Neb.- Kansas intends to make the most of its 18th trip to the NCAA
Jayhawks, despite having only a shell of the Kansas team that started
the season with such high hopes, defeated Xavier, 85-72, Friday night in
a Midwest Regional first round game at Bob Devaney Sports Center.
win moved the Jayhawks into Sunday's second round against Murray State,
which surprised third-seeded North Carolina State, 78-75, in an
opening-round game. Sunday's other second-round game in Lincoln will pit
second-seeded Pittsburgh (27-3) against Vanderbilt (19-10).
State, 22-8 and seeded 14th in the Midwest Regional, won Ohio Valley
conference and tournament titles this year.
Kansas, 22-11, jumped on top early and never let up in the opening 20
Bolstered by a surprise start from guard Kevin Pritchard, who was
doubtful with a sprained right knee, KU never trailed and led 48-29 at
Jayhawks, who led by as many as 25 points in the second half, held off
the pesky Musketeers, who cut KU's lead to eight points (74-66) with
2:50 left on a basket by Stan Kimbrough.
hit seven of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to preserve the
Manning scored 24 points to lead Kansas. Milt Newton added 21. Kansas
coach Larry Brown said KU's first half was the difference.
probably played as well in the first half as we have all season," Brown
played so well... I don't think we ever had control of the game in the
we not played so well in the first half, it might have been different.
I'm thrilled we're going on."
coach Pete Gillen, who saw his team's 15-game winning streak snapped,
agreed with Brown's assessment.
were stunned," Gillen said of the first half. "We were back on our
heels. We just never got back in it.”
"Tonight, they outplayed us. We were outclassed by our opponent. In the
second half, we cut it to eight and had a chance to cut it to six, but
we didn't. Their kids had a little more fire than ours."
Pritchard showed that the knee wasn't bothering him when he bolted the
length of the court to field a Chris Piper inbounds pass and score the
first two points of the game. From then on, Kansas was in control.
Manning, flashing his All-American form throughout, scored 12 points in
the first half.
was the play of Pritchard, Chris Piper and the rest of the aggressive
Jayhawks that made the difference.
Pritchard scored six points in the first half, including a bucket on a
drive between two defenders. And Piper was making some great feeds,
hitting Newton for an easy layup, Newton for a stuff after a steal and
Manning for a reverse slam that resulted in a 3-point play.
even made one pass that was just too good for Keith Harris to handle
without traveling after it split the Xavier defense.
Kimbrough scored Xavier's first points of the game, tying the score at
2-2. The Jayhawks took the lead for good on a 15-foot baseline jumper
led, 10-7, after Xavier's J.D. Barnett hit a 3-pointer with 16:41 left
in the opening half.
all Kansas then. The Jayhawks ripped off a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-point
goal by Jeff Gueldner with just over 13 minutes to play to give the
Hawks a 19-7 lead.
Larkin, the Musketeers' third-team All-American performer, hit a layup
half a minute later to pull Xavier to within 19-12. Manning's 3-point
play on a reverse dunk resulting from a Piper pass, put KU in control,
Larkin hurt his right thigh when he collided with KU's Mike Maddox.
Larkin didn't score the rest of the half but played with a heavily
closest Xavier could get the rest of the first half was 24-16 after a
basket by Jamaal Walker with 10:55 to play. The last time the Musketeers
were within that margin came with 6:37 to play in the first half on a
pair of Stan Kimbrough free throws that made it 32-24.
scored four points and Newton added a bucket as the Jayhawks went on a
7-0 run to make it 39-24.
BEND, Ind. (AP)- Mitch Richmond scored 30 points and Kansas State
snapped LaSalle's 15-game winning streak with a 66-53 victory.
State, 23-8, on Saturday will face DePaul. LaSalle, led by Lionel
Simmons' 20 points, ended at 24-10
Richmond, who averaged 22.7 points a game this season, set a school
scoring record with 711 points, surpassing Bob Boozer’s 1959 mark of 691
points. His performance helped the Wildcats to their ninth consecutive
triumph in NCAA first-round play.
William Scott added 17 points for Kansas State, 15 on 3-point shots.
State, opening the game on a Richmond field goal, never trailed, and the
Explorers never came closer than six points, 45-39, at 12:16 in the
Wildcats opened a 34-23 halftime lead after applying early defensive
pressure on Simmons and holding him scoreless during a 10-minute stretch
through the middle of the opening half. Kansas State hit 54 percent of
its field goal attempts in the half to LaSalle's 36 percent.
Richmond had 13 points, while Scott hit three 3-point shots and finished
the half with 11.
Simmons, averaging 23.4 points, accounted for the Explorers' first six
points, but failed to score again for nearly 10 minutes.
Chicago Daily Herald Sports Writer
BEND, Ind.- In the end, the Kansas State fans added insult to its injury
is DePaul?" they chanted as the clock ticked off the final seconds of
the Wildcats' 66-58 NCAA Midwest Regional win Saturday. The Wildcats
will meet Big Ten champion Purdue in the regional semifinals Friday at
the Pontiac Silverdome.
impregnable 2-3 Kansas State zone took DePaul out of its offense and put
the Blue Demons on the defensive. Unable to run, they were forced to
play the Wildcats' controlled tempo throughout.
