Wearing special Black History Month jerseys with green trim and a red script “The Mecca” on the front — in reference to Howard’s nickname as the country’s most revered HBCU — Howard entered the tournament with swagger as confidence against No. 1 seed Kansas.
The Bison played a tough, physical first half, taking a brief 32-31 lead over the defending national champions before the Jayhawks pulled away in the second half for a tidy 96-68 win on Thursday in the West Regional first-round game.
Jalen Wilson had 20 points and seven rebounds for Kansas. Super freshman Gradey Dick chipped with 19 points and 11 rebounds and KJ Adams added 13 more in the program’s 16th consecutive first round win.
Shy Odom had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Bison (22-13), who were making the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1992, ironically against Kansas back then.
Howard took the lead five times in the first half, but Kansas, playing with head coach Bill Self, went on a surge and took a 50-37 lead into halftime. The Jayhawks extended the lead to as many as 28 points over the final 20 minutes to move on in the tournament.
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