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Archive for Sunday, February 15, 1998

C.B. MCGRATH NEVER LOST IN MANHATTAN

February 15, 1998

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— The streak lives.

Long live the streak, says Kansas senior point guard C.B. McGrath, who hit a pivotal layup in the second half of the Jayhawks 73-58 victory over Kansas State on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.

It marked KU's 15th consecutive win in Manhattan. KU is 10-0 at Bramlage Coliseum.

``It's great coming in here, being a Kansas kid and KU kid and getting a win,'' Topeka native McGrath said. ``It's a hard place to play. I think they really want to beat us and get that monkey off their back. Hopefully we can win a few more here, too.''

McGrath split KSU's defense and cashed a layup at 8:14, upping KU's eight-point lead to 57-47. He hit the shot just before the shot clock expired.

``It's our `Go' play,'' McGrath said. ``With 10 seconds left on the (shot) clock, if nothing is happening, I penetrate. Our post players screen for each other. They were both covered. It was wide open for me so I shot it.''

McGrath said that wasn't the pivotal play of the game.

``I thought Raef's three was the game,'' McGrath said of Raef LaFrentz's three-pointer with 2:03 left. It gave KU a 69-58 lead. ``That hurts. If I was guarding him and saw him out there, I'd be relieved. Then he hits it. Raef's the man. He had fire in his eyes. Today, he wanted the ball.''

Fifteen and counting: KU coach Roy Williams tried to downplay KU's win streak in Manhattan during his pre-game speech.

``It's a fantastic feeling for those kids in the locker room. I tried to stress to them we didn't have to win 15 in a row. We had to win one game -- today's game,'' Williams said.

Foul woes: Plagued by foul problems, KU junior Paul Pierce scored 13 points on 3-of-14 shooting. He played 27 minutes.

``The only thing frustrating to me was my shots were not going in,'' Pierce said.

He scored 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting in KU's 69-62 victory over the Wildcats on Jan. 17 at Allen Fieldhouse.

``Sometimes the ball bounces that way,'' Pierce said. ``There must be something about (K-State). I've had my two worst games of the season against them. I don't know what it is.''

He scored four points at Manhattan his freshman year and eight last season. However, he's 3-0 in the Little Apple.

``Just as long as we win,'' he said.

Stopping Dies: KSU forward Manny Dies hit three of 12 shots and scored eight points after potting 26 on Jan. 17 in Lawrence.

``I thought T.J. Pugh did a great job defensively,'' LaFrentz said. ``We have four big guys we put in and rotate on him.''

Williams said stopping Dies was part of the game strategy. What did he notice Dies did to KU in Lawrence?

``Kicked our tails,'' Williams said. ``He got the ball where he wanted to get it. He had his turnaround going. We gave him too much space. We worked on trying to take up some of that space, try not let him get the ball two feet from the basket.''

  • Dollar bills: Kansas State fans mocked KU transfer Lester Earl on Saturday. The students waved fake $6,600 bills, signifying the amount of money Earl allegedly received to attend Louisiana State University out of high school.

  • No more padding: LaFrentz played his first game without a protective pad on his right wrist. LaFrentz missed nine games this season with a broken bone in his right hand. He'd worn the pad the last five games. Late this week, doctors told him the bone was strong, maybe stronger than any bone in his hand, and needed no protection.

  • League title in future: The Jayhawks are running away with the Big 12 regular-season title. KU is 11-1 in the league. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are second at 8-4. A win Monday at Colorado would give KU a share of the conference title, its fourth straight conference crown and seventh in eight years.

  • Davis injured early: K-State guard Duane Davis had one point in seven minutes. He suffered a sprained left ankle early on.

``I grabbed him at the end and said, `Sorry you got hurt,''' Williams said. ``It looked like he got hurt on the jump ball, like he collided with some players and banged knees, something like that. You never like to see a player get hurt.''

Stats, facts: Billy Thomas' three-pointer in the first half was his 90th of the season. Thomas (2-of-5 three-point shooting, 13 points) has hit two or more threes in a game 26 times this season and 70 times in four years. ... Pierce scored in double figures for the 42nd consecutive game. ... Ryan Robertson (three assists, two turnovers) moved into 10th on KU's all-time assists chart. He entered with 324 assists. ... LaFrentz made his eighth three of the season in 13 tries. ... KU swept the regular season series from KSU for the fourth straight year.

-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His email address is bedore

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