"That's the second 2-3 zone that I think we've had a lot of trouble with
this year," said a subdued Joey Meyer.
"Northwestern (a 78-64 loss in December) really made us struggle, too."
capacity Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center crowd of 10,760 watched
as a terrible shooting exhibition by DePaul, and a superlative
individual effort by Wildcat Will Scott, determined the game.
Blue Demons' season-low point total was the result of 22-of-59 shooting.
we shoot 37 percent, we're not going to beat too many people," Meyer
Consistent senior Kevin Edwards, bothered by a wrist injury early in the
game, finished his career fighting his way through a 3-for-14 afternoon.
Junior Rod Strickland, who may opt for the NBA instead of his senior
year next season, scored 19 points on 7 of 19 field goals and 2 of 4
free throws. He was 3 of 8 from 3-point range
did a good job with their zone defense," Strickland said. "We had
problems penetrating. We had problems getting the ball inside."
addition to Scott's hot shots, the 6-foot-2 senior led the Wildcats with
23 points, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range.
I hit the first couple, my confidence picked up," he said. "I think this
is as good as I have shot the ball all year."
moved the ball well," Strickland said. "We'd try to trap and they'd hit
the open man."
defense didn't create many points for DePaul, anyway.
time we seemed to get our hands on a pass it would bounce back into
their hands," Meyer said. "I was real proud of the way our kids fought
in the last 10 minutes and played an excellent pressure defense."
State held a 30-29 lead as the second half started. Two Scott 3-pointers
pushed the lead to 36-29.
Charles Bledsoe bucket inside and Steve Henson's 3-pointer gave Kansas
State its largest lead until the final minute when it sank 7 of 8 free
throws that left the DePaul players helplessly shaking their heads.
Laux' 3-pointer put DePaul on top 28-21 before a 9-0 run by K-State
earned them the halftime lead.
Stanley Brundy, an offensive star of late with games of 30, 26, 15 and
26 points, scored just 8 and had only five attempts.
tempo took us out of our game plan of running the ball," Brundy said.
Holland's dunk brought DePaul back from a 9-point deficit in the second
half and made it 52-51 with 611 remaining. Mitch Richmond (19 points)
scored on a 3-point play and a shot over Terence Greene to push the lead
Meyer putback put DePaul down 59-53 with 2:23, and it was too late for
DePaul. The Wildcats were 10 of 13 from 3-point range.
get 66 points and 30 are from 3-point range," Meyer said. "That's an
Edwards went to the bench holding his wrist with 9:50 left after being
whistled for a charge. He fell on the wrist at the end of the play.
was a little tight," Edwards said. "But I just had an off-night."
By Dan Hess
Salina (KS) Journal
Neb. - The final minute of Kansas' 61-58 victory over Murray State on
Sunday was vintage
Danny Manning (video).
A feather-soft jump hook to give the Jayhawks the lead. A rebound of a
Murray State field goal attempt and a pair of game-clinching free
"If you look at the last minute of the game," Kansas coach Larry Brown
said, "it typifies the type of season we've had. Danny makes a shot to
put us ahead, gets a key rebound, makes two free throws and steals the
"For the (Dick) Vitales of the world, I hope they
got to see that last 1 minute."
Sunday's win in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional basketball
game put the Jayhawks into the "Sweet 16" for the third consecutive
year. It also added a measure of respectability to the Big Eight
Conference, which can boast three teams- Kansas, Kansas State and
Oklahoma- in the final 16.
Manning, for one, isn't satisfied with just making the final 16 as the
Jayhawks enter Friday's Midwest Regional semifinal game against
Vanderbilt in Pontiac, Mich. The Commodores defeated Pittsburgh in
overtime, 80-74, to earn a shot at Kansas.
"It feels great right now," Manning said of making the final 16, "but we
made it this far last year. Some of us know what it's like to get
farther. We have to just go out and try to win every game."
Manning did his best against Murray State to keep Kansas' hopes alive.
He scored 25 points- 16 in the
second half- as the Jayhawks improved their record to 23-11.
For 39 minutes and 59 seconds, a Kansas victory was far from secure
against the upset-minded Racers, who shocked North Carolina State in the
tournament's opening round. Murray State's Don Mann missed an
off-balance 10-footer with only seconds left. Manning grabbed the
rebound, was fouled and the Jayhawks breathed a sigh of relief.
Manning and Kevin Pritchard were the main men for Kansas down the
stretch after Murray State overcame a 12-point, first-half deficit to
take a 34-32 lead with 13:40 to play on Terence Brooks' fast break
Pritchard, playing with a sprained right knee, then took over. The
sophomore guard scored eight straight Kansas points- six on 3-point
shots- as the Jayhawks took a 40-34 lead.
Manning and Pritchard, who combined for 29 of Kansas' 33 second half
points, helped the Jayhawks
maintain a 46-41 lead, with Manning hitting a pair of outside jumpers
and Pritchard adding a pair of free throws.
KU's Keith Harris added a basket to push the lead to 48-41 before Murray
State's Jeff Martin took
over. Martin hit a baseline jumper, then a 25-foot shot that turned into
a four-point play when he was fouled by Milt Newton on the shot.
