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Archive for Wednesday, December 9, 1998

S BASKETBALL LOSS SINCE THE 1993-94 SEASON.

December 9, 1998

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It's over.

It's not the end of the world, but Kansas' memorable 62-game homecourt winning streak -- the longest in school history -- is history.

Unranked Iowa (6-1) wiped out a whopping 18-point second-half deficit and overcame No. 10-ranked KU, 85-81, Tuesday night before a stunned Allen Fieldhouse crowd of 16,300.

It was the Jayhawks' first home loss since an 81-74 setback to Missouri on Feb. 20, 1994.

"There are a lot of sad feelings in our locker room and a lot of elation in the other one," KU coach Roy Williams said after his Jayhawks fell to 5-2. "The kids will hurt more. I will hurt more. It may make us hungrier possibly to start a new streak."

There was shock, anger and even tears in KU's locker room.

"The streak meant a lot to our guys, especially the seniors, and it all came crashing down. The emotion was pouring out in the locker room tonight," KU freshman guard Jeff Boschee said after scoring 15 points and snatching four of KU's 18 steals.

The crash was somewhat unexpected considering KU led by 18 points -- 59-41 -- with 13 minutes left.

Iowa didn't quit. No, the Hawkeyes instead put together an amazing 29-10 run to take a 70-69 lead with 5:14 left.

"It was a gradual thing," Williams said. "We had some silly turnovers. We were not as aggressive. We missed free throws. If I had to point to one thing in the second half, it's that they killed us on the backboards."

Iowa outrebounded Kansas 24-12 the second half. The Hawkeyes also banged in eight of 11 three-pointers the final half, including four by sharpshooter Kent McCausland. That helped make up for an incredible 31 Hawkeye turnovers.

"He's an awfully nice kid. He played on the same AAU team as Raef did. I'm happy for him, but we shouldn't have left him open on the last two," Williams said of McCausland. "One we didn't get the kid picked up -- Ryan (Robertson) hasn't done that in 100 years. The other one, one of our kids fell down. The effort was there. We just did not play smart."

McCausland hit a three at 1:40, wiping out a 76-74 Iowa deficit. He stretched a 79-78 lead to four points by making a three at :40.

After that, KU's Kenny Gregory (20 points, six rebounds) and Ryan Robertson missed shots. Joey Range made a free throw at :24.6, extending Iowa's lead to 83-78.

Robertson hit a three at :16.6, giving KU hope at 83-81. But Iowa hit a long inbounds pass --the Jayhawks had a defensive breakdown on the baseball pass -- and the Hawkeyes converted a final layup.

"If we'd just hit two more free throws than we did, we'd win the game," Boschee moaned.

What about the rebounding?

"It is hard work. It's something we must get better at -- it was ridiculous," Robertson said after the Jayhawks were outboarded 41-32 for the game.

The Jayhawks, who also it just 11 of 23 free throws, certainly made some mistakes.

"But you also have to give Iowa credit," Williams said. "They made the plays when they had to and we didn't. That club took advantage of our mistakes.

It all started so well. KU's recent first-half problems were a distant memory as the Jayhawks hit 51.4 percent of their shots in building a 43-34 lead.

Gregory lit it up for 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Boschee hit three three-pointers in six tries and scored 11 first-half points. Also, Robertson dished six assists to go with his five points as the Jayhawks had their running game in gear against Iowa's press.

The Jayhawks led, 29-25, with 5:03 left in the half. At that point, Boschee hit consecutive three-pointers, opening a 35-25 lead. Up 37-29, KU scored three straight on a free throw by Jeff Carey and bucket by Marlon London on a stickback to give the Jayhawks their biggest lead of the half at 11 points -- 40-29.

Iowa scored five straight, including an easy two on a bucket by Jaacks off an inbounds steal and Iowa trailed 40-34 at :48. However, KU scored the final points of the half on a three by Robertson at :31.

All that mattered at the end was the score -- Iowa 85, KU 81.

"It's hard to believe," Robertson said. "I'd like to apologize to our fans and guys like Raef (LaFrentz) and all the guys who helped build it. I think they understand we tried our hardest but just made a lot of mistakes and came up short. We'll try to start a new streak."

-- Gary Bedore's phone message number is 832-7186. His email address is gbedore@ljworld.com

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