KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This had to be an odd feeling for Kansas.

Whether it was a preview of what’s to come Saturday, well, that remains to be seen.

The No. 17-ranked Jayhawks were roundly booed jogging out for pregame warmups ahead of Friday night’s Big 12 Tournament semifinal against West Virginia, the typically friendly confines of Sprint Center turned venomous not by the smattering-at-best of Mountaineer fans but by leftover supporters of both Iowa State and Kansas State. The Cyclones prevailed over the Wildcats in a barn-burning semifinal, with KU emerging just moments after ISU secured the berth in the 5 p.m. Saturday championship game.

That’s when the jeers rolled in.

“K.J. (Lawson) was like, ‘Who booing us?’ ” KU sophomore guard Marcus Garrett later recalled. “And I was like, ‘It’s K-State fans here still.’ ”

As waves of purple filed out of the downtown arena, the atmosphere became much more favorable to the No. 3-seeded Jayhawks, who rolled to an 88-74 victory over the 10th-seeded Mountaineers. Dedric Lawson scored a game-high 24 points, Quentin Grimes pitched in 18 with five made 3s and KU produced its highest team point output since Dec. 18.

After the Elite Eight-level environment Cyclone fans stoked in the earlier contest, though, the question remains: What kind of climate can the 11-time Big 12 Tournament champion Jayhawks expect in the title clash?

“I hope our fans are creative, but I bet you Iowa State has 70 percent of the building (Saturday),” KU coach Bill Self said. “The reason I say that is because when you play that first game and you win, now you’re able to hustle the tickets off the team that didn’t win, and they’re pros at hustling tickets in Kansas City. I would say that it will be the first time in a long time that we probably won’t have a comparable home court, is what I predict.

“But, you know, our people show up, and they’ll compete just like we will tomorrow. It should be a fun day and certainly a game in which I think will be a fun game to play. ... I think it will be a highly competitive game where both teams are really hookin’ up”

Friday didn’t provide that kind of drama.

The Jayhawks (25-8) trailed by as many as seven points across a lethargic start, with Grimes helping shake the team from its prolonged slump. The up-and-down freshman guard drained five first-half 3s on five attempts — one on KU’s first make of the evening, a second at the 4:11 mark to evoke the first real roar from the partisan-yet-probably-bored Sprint Center crowd and a third through contact in front of the WVU (14-20) bench, resulting in a four-point play. That conversion with 2:11 left in the half gave the Jayhawks a lead they wouldn’t surrender the rest of the game.

Grimes wasn’t done. His fourth 3 came on the very next trip down the court, near the tail end of a key 13-2 run for KU. But the suddenly-confident wing saved his best for last — Grimes put up a deep attempt from just beyond the midcourt Big 12 logo that went in just before the halftime buzzer, then grinned and threw 3-point hand gestures down to his knees as he jogged to the locker room.

“I knew with the clock running down, looked up at the shot clock, knew I was feeling it,” Grimes said of his fifth trey. “I didn’t care how deep it was. I knew I was going to put it up.”

Grimes finished his active opening half with 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

“Hard work paying off,” Grimes said of his evening. “Staying in the gym, not worrying about what people say. Just worrying about keep bettering myself and keep getting better every time I play out there. ... Coaches, they have the utmost confidence in me to shoot with any shot I put the ball on. My teammates are looking for me, and if my teammates want me to shoot the ball, that’s what I’m going to do. Whether it’s from NBA, in the mid-post, mid-range — wherever I get the ball, I’m going to shoot it, for sure.”

Sporting a 48-40 lead out of the intermission, KU didn’t let up, with Grimes’ teammates getting in on the fun.

A put-back layup through contact and free-throw conversion by freshman forward David McCormack 80 seconds into the period kick-started a 14-2 run for the Jayhawks, who, after a Derek Culver bucket, got three consecutive makes in tight from Lawson, Grimes and Lawson again. Lawson drilled a 3 to make the advantage 16, and Garrett capped the rally with a driving layup of his own to make it 64-46 KU with 14:29 left.

Culver stopped the bleeding with a layup, but if it wasn’t at that point too little, it was almost certainly too late. The Jayhawks built their lead to 23 points, and while the Mountaineers cut the deficit to 13 on a late 10-0 run, KU responded with a 6-0 stretch, with Lawson putting the game out of reach with a layup that built a 19-point lead with 5:19 left.

Kansas City native Ochai Agbaji threw down a rim-rocking dunk off a Devon Dotson lob pass to make the advantage 20 with two minutes left, the exclamation point on a well-rounded evening. All that remained from there was the matter of planning for Saturday, when the No. 5-seeded Cyclones will look to become the lowest seed ever to win in the Big 12 Tournament's 23-year history. ISU has won five championships, including three of the last five at Sprint Center, which has become a “Hilton Coliseum South” of sorts for the well-traveled fan base.

“They’re the best offensive team in our league. They’ve got more weapons,” Self said of the Cyclones (22-11). “They create problems for a lot of folks and we’re also one of them because they play small. So they got shooters at all four spots around the perimeter. We’ve been playing big, so we will have to make adjustments there and try to figure it out. I love their personnel, and they always play good in Kansas City, it seems like.

“I’m sure that they’ll get a ton of support here tomorrow and it should be a fun game. I think it will be one of the more fun games we’ve played this year.”

Lawson concurred.

“Looking forward to tomorrow and getting a championship,” Lawson said. “Looking forward to winning something meaningful for the season.”

As for the atmosphere he expects Saturday?

“It’s going to be great,” Lawson said. “You remember last year, we played the exhibition game against Missouri? Kind of like that atmosphere. It was a pretty good atmosphere.”

No. 17 KANSAS 88, WEST VIRGINIA 74

WEST VIRGINIA (14-20)

Matthews 2-10 0-0 5, West 5-11 4-6 16, Culver 6-12 2-4 14, McCabe 3-7 0-0 7, Haley 2-5 0-2 4, Gordon 3-7 1-2 7, Routt 2-3 0-0 4, Knapper 4-9 1-3 10, Harler 3-5 0-0 7. Totals 30-69 8-17 74.

KANSAS (25-8)

D.Lawson 9-13 4-4 24, McCormack 2-3 3-3 7, Grimes 6-13 1-1 18, Agbaji 4-9 0-0 9, Dotson 4-10 5-6 13, Lightfoot 2-3 0-0 4, Garrett 5-9 1-2 11, K.Lawson 0-0 0-0 0, Teahan 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 1-3 0-0 2, Luinstra 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-63 14-16 88.

Halftime — Kansas 48-40. 3-Point Goals — West Virginia 6-22 (West 2-4, Knapper 1-3, Harler 1-3, Matthews 1-5, McCabe 1-5, Haley 0-1, Culver 0-1), Kansas 8-20 (Grimes 5-8, D.Lawson 2-3, Agbaji 1-4, Garrett 0-1, Moore 0-1, Lightfoot 0-1, Dotson 0-2). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — West Virginia 28 (Culver 11), Kansas 40 (D.Lawson, Grimes, McCormack 8). Assists — West Virginia 18 (Haley 6), Kansas 16 (Dotson 6). Total Fouls — West Virginia 16, Kansas 15. A — 19,066 (18,972).