Murray State's Paul King and Pritchard exchanged 3-pointers, leaving
Kansas on top 51-50. Martin
and Manning traded baskets before Mann and Martin hit back-to-back
baskets to put the Racers in front, 56-53, with 3:51 to play.
Manning tipped-in his own miss and Newton hit an 11-foot jumper as the
Jayhawks regained the lead.
Martin gave Murray State its final points and final lead with 51 seconds
left on a pair of free throws. Manning hit his hook shot 13 seconds
Murray State ran the clock down to 24 seconds before calling timeout to
set up a final play. Mann took the
inbounds pass from Chris Ogden and dished to Carl Sias out front. Sias
gave the ball back to Mann, who
dribbled out front, penetrated down the right side of the lane and put
up the shot.
Murray State coach Steve Newton, who watched the Racers' season end with
a 22-9 record, said Mann did exactly as he was told.
"We wanted the basketball in Don's hands," Newton said. "He's made a
number of clutch shots over
the years. We looked maybe for Don to get the ball to Jeff on the
penetration, but it wasn't to be."
Mann said he looked to pass but it wasn't there.
"I thought I got a pretty good shot off," said Mann, who made only
4-of-15 field goal attempts. "They had
good defense at the end. I was looking to pitch off, then I tried to
shoot it at the end."
Martin scored 22 points to lead Murray State and Mann had 16. Pritchard
scored 16 points for
Kansas and Newton added 11.
Brown said both teams played good defense throughout the game. The
Racers shot only 37.3 percent from the field, compared to the Jayhawks'
46.9 percent effort.
"I think the key is defense," Brown said. "They have some pretty
explosive players. Jeff Martin is as
good as we've seen, and (so is) the little kid (the 5-foot-8 Mann)."
Both teams started slowly in the first half, with neither being able to
take control the first 11 1/2 minutes.
Kansas' best stretch of the first half came after Murray State's Chris
Ogden hit a 6-footer in the lane to pull the Racers within 14-13 with
The Jayhawks responded with 11 straight points, starting when Harris
scored on a goaltending call after a
perfect feed from Scooter Barry. On KU's next possession, Pritchard
drove the lane on the break, missing the layup, but Newton followed it
in. Newton scored again quickly, running the break to perfection with
Harris. Manning hit a leaning 8-footer, turning it into a 3-point play
when he was fouled by Sias. Manning capped the Jayhawk run with a
thundering slam dunk, putting Kansas ahead 25-13 with 5:22 left.
Kansas continued its season-long pattern of blowing big leads, allowing
Murray State to close within five points at the half when Mann hit his
first 3-pointer of the game with 16 seconds left.
Mich. (AP)- Two-time All-American Danny Manning scored 25 of his 38
points in the first half for Kansas, which charged into a 19-4 lead and
beat Vanderbilt 77-64 in the Midwest Regional semifinals Friday night (video).
Manning, who began the game with a 24.4-point scoring average, got the
game's first basket, a 3-pointer, and outscored the entire Vanderbilt
team 21-20 in the first 17 minutes, making 12 of 17 first half shots.
Jayhawks, who never trailed, led 41-29 at halftime and by nine to 17
points the rest of the way.
Kansas, 24-11, plays Sunday against the winner of Friday night’s second
game between third-ranked Purdue and No. 20 Kansas State. Sunday's
winner advances to the Final Four next Saturday in Kansas City.
Manning's point total was one below his season high and four under his
career high. Kevin Pritchard with 11 points was the only other player in
double figures for Kansas, making its third consecutive appearance in
the round of 16.
Vanderbilt, 20-11 and playing in its first NCAA Tournament in 14 years,
was paced by Barry Booker with 22 points and Will Perdue with 16.
led 7-4 when Manning began a 12-0 run with a 14-foot jumper from the
right baseline 4:24 into the game. Pritchard sank a layup and Manning
followed with a 10 footer from the left baseline. Pritchard's baseline
jumper, Manning's fast break layup and two free throws by Mike Maddox
built the lead to 19-4 with 10:45 left in the half.
that point, Vanderbilt had two field goals and four traveling
the Commodores were helpless to stop Kansas' star center, Vanderbilt's
7-foot Perdue, a third-team All-American, managed just eight points and
two rebounds in the first half. The 6-10 Manning guarded him for some of
the half, although Kansas also used a zone defense.
Vanderbilt cut its deficit in the first two minutes of the second half
as Perdue made a baseline jumper, Milt Newton hit a bank shot for Kansas
and Booker sank his third 3-pointer for the Commodores. That made the
score 43-34 with 18:10 left in the game.
Manning's 3-pointer and Chris Piper's tip-in built the lead to 48-34
with 17:23 remaining.
Commodores had one rally left after Kansas took its biggest lead, 59-42,
with 10:24 to go. Booker had five points and Perdue four in a 9-1 run
that made the score 60-51. But Kansas came right back as Manning hit a
short jumper to start an 8-2 run that gave the Jayhawks a 68-53 lead
with 3:28 left.
