Kansas strikes back against Illinois with 73-69 semifinal win

Jayhawks' memories of loss help spur big effort

Midwest Regional

March 23, 2002|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

MADISON, Wis. - Revenge was sweet in the Sweet 16 for Kansas last night, even if it did take the Jayhawks a year to find it.

A year after being knocked out by top seed Illinois as the fourth seed in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional in San Antonio, top-seeded Kansas returned the disfavor to the fourth-seeded Fighting Illini last night at the Kohl Center with a thrilling, 73-69 victory.

A pair of free throws by freshman swingman Keith Langford with 2.8 seconds left secured the win, sending Kansas (32-3) to its first regional final since its loss to Syracuse in Denver six years ago. Langford and Drew Gooden each scored 15 points to lead the Jayhawks, while Frank Williams scored 15 for Illinois (26-9).

Trailing by 10 with a little more than five minutes left, Illinois cut its deficit to 69-66 with 2:36 to play. Kansas called time and foul-plagued Nick Collison then hit a layup. Again, the Illini came back, with center Robert Archibald tipping in a missed three-pointer by Sean Harrington.

Collison missed a short jumper for Kansas, and forward Brian Cook's three rimmed out. But Archibald, who was on the boards all night for the Illini, got the rebound and was fouled by Collison, his fifth, with 1:15 left. Archibald hit one of two free throws to cut Kansas' lead to 71-69.

Kirk Hinrich's shot was blocked, and senior guard Jeff Boschee had to rush a three that missed. Archibald got the rebound and Illinois called time with 37.1 seconds left. Cook missed badly on a three after Williams was stopped going down the lane, and the rebound was tipped to Gooden. He gave the ball to Boschee, who was fouled.

Boschee, the team's best free throw shooter and senior co-captain, missed the first shot in a one-and-one, giving the Illini another chance. But after Harrington passed up a three, Williams got the ball in the corner and missed. Langford was then fouled with 2.8 seconds left.

The Jayhawks led at halftime, 40-34, but had two key players in foul trouble. Hinrich, the team's emotional leader, picked up three fouls in the first eight minutes and his fourth with 15:36 left in the game. Collison was scoreless in the first half while collecting three fouls.

Illinois tied the game briefly at 45 on a layup by Luther Head - Collison had to let him go - and Hinrich came out of the game. But Langford, Hinrich's backup, led Kansas on a 12-6 run that was finished on a three-point play by another freshman reserve, forward Wayne Simien.

Langford made two terrific defensive plays, blocking a shot by Cory Bradford and later making a steal. The Jayhawks couldn't convert until Collison followed his own miss for a 59-53 lead. After a miss by Brian Cook, Langford took a pass from freshman point guard Aaron Miles for a layup and an eight-point lead, 61-53, with 8:31 to go.

The Illini called time, and Cook answered immediately with a short jumper. Miles then got the ball inside to Collison for a layup, but Cook scored again on a baseline jumper. Collison then took it down the lane for a drive. Collison nearly put the game away with a follow, but Illinois hung in there with a layup by Archibald.

A short jump hook by Gooden gave Kansas a 67-59 lead with 5 1/2 minutes left. After a steal by Collison, Langford scored on a slicing drive that gave the Jayhawks a 10-point lead with a little over five minutes left. Archibald made two more free throws and Illinois nearly had a steal, but the jump ball gave it to the Jayhawks.

Gooden narrowly missed inside, and Harrington hit a crucial, stay-in-the-game three for Illinois to cut his team's deficit to 69-64 with 3:31 left. Gooden missed again as the 35-second clock was winding down, and Williams cut the deficit to three with a little under three minutes left.

FG FT Reb

ILLINOIS Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Head 17 1-2 1-2 0-1 6 2 3

Cook 38 6-17 0-0 3-9 2 3 13

Archibald 20 4-4 7-10 5-10 1 5 15

Bradford 35 3-10 0-0 0-2 1 2 9

Williams 37 6-18 0-0 0-5 4 2 15

Johnson 10 0-2 2-4 1-1 2 2 2

Harrington 24 3-5 0-0 0-1 2 1 8

Krupalija 18 1-5 1-2 2-4 1 3 4

Smith 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 24-63 11-18 11-33 19 20 69

Percentages: FG .381, FT .611. 3-point goals: 10-26, .385 (Bradford 3-7, Williams 3-7, Harrington 2-4, Krupalija 1-1, Cook 1-4, Head 0-1, Johnson 0-2). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 3 (Cook 2, Archibald). Turnovers: 10 (Williams 6, Bradford, Cook, Harrington, Krupalija). Steals: 10 (Harrington 2, Head 2, Krupalija 2, Bradford, Cook, Johnson, Williams). Technical fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

KANSAS Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Collison 20 5-12 1-2 4-9 2 5 11

Hinrich 17 1-3 0-0 1-2 1 4 3

Gooden 34 5-14 5-6 2-13 4 0 15

Miles 35 5-11 2-2 2-7 5 2 13

Boschee 37 2-5 0-1 0-0 1 3 6

Ballard 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Langford 27 5-7 5-6 0-3 3 1 15

Carey 6 1-1 1-1 1-1 0 2 3

Simien 23 3-5 1-1 1-6 0 3 7

Totals 200 27-58 15-19 11-41 16 20 73

Percentages: FG .466, FT .789. 3-point goals: 4-13, .308 (Boschee 2-5, Hinrich 1-2, Miles 1-3, Gooden 0-1, Langford 0-2). Team rebounds: 0. Blocked shots: 3 (Gooden 2, Langford). Turnovers: 14 (Hinrich 3, Langford 3, Miles 3, Collison 2, Ballard, Gooden, Simien). Steals: 4 (Boschee, Collison, Langford, Miles). Technical fouls: None.

Illinois 34 35 - 69

Kansas 40 33 - 73

A-16,310. Officials-Mike Kitts, Eddie Corbett, Mike Wood.

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