March 23, 1996 in Sports

Kansas Fends Off Arizona, Gets Syracuse In West Final

Los Angeles Times
 

For nearly the entire second half, Kansas senior Jerod Haase was a non-factor as he watched the Jayhawks and Arizona take turns with one emotional rally after another.

But in crunch time, Haase made two plays that counted the most - including a 3-point basket with 34 seconds remaining - to lead Kansas to an 83-80 victory Friday night in a West Regional semifinal at McNichols Arena. Kansas plays Syracuse on Sunday.

In a game that featured intense defense, big-time effort from unexpected players on both teams and momentum switches all night, it was only fitting that the team with the last rally won.

Kansas (29-4) can thank Haase for its final comeback. With Arizona ahead, 79-78, with less than a minute remaining, Haase ran down a long defensive rebound, then took a pass from point guard Jacque Vaughn in the corner and made his only basket of the second half.

“I really was relaxed on my final shot,” said Haase, who finished with 16 points after scoring 13 in the first half. “We ran a high screen-and-roll with Jacque and Scot (Pollard). I got the ball in the corner and I knew that it felt good when I let it go.”

Arizona had a chance to tie, but Ben Davis’ jumper in the lane fell short and, after a rebound by Kansas freshman Paul Pierce, Vaughn sealed the game with two free throws with 9.1 seconds left.

“This was a game that both teams deserved to win,” said Arizona (26-7) coach Lute Olson.

Arizona raced to an early 13-point lead behind 13 first-half points by Miles Simon. Running on nearly every possession, the Wildcats had Kansas reeling before the Jayhawks mounted a comeback behind unheralded junior B.J. Williams.

Williams, whose high game this season was 10 points against Colorado in the first round of the Big Eight tourney, had eight points in 14 key first-half minutes as he helped Kansas take a 41-39 lead at halftime.

“B.J.’s play was the key to the game because he really hit the boards hard and scored points when we needed to have them,” forward Raef LaFrentz said. “He stepped up for us in a big way.”

Kansas kept its momentum to start the second half as the Jayhawks opened a 72-60 lead with less than 7 minutes to play. Then, it was Arizona’s turn to rally as Michael Dickerson scored 10 points in a 17-2 run that saw the Wildcats take a 77-74 lead with 1:55 remaining.

After Williams made two free throws for Kansas and Simon followed with two of his own, the Jayhawks cut Arizona’s lead to 79-78 on two free throws by Pollard with 1:08 remaining.

On the Wildcats’ next possession, Dickerson missed an open 3-pointer that was run down by Haase to set up the game’s finish.

“I told the kids at the 2-minute mark to have faith,” Kansas coach Roy Williams said. “We implored them, pleaded with them, begged, to just have faith and that it will work out if you do what you are supposed to.”

Kansas 83, Arizona 80

Arizona (26-7) - McLean 2-4 1-2 7, C.Williams 7-13 0-0 16, Davis 3-8 4-4 10, Simon 6-15 7-8 21, Geary 1-4 0-0 2, Dickerson 6-14 6-7 21, Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Bramlett 0-0 0-0 0, Terry 1-2 1-1 3, Eaton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 19-22 80.

Kansas (29-4) - Pierce 6-11 4-4 20, Lafrentz 0-4 1-2 1, Pollard 2-4 3-4 7, Vaughn 4-10 5-7 13, Haase 4-13 4-4 16, B.Williams 8-12 2-2 18, Pearson 0-1 0-0 0, Pugh 1-4 0-0 2, Robertson 2-3 0-0 6, Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, Rayford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-64 19-23 83.

Halftime-Kansas 41, Arizona 39. 3-Point goals-Arizona 9-22 (Dickerson 3-8, McLean 2-3, C.Williams 2-4, Simon 2-4, Geary 0-3), Kansas 10-26 (Pierce 4-6, Haase 4-11, Robertson 2-2, Pearson 0-1, Pugh 0-1, Thomas 0-2, Vaughn 0-3). Fouled out- None. Rebounds-Arizona 31 (Dickerson 7), Kansas 44 (Haase 10). Assists-Arizona 17 (Geary 8), Kansas 22 (Vaughn 11). Total fouls-Arizona 19, Kansas 22. A-17,074.

Syracuse 83, Georgia 81 (OT)

John Wallace hit a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left, lifting the Orangemen to a wild win over the Bulldogs in the other West Regional semifinal.

Wallace’s leaning game-winner came just after Pertha Robinson’s 3 had given the Bulldogs the lead with 7.1 seconds remaining.

“I’ve taken that shot a thousand times over the summer,” Wallace said. “That’s a shot you have to make. I felt I had a good look at the basket.”

Wallace’s shot left Georgia stunned.

“It just hurts, man, it just hurts,” said Georgia forward Carlos Strong, who sat in a corner of the locker room, rocking back and forth in a chair.

“(Wallace) is about to be a millionaire, man,” said Georgia’s Steve Jones, who along with Robinson was defending Wallace on his game-winner. “Some guys have all the luck.”

Wallace, playing the final 17 minutes with four fouls, scored Syracuse’s last 10 points in OT. His two free throws made it 75-75 with 2:06 left. Then he had a three-point play with 1:07 to go, a layup with 14.8 seconds left and, finally, the clincher from the top of the key.

The second-team AP All-American finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said he “just took a gamble bringing (Wallace) back in (with 12:12 left in regulation). We had to get back into it. At the end, we went to John every time. They couldn’t play him with the little guys in there.”

Georgia center Terrell Bell and forward Carlos Strong had fouled out by then. Shandon Anderson led Georgia with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

“You’ve got to hand it to John Wallace - he’s a good one,” Georgia coach Tubby Smith said. “And Otis Hill, too. That was what we were afraid of - their inside game - and they hurt us there.”

Robinson hit a 15-footer on Georgia’s third shot at the basket with 3.5 seconds left in regulation, apparently giving the Bulldogs a win. But Jason Cipolla, taking a long inbounds pass from Wallace, made a 10-foot fallaway from the left baseline at the buzzer to force overtime at 70-70.

Georgia (21-10) - Strong 1-8 2-4 4, Anderson 7-18 8-9 22, Bell 1-1 1-2 3, Robinson 6-12 2-3 19, Davis 7-16 3-4 21, Harrison 2-7 0-0 4, Smith 0-4 0-1 0, Jones 2-8 0-1 4, Chadwick 0-0 2-2 2, Nordin 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 1-3 0-2 2. Totals 27-77 18-28 81.

Syracuse (27-8) - Burgan 2-5 3-9 7, Wallace 10-18 9-12 30, Hill 8-10 3-5 19, Sims 3-7 2-2 10, Cipolla 7-13 1-2 17, Reafsnyder 0-3 0-0 0, Janulis 0-1 0-0 0, Lazor 0-1 0-0 0, Ovcina 0-0 0-0 0, McNabb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-58 18-30 83.

Halftime-Syracuse 37, Georgia 30. End of Regulation- Georgia70, Syracuse 70. 3-Point goals-Georgia 9-27 (Robinson 5-9, Davis 4-9, Strong 0-1, Anderson 0-2, Harrison 0-2, Smith 0-4), Syracuse 5-17 (Sims 2-5, Cipolla 2-6, Wallace 1-4, Burgan 0-2). Fouled out-Strong, Bell, Hill. Rebounds-Georgia 45 (Anderson 13), Syracuse 47 (Wallace 15). Assists-Georgia 16 (Davis 6), Syracuse 18 (Sims 10). Total fouls-Georgia 21, Syracuse 22.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email