Mich.- The dream matchup all of Kansas hoped and prayed for became a
reality Friday night when Kansas State turned giant killer.
Wildcats, outmanned at nearly every position, dug down deep in the
second half to wipe out a nine-point halftime deficit to stun the third
ranked Purdue Boilermakers, 73-70, in the NCAA Midwest Regional
victory boosted Kansas State to 25-8 overall and into Sunday's 12:58
p.m. regional finals against archrival Kansas (video).
Kansas and Kansas State fans alike, it's a dream come true. A 40-minute
matchup for a spot in next weekend's Final Four in Kansas City.
don't know what takes precedent," K-State head coach Lon Kruger said of
the rivalry with KU. "But, I guess it being the regional final takes
precedent over the fact that it's a rivalry. But, it's a rivalry as good
Purdue, Friday night was nothing but a nightmare. The Boilermakers end
their season at 29-4.
hat's off to Kansas State," said Purdue head coach Gene Keady, who was
playing his alma mater. "Their kids did a tremendous job and their
coaching staff did a tremendous job of bringing them back."
though we had a great season, Kansas State peaked and played better than
we did tonight."
K-State received a game-high 27-point performance from Mitch Richmond
and a pair of clutch free throws by McPherson sophomore Steve Henson in
the final seconds to erase the memory of a 29-point loss (101-72) to
Purdue on Dec. 20 in West Lafayette, Ind.
starts with people," Kruger said, "and I'm as proud of these players as
any coach could be."
start of the game was anything but a good one for the Wildcats as Purdue
scored the first 10 points of the game and led throughout the first 20
McCants, a bull of a player at 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds, started things
off with a six-footer from the wing just 25 seconds into the game.
Everette Stephens then buried a pair of three-pointers from the same
spot on the right wing and Todd Mitchell followed with a six-footer in
the lane to give the Boilermakers a 10-0 lead just 1:51 into the game.
wanted to put them away," Keady said.
K-State, however, battled back as it has done all season long. Led by
the senior duo of Richmond and Will Scott, the Wildcats closed Purdue's
lead to four points (16-12) at the 14:01 mark of the first half.
three-pointer by Troy Lewis gave Purdue a seven-point lead (21-14) at
the 11:51 mark, but an offensive tip by Fred McCoy and a three-pointer
from the right wing by Henson cut the Boilermakers' lead to 21-19 with
Wildcats then made it a one point game (22-21) at the 10:24 mark on a
17-footer from the key by Richmond, but Purdue fired back.
still a three-point game (35-32) at the 4:53 mark and K-State had three
chances to cut the lead to one or tie it up. But a turnover by Henson
and two missed K-State field goal attempts followed.
Stephens then buried a three-pointer from the right wing, McCants hit a
six-footer in the lane and Mitchell slammed home an offensive rebound to
boost the Boilermakers to a 10-point lead (42-32) with 1:35 left before
halftime. It was a nine-point Purdue lead (43-34) at intermission.
K-State then came out blazing at the start of the second half to turn
the game upside down for the partisan Boilermaker crowd.
Meyer popped in a pair of fielders from the lane, Richmond then hit an
eight-footer in the lane and Scott, who had 17 points, launched a pair
of consecutive three-pointers from the left wing just 22 seconds apart
to give K-State a 46-44 lead.
then on it was a dogfight. But K-State proved to be the better fighter
as the Wildcats will try to reach the Final Four for the first time
let them back in it in the second half," Keady said. "They came out and
outscored us 11-1 and got their heads up."
still a four-point K-State lead (61-57) at the 8:21 mark, but a
three-point bank shot by Richmond with 7:48 remaining and a 15-foot
guarded jumper in the lane by the 6-5 senior gave K-State a shocking
66-57 advantage with 6:49 left.
then and there, I knew if it was close at the end, we were going to win
the ball game," Richmond said of his three-pointer off the glass.
called that one," Kruger said with a straight face.
the Big Ten champions didn't die easily. Lewis buried a pair of free
throws and Stephens followed with a field goal and free throw at the
4:34 mark to make it a 66-62 game.
fast-break layup by Scott gave the Wildcats a 68-62 lead, but a pair of
free throws by McCants cut the margin back to four with 3:32 remaining.
Mitchell then missed a pair of crucial free throws at the 2:25 mark and
Meyer added a charity with 1:42 left to make it a 69-64 game.
Stephens then gave his team a huge lift with a three-pointer at the 1:26
mark to cut the K-State lead to two (69-67) and, after Charles Bledsoe
missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the 0:58 mark, Purdue looked to tie
K-State kicked the ball out of bounds with 44 seconds remaining,
resetting the 45-second clock, but Bledsoe then stole a Boilermaker pass
and was fouled by Mitchell. Bledsoe hit one of two charities with 27
seconds left to make it a 70-67 game and Stephens made a huge turnover
when he dribbled the ball off his leg and out of bounds at the 0:19
then buried a pair of free throws and after a three-pointer by Stephens,
Richmond iced the game with one free throw with three seconds left.
Stephens led the Boilermakers with 20 points, followed by 19 from Lewis
and 13 each from McCants and Mitchell.
