Archive for Sunday, January 5, 1992

FIRST-HALF SURGE BOOSTS KU

January 5, 1992

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— Eight and a half was enough. Minutes, that is.

Kansas turned it on for the last 8 minutes of the first half and that was enough for the Jayhawks to stop Southern Methodist, 79-67, on Saturday night in Moody Coliseum.

"That stretch," KU coach Roy Williams said afterward, "was basically the margin we had in the game."

Other than that span in which Kansas outscored the Mustangs, 29-12, Williams didn't see much highlight-video footage.

Kansas trailed 23-17 after 11 minutes, and barely outscored the Mustangs in the second half (33-32).

After racing to a 46-35 halftime lead, the Jayhawks seemed to go through the motions in the second half. Williams called it "meandering around."

"THAT'S TWO games in a row where we haven't been very sharp offensively," Williams said, harking back to Thursday's 79-73 overtime win over Pepperdine in Allen Fieldhouse.

Nobody was any less sharp offensively than Eric Pauley. The 6-10 junior college transfer missed everything he put up nine close-in shots and one free throw.

"He wasn't doing anything wrong mechanically. . .they just weren't falling for him," Williams said. "I told him he's gotta get tough enough to stick it in. He's not the most confident player in the world, but when you've had a bad front nine, you've gotta turn it around on the back nine."

Freshman Ben Davis struggled with easy inside shots, too, making just four of 11. Between them, Pauley and Davis were four of 20 from the field.

And if somebody had told Williams before the game that Davis and Pauley would miss 16 of 20 shots. . .?

"I'D PROBABLY have thought we were gonna lose the game," the KU coach said. "But on our team you can't stop just two guys. We've got more than one or two weapons."

Kansas' most dangerous weapons were guards Adonis Jordan and Rex Walters.

Jordan wound up with 20 points and Walters, who was four for five from three-point range, added 16. Richard Scott, the only KU inside player who didn't have an off-shooting night he made six of nine added 14.

Alonzo Jamison, who had carried KU in overtime against Pepperdine, contributed only seven points and three rebounds in 24 minutes this time, but he was playing on a tender knee.

Williams revealed that the 6-6 senior was injured against Pepperdine and couldn't practice on Friday.

"The knee was really bothering him," Williams said, "but he still did some good things."

IT WAS A good thing Kansas, not known as a skilled free throw shooting team, made 11 of 13 charities down the stretch. The Jayhawks' last 11 points, in fact, came at the foul line.

Fortunately, too, the Mustangs maintained their futility as free throw shooters. They made only 14 of 30 at the line. That was even worse than the Ponies' 52.6 percentage after their first nine games.

Poor foul shooting prevented the Mustangs from mounting a comeback. They never came any closer than eight points in the second half. That was with 2:28 remaining.

Kansas withstood that challenge by making seven of eight free throws in the last 1:46.

Kansas boosted its record to 10-0 and, while Williams didn't use the word ugly to describe it, he probably could have.

"That was the first time in four years I felt the other team got more loose balls than we did," he said. "That was probably the most disappointing thing. I was probably more negative and vocal than I've been at halftime, and that's probably the reason."

Kansas is scheduled to play at Wichita State on Wednesday night, then return home on Saturday night to meet Louisville."

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