Columbia, Mo. — Call off the search parties. Bring back the bloodhounds. Eric Pauley and Steve Woodberry found their shooting touches in Monday night's pulsating 92-80 overtime win over Missouri.
"The last four or five games my confidence had gone to nothing," Pauley said. "I looked on the Big Eight season as a new start, and hopefully it is a new start."
Pauley, who had missed 17 of his last 19 shots, made five of eight against the Tigers and finished with 15 points.
KU coach Roy Williams tried to infuse more confidence in the 6-10 juco transfer by inserting him in the starting lineup, but that may not have been a factor.
"I wasn't real sure about myself even though I was starting," Pauley said.
After he made the Jayhawks' first two baskets one on a stickback he was on his way.
AS TO WHERE his shooting touch was hiding, well, Pauley doesn't have the foggiest.
"I don't know what it was," he said. "The release. . .something was different. I thought I was doing things the same, but it's good to be back on track."
Ditto for Woodberry, the Jayhawks' No. 3 guard. He'd been shooting just 43 percent from the field and 60 percent from the line.
On Monday night, the 6-4 sophomore scored a career-high 19 points. He was 7 of 10 from the floor and hit both his charities.
"It had been going tough," Woodberry said, "but now I'm ready. I've been working on it."
Woodberry's biggest bucket was probably a three-pointer he made all three of his trey attempts 14 seconds into the overtime.
"It was a big shot," Woodberry said. "It really got us going in overtime."
THAT IT DID. Missouri was never able to regain the lead as Kansas made four of its five shots in OT and nine of its 10 free throws.
With three Jayhawks on the bench with five fouls and with Alonzo Jamison joining them with 3:24 remaining in the extra period, Woodberry logged 28 minutes in a reserve role.
"I didn't think I had to take over," he said. "I was just trying to set some picks and do what I usually do."
Woodberry's three-pointer in overtime was big, all right, but Rex Walters hit an even bigger one.
Walters' trey came with just two ticks remaining on the shot clock and two minutes left on the scoreboard. It expanded a precarious two-point lead to five and may have been the turning point.
"The shot was there," Walters said. "I took it, and thank God it went in."
AS IMPORTANT as that three-pointer was, though, Walters knew Mizzou wasn't through.
"At that point, no," he said. "They were tough. I thought they'd come back."
Missouri didn't, perhaps because the pressure of trying to overcome that five-point deficit caused the Tigers to miss eight of their last nine shots.
Kansas won with three starters Pauley, Jamison and Richard Scott and reserve Ben Davis on the bench with five fouls.
Jamison was the last to go and, said Walters, "When Alonzo fouled out I thought we were in trouble because he's our stopper."
Instead Missouri was in trouble because Kansas is deeper than a gopher's basement and could absorb the loss of four regulars.
"That's a tribute to our bench," Walters said. "It shows you how deep we are. It shows it takes more than five guys to make a team."
GREG OSTERTAG, the 7-2 freshman who has had stamina problems, played every minute of the overtime period.
"I didn't really get as tired as I usually do," Ostertag said. "I think the excitement of the overtime did it, the adrenaline flowing and all that."
Ostertag had six points and three boards in 15 minutes over overall duty.