Kansas-Kansas State matchup marks the first time the Big Eight
Conference has had two teams playing each other in the regional finals
and the first time three conference teams are in the final eight.
proud of the basketball we play," Kruger said. "It's very competitive
and it prepares you for anything. We feel it is as good as any in the
Mich. (AP)- Kansas isn't a one-man team. Because of that, it may become
the nation's No. 1 team.
Jayhawks do have center Danny Manning, perhaps the country's best
college player. His brilliance overshadowed the work of his teammates
throughout the basketball season. But on Sunday, they stepped into the
spotlight and found it to their liking. In the process, they sent Kansas
into the Final Four and pushed Kansas State out of the NCAA Tournament.
have the greatest player I've been associated with," Kansas coach Larry
Brown said of Manning. "Then I went into the locker room and there were
a lot of kids who had a role in getting us to the Final Four."
unranked Jayhawks got there with a 71-58 victory over 20th-ranked Kansas
State, 25-9. Kansas, 25-11, will play fifth ranked Duke, 28-6, next
Saturday in the tournament semifinals. The winner plays the survivor of
the Arizona-Oklahoma semifinal in the national championship game next
1986, Duke beat Kansas 71-67 in the NCAA semifinals. Last Feb. 20, the
Blue Devils downed the Jayhawks 74-70 in overtime after trailing 67-61.
Manning had 31 points and 12 rebounds in that game.
a better defensive team now than we were then," Manning said. "We've
improved. Then again, so has Duke."
Manning, a two-time All-America, did lead all scorers with 20 points
Sunday and did pass Elvin Hayes' NCAA career total of 2,884 points to
move into seventh place with 2,895, just 19 behind Alfredrick Hughes of
the improvement of the Jayhawks, 12-8 at one low point but now winners
of eight games in nine starts, was evident in the number of players who
made major contributions:
Newton, who became a starting forward when Archie Marshall suffered a
season-ending knee injury on Dec. 30, had 18 points, nine rebounds and
Scooter Barry, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry, came off the bench
to score a career high 15 points after getting just 96 in his 32
previous games this season.
Substitute Keith Harris had a key steal off Kansas State star Mitch
Richmond and went in for a dunk that gave Kansas the lead for good,
43-42 with 13:51 left.
Newton, Barry and Kevin Pritchard did all the scoring in a 20-8 run that
turned Kansas' 45-44 edge with 12:32 remaining into a 65-52 margin with
1:44 to go (video).
Manning was outstanding and give the others credit, too," Kansas State
coach Lon Kruger said. "Kansas had a number of players who stepped in
and did a great job."
are so many unlikely kids, who I wasn't smart enough to play (before),
that came through," Brown said.
Manning was named the regional's outstanding player and joined Newton
and Pritchard on the all-tournament team. Richmond and Will Scott, who
led Kansas Stale with 18 points on Sunday, also made it.
Newton and Harris, the Jayhawks played strong team defense against
Richmond, a 6-foot-5 senior and a possible first-round NBA draft choice
Averaging 22.9 points per game, he scored just 11 on 4-of-14 shooting.
It matched his low for the season, which also came against Kansas last
month. The Jayhawks, who had lost two of three previous games against
Kansas State this season, did an excellent job of denying him the ball
and bothering him when he did get it.
double-teamed me every time and tried to make me give it up," Richmond
said. "I didn't feel frustrated. I tried to get the ball in someone
first half, those hands belonged to Scott and they were hot. He made
three of five 3-pointers and scored 13 points to carry the Wildcats to a
29-27 halftime lead.
3-pointer by Barry two seconds before the buzzer gave Kansas a lift.
was a tremendous play for us," Brown said. "I thought Scooter's basket
and the way we used the clock was a big factor."
State, however, expanded its lead to 40-35 with 15:55 to go (video).
Kansas was controlling Scott, who made five of seven shots in the first
half but one of eight in the second.
Jayhawks closed the gap to 42-41 after Harris stole the ball as Richmond
dribbled toward the foul line.
Harris scored, Manning hit a hook and Richmond followed with a jumper.
Kansas led 45-44 with 12:32 to go.
CITY, Mo. (AP)- Danny Manning, the man in Kansas' one-man show, led the
Jayhawks into the NCAA national championship final as they put fifth
ranked Duke away early Saturday and held on for a 66-59 victory.
Manning scored 25 points, had 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots and
led a smothering defense- borrowing Duke's trademark in beating the Blue
Devils and avenging a 1986 Final Four semifinal loss to the same team.
Kansas, which last went to the national final in 1957 and won its only
title in 1952, scored the first 14 points and led by as many as 18 in
the first half (video). Duke whittled the lead to three with 4:17 to play behind
Danny Ferry, but that was as good as the Blue
Devils could do.
sophomore two years ago, Manning scored only four points against Duke
after getting into foul trouble. This time, the two-time All-American
not only scored points, but he rejected shots, made steals and led a
Kansas defense that held Duke to just two points in its first 11
possessions of the game and lowest point total of the season.
ran up a 24-6 lead in the first nine minutes of the game, and this time,
they held onto it (video). Two months ago, Kansas led Duke by 15 points in a
regular season game before losing in overtime.
who had 19 points, started a 13-2 Duke run that cut the Kansas lead from
49-33 to 51-46 with 9:28 to play. Six straight points by Duke, including
four by Ferry, cut the margin to 55-52 with 4:17 left.
