KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Michael Lee provided the spark Kansas needed to reach the "Sweet 16" for the fourth straight year.
Lee scored all nine of his points during a decisive second-half run as the fourth-seeded Jayhawks posted a 78-63 victory over 12th-seeded Pacific in a second-round St. Louis Region contest.
Kansas (23-8) took advantage of a partisan crowd at the Kemper Arena and will meet ninth-seeded Alabama-Birmingham, which upset top-seeded Kentucky, in the regional semifinals on Friday.
"I thought we played terrific, we were tough, we rebounded and we defended well," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We certainly played a team well deserving to be in this round of the NCAA Tournament."
Pacific (25-8) upset fifth-seeded Providence in the first round and had the nation's longest current winning streak at 16 games.
And the Tigers were even with Kansas at 51-51 after a layup by Miah Davis with 10:49 left. But Lee came off the bench and had a 3-pointer, six free throws and a steal in a 15-4 run over the next four minutes which opened a 66-55 lead.
"Michael Lee was huge for us today," Kansas forward Wayne Simien said. "It got kind of stagnant at both ends of the court, and he came in and got a rebound, a steal and made some big shots. That was really key for us."
Keith Langford ignited the spurt with a layup and Lee scored the next nine points for Kansas before Simien and Langford capped it with layups.
After a basket by Guillaume Yango pulled Pacific within 66-57 with 6:26 left, Kansas scored the next seven points on three-point plays by Simien and Langford and a free throw by freshman J.R. Giddens.
Simien, who aggravated a groin injury in Kansas' first-round win over Illinois-Chicago, showed no ill effects from the injury, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 33 minutes.
Langford finished with 16 and Giddens added 13 for the Jayhawks, who outrebounded Pacific, 40-27.
"We knew coming into game they were bigger and stronger," Pacific forward Christian Maraker said. "They used their strength very good."
Yango led the Tigers with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, but Kansas held Davis, the Big West Conference Player of the Year, to 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.