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Archive for Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Greatest KU games: No. 6

Big second half lifts Roy to first Final Four

Kansas University’s Mark Randall goes up for a basket against Arkansas. Third-seeded KU upset Arkansas on March 23, 1991.

Kansas University’s Mark Randall goes up for a basket against Arkansas. Third-seeded KU upset Arkansas on March 23, 1991.

February 10, 2010

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Editor’s note: This is the fifth story in the Journal-World’s series of the top 10 victories in Kansas University hoops history. Introducing No. 6:

Original story

Read Gary Bedore's original story from the No. 6 game.

Ten greatest games

As the countdown continues, look back at the ten greatest games here:

7 - Jacque's shot shocks Hoosiers

8 - Rallyin' in Allen

9 - Roy's boys run wild vs. 'Cats

10 - Collison hooks 'Horns

1991: March 23, in Charlotte, N.C., after knocking off No. 2 seed Indiana to advance to the Elite 8, Kansas upends top seed Arkansas (and Nolan Richardson's 40 minutes of hell) to advance to Final Four, where Roy Williams would coach against and defeat Dean Smith and KU would eventually lose to Duke in national title game.

1991: March 23, in Charlotte, N.C., after knocking off No. 2 seed Indiana to advance to the Elite 8, Kansas upends top seed Arkansas (and Nolan Richardson's 40 minutes of hell) to advance to Final Four, where Roy Williams would coach against and defeat Dean Smith and KU would eventually lose to Duke in national title game.

1991: March 23, in Charlotte, N.C., after knocking off No. 2 seed Indiana to advance to the Elite 8, Kansas upends top seed Arkansas (and Nolan Richardson's 40 minutes of hell) to advance to Final Four, where Roy Williams would coach against and defeat Dean Smith and KU would eventually lose to Duke in national title game.

1991: March 23, in Charlotte, N.C., after knocking off No. 2 seed Indiana to advance to the Elite 8, Kansas upends top seed Arkansas (and Nolan Richardson's 40 minutes of hell) to advance to Final Four, where Roy Williams would coach against and defeat Dean Smith and KU would eventually lose to Duke in national title game.

Kansas wasn't supposed to be able to hang with Arkansas.

Nolan Richardson's top-seeded Razorbacks were 34-3 and ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll for the majority of the season, behind only the undefeated and defending national champion UNLV Runnin' Rebels, who were responsible for one of Arkansas’ three losses. The Razorbacks’ trademark 40-minutes-of-hell brand of basketball had won them the Southwest Conference regular-season and tournament championships. Arkansas had won 10 games by more than 30 points, with a scoring margin of plus-19 points per game.

Kansas, seeded third, was 25-7 after starting the year 9-4. The Jayhawks had lost both their regular-season finale and their second-round Big Eight tournament games to Nebraska, and were led by third-year coach Roy Williams. Kansas was only 10-7 in games played away from Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Alonzo Jamison, now an assistant basketball coach at Bethel College in North Newton, looked back on the team’s underdog role in that game.

“We didn't have any pressure. That was our theme,” Jamison said. “We were a three seed, and nobody really gave us a chance to do anything. Over the years, especially in the ’80s and ’90s, we had that little moniker where we didn't get a lot of respect. At that time, you know, they just thought Kansas was a flash in the pan.”

Future NBA draft picks started at four positions for the Razorbacks, with Todd Day, Oliver Miller, Lee Mayberry, and Isaiah Morris confusing opponents with their tenacious defense and aggressiveness.

So on March 23, 1991, when Day scorched the Jayhawks for 21 points in the first half in the Elite Eight in Charlotte Coliseum, and Arkansas had hit six three-pointers to cruise to a 47-35 halftime lead, it appeared the underdog Jayhawks were on their way out of the tournament.

“Coach rallied the troops at halftime and just said, ‘Hey, just do what I ask you to do and things will work out.’ And they did. (Charlotte Coliseum) was rocking just because it was a regional and a lot of people like to see the underdog win that type of game. It was fun, and I really think that the faithful there really wanted to see Arkansas get knocked off.”

Kansas outscored the Razorbacks 58-34 in the second half behind the stellar performance of Jamison, its 6-foot-6 junior forward. The Jayhawks jumped out quickly to open the second half, scoring eight straight to cut the lead to 47-43, including Jamison's second career three-pointer to cap the rally. Day’s 21 first-half points inspired Williams to change his approach.

“We kept fresh bodies on him, and I think that pretty much wore him out, because he wore us out in the first half, and in the second half he really didn't have the legs to finish on his shots,” Jamison said.

Day finished the second half with only five points, and Jamison could sense that the school's ninth Final Four was on the horizon when the clock wound down on a 93-81 KU victory.

“It was about six or seven seconds left, time was running down right then and there, and that's when I knew, it clicked in my brain that we were going to Indy,” he said. “That moment will never leave me for the rest of my life.”

Just two years removed from a post-season ban and three years from a national championship dubbed a miracle and facing a No. 1 seed, KU signaled it was ready to establish itself as a national power.

“Coach said, ‘Just believe in what I'm saying.’ And we believed in each other also,” Jamison said. “You can't make that type of a run in the NCAA Tournament without having faith in your teammates.”

Comments

Jock Navels 4 years, 2 months ago

yeah...see, we need Bill Mayer for this...The University of Kansas established itself as a national power in the 1920s. In this same article it is mentioned this was the 9th final four. That's not established?

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cato_the_elder 4 years, 2 months ago

To the author: "KU signaled it was ready to establish itself as a national power." "Re-establish," please. No reporter with even a modicum of appreciation for the history and tradition that is KU basketball - decades prior to the time that Williams showed up here, I might add - would ever have written what you did. Please visit the Booth Hall of Athletics on the east side of the Fieldhouse and then see Bill Mayer for a refresher course before attempting your next article.

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