Pritchard hit a short jumper for Kansas, and Quin Snyder answered with a
Duke basket that made it 57-54 with 2:29 to play. Manning followed with
a tip-in that made the score 59-54.
with Kansas ahead 61-55, Manning rejected a layup attempt by Ferry for
his sixth block of the game.
King made a free throw to pull Duke within five again, but Scooter Barry
hit two free throws, Milt Newton made another and Pritchard hit two that
put Kansas ahead 66-56 with 10 seconds left.
had 20 points and Chris Piper 10 for Kansas, 26-11. Ferry made only
7-of-22 from the field and Duke was 23-67 for just 34 percent, its worst
of the season.
Strickland had 10 for Duke, 28-7, which was making its sixth trip to the
Unranked Kansas made its eighth trip to the Final Four despite losing
starters Archie Marshall, who was injured, and Marvin Branch, who was
academically ineligible, for most of the season.
knew there were some things I had to do to pick up the slack," Manning
had said, and on Saturday, he picked up enough to send Kansas into the
championship game. Manning also had six blocks and four steals for the
will play the winner of the Oklahoma-Arizona game on Monday night.
National Championship Game
was it Dorothy said?
I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
Kansas wasn't even in Kansas. Nor in Kansas City, Mo. In toto, Kansas
couldn't possibly have been in any here-and-now precinct Monday night,
when all of those unknown, underrated but thoroughly unflappable
Munchkins, uh, Jayhawks, followed their nearly mystical leader, Danny
Manning, to the NCAA basketball title.
would have thought that an intramural squabble in that hoary football
league, the Big Eight conference, would turn into Masterpiece Theatre!
Or that Kansas, once 12-8 with its wounded players scattered along the
plains like wheat husks, its spirits down and its wayfaring coach, Larry
Brown, all but out, would shuck it up one more implausible time? Or that
Manning- a Wizard of Oz not to mention oohs and ahhs- would curl in enough
soft hooks, tear away enough rebounds, dribble and pass and defend
enough to hold the Jayhawks together against Oklahoma, so that Kansas
could escape with as perfectly executed an 83-79 upset victory as any
scriptwriter could have imagined?
this wasn't fantasy. Auntie Em turned out to be Danny M, a real, live
and thoroughly remarkable athlete who wired sufficiently elaborate
numbers- 31 points, 18 rebounds and 5 steals- that his opponents finally
got the message: Sooners...later.
that Brown didn't believe in his charged-up charges all along. "Get 'em
to the last five minutes," he kept exhorting the Jayhawks as the title
game, only the third in history to match teams from the same conference,
wound down. "They've never been there before." And indeed it wasn't
Kansas that panicked when the Jayhawks fell behind 65-60 with 12:13 left
in the game. It was the Sooners- those same marauders who had whomped
through the season kicking innumerable butts, taking few prisoners and
averaging 103.5 points a game- who made exactly two baskets in the next
11:13 and found themselves on the short end of a 78-73 score. Five up to
five down with a minute to play.
wasn't as if Oklahoma hadn't seen the warning signs, either. It wasn't
as if Kansas's trip down its yellow-brick interstate hadn't been paved
with good fortune. "Luck? This wasn't a gift. Luck comes when
preparation meets opportunity," said Manning, sounding as if he had
rehearsed his victory speech many times over. And maybe the Jayhawks
were more ready for all of this than anybody knew.
team believed it could keep winning; we weren't afraid of anybody," said
Brown, who also admitted that for the first time in his coaching life he
was actually happy, able to enjoy events of the moment- and perhaps not
even worried about searching out his next place of employ.
Piper, the blond, bony forward who combined with Manning to produce some
industrial-strength interior defense, put it another way. "Coach is so
happy." he said, "he's nervous."
why? Kansas didn't have to play North Carolina State or Pittsburgh or
Purdue- the top three seeds in the Midwest. It didn't have to play
Temple, the No. 1-ranked team going into the tournament, in the
semifinals. Those worthies were all upset before they could test the
Jayhawks. And what team has ever had its motivational ducks lined up in
a row the way Kansas did in these NCAAs? To win the thing, the Jayhawks
merely had to stack "get backs" on Kansas State, Duke and Oklahoma- three
teams they had already played this season and lost to in four of five
games. The Sooners' three-point sniper, Dave Sieger, was well aware this
wasn't the same Kansas whose athletic director at midseason was
contemplating a printer's cheap rate for NTT tickets. "They might as
well have another name," said Sieger.
about Kansahoma? In Monday's first half the Jayhawks matched the Sooners
basket for basket, sprint for spectacle. On the Oklahoma side, Sieger
was nonchalantly lofting six three-point grenades, and guard Mookie
Blaylock was stealing everything but Bob Dole's leftover farm vote. On
the other side, Manning worked his wonders aided by the likes of Milt
(Alfreaka) Newton, who scored two of his 15 points on a whirling,
windmill, freako bucket, and Clint Normore, a volunteer Brown picked off
the Kansas football team, whose three for three contributed to Kansas's
71% first-half shooting.
