Archive for Thursday, February 8, 1996

S BIG MEN FEAST ON ISU

February 8, 1996

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Kansas University entertained Iowa State on Wednesday night expecting a barn-burner.

It quickly turned into a block party instead.

The third-ranked Jayhawks blocked a school single-game record 14 shots and hit a scorching 65.4 percent of their second-half field goals to take the wind out of the No. 21 Cyclones, 89-70, at Allen Fieldhouse.

"It came together tonight, definitely," said KU junior center Scot Pollard, who led the way with a team- and season-high 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. "We're definitely coming together. We were clicking on a lot of cylinders, but we still have room to improve."

KU's big men carried the day. Pollard and the other two starting front-liners, Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce, combined for 51 points, 23 boards and nine blocks.

"Iowa State played a lot of gimmick defenses," said LaFrentz, who had 17 points, 10 boards and four blocks. "So anything's possible. You could be wide-open on the perimeter or you could be wide open on the blocks. You never know."

Ironically, the Jayhawks set the school single-game block record without Greg Ostertag, their departed Big Eight career blocked-shots record holder. And they did it even though Pollard, at least, fought with himself not to swat.

The old school record was 13 against Montana State in 1976.

"I get a lot of silly fouls if I jump around too much, swinging at everything," Pollard said. "That's what I was doing in the first half. When Jacy Holloway comes in there, I was going over and he'd dump it off. I should know Jacy's not going to shoot. That's the shot-blocker in me. I'm trying to keep it inside and not let it out."

LaFrentz, a native of Monona, Iowa, didn't try to keep his personal motivation under wraps. LaFrentz, a sophomore, entered Wednesday's game just 1-2 against the Cyclones.

"It's always going to be motivation for me when we're going up against an Iowa school," LaFrentz said. "But I don't think I've set the record straight. Not yet. I'm just 2-2 against 'em."

Sure, but he's 1-0 against them this season and a perfect 7-0 against the league at the midway point. ISU fell a game back in the Big Eight race at 5-2, while K-State fell farther into third at 5-4.

And, yes, the Jayhawks were aware it was a 1-2 Big Eight showdown.

"Yeah, we knew it," junior reserve forward B.J. Williams said. "But I learned in high school just to treat it like any other game."

Still, Williams said, the Jayhawks didn't. They had eight of their 14 turnovers in the first half, when they struggled to a 40-36 lead at the break.

"In the first half, we were just really hyper," said Williams, who contributed six points and three blocks. "For some reason, we were excited about this game. I don't know why. We just came out too excited and out of our gameplan. In the second half, we were more in control."

Not to mention more in the zone.

The Jayhawks came out of the break and ran off five straight points. They took control with a 15-0 run from 13:11 to 9:19. And they put it away with a 14-3 run from 5:24 to 2:21.

"The second half was ... really good," LaFrentz said. "The first half, we made some stupid turnovers. But we're a little happier with the second half. We definitely stepped it up."

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