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Kansas basketball vs. Howard recap: Jayhawks win NCAA ...

Kansas was without Bill Self on Thursday against Howard. But were the Jayhawks still able to win? Here's what ended up happening.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas men’s basketball’s NCAA tournament stay started Thursday with a matchup against Howard.

The 1-seed Jayhawks came in after a loss in the Big 12 Conference tournament championship game against Texas. The 16-seed Bison came in after a win in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship game against Norfolk State. The last time these two sides faced each other Kansas won in Lawrence against Howard during the regular season.

Were the Jayhawks able to advance as they worked to defend their national championship from last year? Were the Bison able to pull off the upset? Norm Roberts was Kansas’ acting head coach again with Bill Self unavailable due to health reasons.

RELATED:Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self will miss NCAA tournament game against Howard

RELATED:Here’s why Kevin McCullar Jr. isn’t considering resting when KU basketball plays Howard

Here's what happened inside Wells Fargo Arena:

FINAL: Kansas 96, Howard 68 Kansas leads 84-63 against Howard with 4:00 left in 2nd half

The Jayhawks can get Dajuan Harris Jr., Kevin McCullar Jr. and more starters some well deserved rest here down the stretch. Kansas is up 21 points. There's only four minutes left in regulation.

One thing that's certainly helped the Jayhawks today has been their ability to go 11-for-13 from the free-throw line. That's helped keep ensure the Bison are held at arm's length to this point. Howard is just 6-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Kansas leads 75-54 against Howard with 8:25 left in 2nd half

Gradey Dick has reached a double-double for the first time in his young college career. He's at 19 points and 10 rebounds with plenty of time to add to that stat line. After starting off sort of slow, he's been impressive for a long stretch of play.

All five Kansas starters are in double figures scoring now. They all have at least 10 points. And they've done the majority of the scoring, with the Jayhawks only having 11 bench points so far.

Kansas leads 69-52 against Howard with 11:43 left in 2nd half

The Jayhawks are starting to really pull away now. It's a 17-point lead with less than 12 minutes left in regulation. Kansas is shooting just as well as it did in the first half, while Howard can't say anywhere near the same.

The Bison are 1-for-6 on 3s in the second half. Hitting 3s was a huge part of why they were able to keep pace with the Jayhawks through parts of the first half. Without them, Howard doesn't really have a chance.

Kansas leads 60-46 against Howard with 15:35 left in 2nd half

The Jayhawks have three starters in double figures scoring, and could very well have all five in that range soon. Gradey Dick leads them all with 14 points. Jalen Wilson has 11, and KJ Adams Jr. 11 as well.

The second half has been pretty even to start, with the Jayhawks only extending their lead by a point in the about four and a half minutes that have been played. Howard is continuing to play like a team that believes it has a shot to beat Kansas. Don't count out the Bison just yet.

HALFTIME: Kansas 50, Howard 37 Kansas leads 42-34 against Howard with 2:42 left in 1st half

Howard hasn't hit a shot from the field in almost three and a half minutes. The Bison are 0-for-5 in that stretch. And that's been a key reason why Kansas is up 42-34 with a little less than three minutes left in the first half.

Howard is shooting 48% from the field and 45.5% from behind the arc still, though. Kansas is shooting 50% from the field and 57.1% from behind the arc. It'll be interesting to see if those tallies carry over into the second half, or if they'll fall down toward their usual averages.

Kansas leads 29-27 against Howard with 7:25 left in 1st half

Howard isn't going anywhere, at least not yet. At one point, the Bison went on a 7-0 run to take a sim lead. And while Kansas is back on top at this break, the Jayhawks are by no means on a run themselves as they're really just trying to string some positive possessions together on each end.

Gradey Dick has really struggled defensively today, but he did just hit his first 3-pointer of the game. Maybe that can help get him going defensively as well. He's seemed to be a step behind for the most part.

Kansas leads 19-13 against Howard with 11:28 left in 1st half

Joseph Yesufu for Gradey Dick was Kansas' first substitution of the day. Yesufu entered with 14:05 left in the first half, and the Jayhawks leading 11-10. Not just because of Yesufu, but the team as a whole that's been in, Kansas is now up 19-13 with 11:28 left in the first half.

Something to watch, is how many fouls Howard has already been called for. The Bison are at five, while the Jayhawks are at three. It hasn't translated to many free throws yet, but in time it could.

Kansas leads 9-8 against Howard with 15:51 left in 1st half

Kansas has had some issues early, especially defensively. Howard's been able to get some quality looks the Jayhawks should be denying. But it seems like Kansas is starting to work its way toward being comfortable on both ends, with Gradey Dick making some hustle plays recently to push the Jayhawks to a one-point lead with a little less than 16 minutes left in the first half.

Something to watch, is how Kansas handles Howard's pressure. The Bison aren't letting the Jayhawks' guards just calmly bring the ball up the court. Howard is looking to force turnovers.

The game is underway

Howard won the opening tip-off and starts with possession.

Here's who's officiating the game The Big 12's commissioner, and Kansas' athletic director, are in town for the game Here's an update from Bill Self Here's who's starting Check out Howard going through warmups No surprises so far in which players are available for Kansas Here's why Bill Self isn't at the game

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. He is the National Sports Media Association’s sportswriter of the year for the state of Kansas for 2022. Contact him at or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

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