intermission, the score was 50-50, and the pace had been so frenetic
that gasping referee John Clougherty looked as if he needed an oxygen
tank. Said Ed Steitz, progenitor of the college three-point shot, "I'm
changing the rules tomorrow; the game's not exciting enough. We need six
refs for this one."
the Jayhawks, the problem with all this breathless fun was that they
didn't really want to run. Brown knew they couldn't do it for another 20
minutes. "But it's hard not to run with them," said Kansas point guard
Kevin Pritchard. "It's an ego thing. You feel like you're on the
playground having a good time."
had a better time than Brown, whose coachly wanderings, elegant
haberdashery and constant, cloying, Jerry Lewis-like references to his
"kids" sometimes camouflages his sideline genius. In resurrecting the
Jayhawks after the in-season losses to injury of their tragic tin man,
forward Archie Marshall, and others. Brown had pulled off a work of art.
And he knew it. During a Monday-afternoon stroll through Kansas City's
Country Club Plaza, restaurants, shops and traffic all came to a
worshipful standstill as he passed.
fans were ready for Brown to divine something, it was expected to come
in the form of a slow-down game. But Brown didn't rein in his Jayhawks
in the title game until midway through the second half when Kansas
spread out, worked the clock and cut off Oklahoma's speed game. Brown
ordered the Jayhawks' big men to handle the ball so that the Sooners'
thieving guards, Blaylock (seven steals) and Ricky (Amazing) Grace
couldn't get to it. And all that running? "They were just teasing us,"
said Sooner center Stacey King.
Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs also sensed exhaustion in his team. Although
he refused to rest either King or forward Harvey Grant by calling on his
fearsome pinch hitter, Andre (The Creator) Wiley, he did switch the
Sooners into a zone. Nonetheless, King and Grant, who combined for 29
points in the first 28 minutes, got two in the last 12 and might as well
have been sitting up in the stands with Barry Switzer for all the notice
their teammates gave them down the stretch.
Meanwhile, the 6'10" Manning hit a couple of astounding baskets- a
flat-footed hook over two defenders and a lefthanded squeaker across the
lane- in addition to doing a ferocious
watch-me-block-and-catch-your-shot-chump! number on one of King's last
jumpers. "[Danny] wanted this one bad," said King. "He went an extra
Pritchard nailed a little leaner, Kansas had the lead for good, 73-71,
with 5:35 remaining. Four Munchkins- Newton, Normore, Piper and
Pritchard- wound up making a combined 19 of 22 as the Jayhawks shot 63.3%
for the game. With 3:05 left, Piper swished a fallaway, which just beat
the shot clock for Kansas's biggest lead, 77-71. "I didn't think anybody
really had control of this thing until then." said Tubbs.
Manning suddenly threw up some horridly forced, glass-crashing stuff. "I
was so excited," he said. "I looked over at the bench and coach was
jumping up and down." Blaylock's turnaround cut the margin to 78-77 with
41 seconds left: Jayhawk Scooter Barry made the first free throw of a
one-and-one, and when he missed the second, Manning rebounded, was
fouled and made both his foul shots: 81-77 with 14 seconds left. Grace
drove for a layin, but two more Manning free throws with five seconds
iced the game (video).
were you thinking on those last free throws, Danny Manning? "I was
thinking, It's over," he said. "Before I shot them." With his 31 points
for the night, Manning had merely passed Bill Bradley, Lew Alcindor and
Oscar Robertson on the NCAA tournament career scoring charts; his 328
points are second only to Elvin Hayes's 358.
the jubilant Jayhawks cut down the nets. Scooter turned to a fellow in a
Kansas baseball cap who was going fairly bonkers and said, "I played
what?" said Rick Barry. "You won."
Jayhawks' unlikely journey began only 40 miles from Kansas City. But
while the players took a bus from their Lawrence campus to the Final
Four, their bus driver had to fly in. The ever-superstitious Brown
wanted his team chauffeured in K.C. by the same Greyhound employee who
had driven them around the week before at the Midwest Regional in
baffling to me," Jimmy Dunlap of Detroit- Driver Jimmy to the
Jayhawks- told The Kansas City Star. Nevertheless, on Thursday night
Driver Jimmy steered the Jayhawks downtown to venerable Municipal
Auditorium so that they could catch some of the coaches' All-America
outing was a nifty motivational trick by Brown. The Jayhawks got to soak
up some history- nine NCAA title games had been played in the old
building- and to enjoy some crowd adulation as the local favorite. They
were accompanied by what may be sport's only team bodyguard, Fernando de
San Miguel, a rather enormous fellow from Mexico City and Hollywood who
was once the stuntman for TV's Tarzan. San Miguel says that he met Brown
while "doing Larry's lawn."
