PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Andrew Wiggins scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half and No. 2 Kansas moved into the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, downing previously unbeaten Wake Forest 87-78 on Thursday.
Frank Mason scored 13 points and Joel Embiid added 10 for the Jayhawks (5-0), who had a 14-point halftime lead trimmed to four before hanging on in the final minutes.
Kansas will play Villanova on Friday night for a spot in the title game.
Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half for Wake Forest (5-1). The Demon Deacons held Kansas to a season-low 47 percent from the field, but lost forward Devin Thomas after he was ejected for two technical fouls with 7:28 remaining.
Tyler Cavanaugh scored 11 points, while Madison Jones and Coron Williams each had 10 for Wake Forest.
When Thomas got ejected, Kansas’ Conner Frankamp made three of the four free throws to put the Jayhawks up 64-52. And when Wiggins, who was largely silent offensively for the first 35 minutes, made a 3-pointer for a 68-57 lead, the overwhelmingly pro-KU crowd might have sensed that Wake’s upset bid had run dry.
The Demon Deacons had other ideas.
Miller-McIntyre kept attacking, and his 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes left got Wake Forest within 77-72. Desperately needing a stop, Wake Forest wound up losing Arnaud Adala Moto to his fifth foul when he got in Wiggins’ way on a drive with 38 seconds left.
Wiggins made the first free throw and missed the second, but the ball bounced out of bounds to Kansas. Naadir Tharpe hit a pair of foul shots to make it a three-possession game, and Kansas escaped.
A three-games-in-three-days tournament is a chance for teams to show off their depth.
Kansas wasted no time in doing just that.
The Jayhawks had eight players score in the first 10 minutes, running out to a quick 24-13 lead. A 17-2 run put Kansas in early control, with the Demon Deacons getting only one field goal in a stretch that lasted nearly eight minutes.
Kansas had seven players score in that burst, no one getting more than four points and Wiggins not even registering a field goal.
Wake Forest weathered that storm, and had it within 27-20 with 5:25 left until the break. That’s when the Jayhawks hit the gas again, scoring 13 of the next 17 points before winding up with a 40-26 edge at intermission.
Miller-McIntyre got a layup to fall just before the halftime buzzer, and maybe that gave Wake Forest some momentum.
The Demon Deacons opened the second half on a 16-6 run, getting within 46-42 when Miller-McIntyre appeared to lose the ball as he elevated toward the rim but getting the shot to fall anyway. Kansas even botched alley-oop passes on consecutive possessions, one bouncing off the rim and another sailing out of bounds.
Still, the Jayhawks never lost the lead in the second half.
Kansas survived a scare late in the half when Andrew White III was fouled under the basket by Wake Forest’s Travis McKie and staying down for a few moments after a hard landing. White III eventually got up, made one of the two awarded free throws and stayed in the game.