22 and had 18 on the offensive end. ... Ellis had 13 of the Jayhawks’ rebounds.
The Jayhawks won the assist battle 17-8 but turned the ball over 16 times. Tennessee had 10 turnovers.
Kansas will face No. 20 Michigan State in Sunday’s championship game.
Tennessee will play Marquette in Sunday’s third-place game.