Friday, Driver Jimmy, Fernando the Landscaper, Brown, Manning and the
other beloved Jayhawks attracted some 17,000 to Kemper Arena, believed
to be the largest practice-day crowd in tournament history. The crush
was such that the fire marshal closed the doors, thereby barring
thousands of other people from the workouts, including Bobbi Olson, wife
of Arizona coach Lute.
sound heard in Kemper that afternoon was not the crowd calling for
Luuuuuute to rescue Bobbi. Rather it was the locals boooooing the Duke
players. The next day the Blue Devils earned additional razzing as they
plunged to a two-touchdown deficit (14-0) in the first semifinal, which
Kansas won 66-59. Six weeks earlier, Duke had fallen behind Kansas 23-8
at Lawrence, only to snap back with a smothering defense and win in
overtime. But now, déjà P-U. On their first 10 possessions, the Dookies
missed five shots and turned the ball over five times.
team self-immolated, the smoke began to rise from coach Mike
Krzyzewski's ears- "Take care of the——ing ball," he shouted. Though Duke
made a valiant recovery- after Piper drove through the team's embarrassed
middle to give Kansas a 24-6 lead with 10:54 left to the half, the Blue
Devils outscored the Jayhawks 53-42- they were never able to get over
the hump of that terrible start.
famous defenders simply got out-defended. The scrambling Jayhawks
narrowed the passing lanes, choked off the inside and harassed Duke's
marksmen into 34.3% shooting. In addition, Manning avenged his
four-point, five-foul performance in Kansas's 1986 NCAA semifinal loss
to Duke- "I'll never forget that game," he said on Saturday- with 25
points, 10 rebounds, four steals and a Final Four-record six blocked
shots. Still, this wasn't a one-Dan offensive operation.
burned the Blue Devils' esteemed defenseman, Billy King, for eight
baskets. "If I'm supposed to be a gunslinger, I guess I got shot down,"
said King afterward. And Pritchard made the key basket of the game.
had narrowed Kansas's lead to three points with less than four minutes
to go when Pritchard went backdoor on Kevin Strickland, jump-turned on
the baseline, double pumped and flipped the ball ceilingward "just to
get a foul." When the ball fell through the hoop, Pritchard was flat on
his back. After Pritchard missed a wide-open chippie with 2:08 left and
Manning circled inside and put in the rebound to give the Jayhawks a
59-54 lead, the Blue Devils were flat on theirs as well.
average Danny stuff," said Piper. "He's always held his game down for
us. He's still hiding his talents."
other semifinal, Oklahoma's athletic skills proved to be too much for
Arizona, those western Wildcats of the 35-2 record, the
exquisite-passing teamwork, the dancing Gumbies on the bench and the
versatile forward. Sean Elliott, in the headlines. Elliott may be the
only Wildcat who could make the Sooners' first eight. "He's a wild-butt
player," said Oklahoma's Blaylock, "but the others would get too tired
running with us." Even Elliott raised his hand early to come out for a
rest in the Sooners' surprisingly routine 86-78 victory.
the score only 20-19 in favor of Oklahoma with 8:31 to go in the first
half, Arizona seemed to be doing fine. Precisely 170 seconds later the
Wildcats were behind 31-19 and gasping. Yoo-hah, it was another
Tubbs-thumping "crush 'n' kill" roundup, with King (21 points) scoring
at will on turnarounds and Blaylock's quick-as-a-wink hands disrupting
everything Arizona tried on the perimeter. "It's tough to be an
inspiration when you're 2 for 13," said Steve Kerr, who was shooting an
NCAA-record 59.9% in treys before being muted by the Mookster.
Olson's stylish composure was early knocked out of sync by the Sooners'
speed and fierce pressure. Cool Hand Lute even railed at his own
Gumbies- whom Wiley called "Gooeys"- ordering them to shut up and sit
still. "Oklahoma had tremendous endurance," Olson said admiringly.
think that we flat wore them out," said the Sooners' Sieger. "After a
while when they caught the ball, they stopped trying moves. They just
looked at us and passed it."
except Elliott, who finished with 31 points despite playing one-on-five
at times. In one stretch, during which King went to the bench with his
fourth foul, Elliott got seven of eight Wildcat points to bring his team
to within four points with 8:08 left. Tubbs merely turned up the heater
on the Sooners' zone traps and ordered Grant (21 points, 10 rebounds) to
go to work. "They're obviously the horses," said Elliott. Moreover,
Wiley, a shaved-head transfer from Compton (Calif.) J.C., replaced King
so efficiently (11 points, four rebounds and a humongous blocked shot)
that King never got his rattail haircut back in the game.
was even more spectacular in the Sooners' wild-and-woolly Friday
practice. Long after all those Kansas fanatics had gone home, Wiley put
on a slam exhibition that included some vintage Jordanesque stuff, plus
a two-ball dunk and a jump-over-three-ballkids routine. Tubbs said, "I
told Andre I'd put a quarter on top of the backboard, and if he could
touch it, he could have it. He said, 'What about a hundred dollar bill?'
I said, 'All I got is Grovers [as in Grover Cleveland, a.k.a. $1,000
knew what that meant, even if his teammates weren't so sure about the
significance of two Big Eight teams making it to the national
championship game. Grace: "The Big Eight doesn't get as much credit as
those other...uh...those other.... What is it? Big Eight...uh...what?
and King, in unison, setting Amazing straight: "Conference. The Big
later: "Shoot, I didn't even think my guys knew Kansas was in our
for a shining few weeks, in the land of Oz as well.