Lee carries Kansas over Pacific, 78-63

Guard scores nine points to fuel key second-half run

Ncaa Regional

St. Louis

March 22, 2004|By Ken Davis | Ken Davis,HARTFORD COURANT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Before taking the floor at Kemper Arena yesterday afternoon, Kansas guard Michael Lee wrote a one-word reminder to himself on both sneakers.

Confidence.

If Lee ever loses his confidence again, he may think back to this second-round NCAA tournament game, when he scored nine consecutive Kansas points to help the No. 4 seed Jayhawks to a 78-63 victory over No. 12 seed Pacific before a sellout crowd of 17,667.

Kansas (23-8) was clinging to a 53-51 lead over Pacific (25-8) midway through the second half when Lee went to work. He came off the bench to score those nine points in a span of 2:18. A three-pointer with 8:58 left gave the Jayhawks a 58-53 lead and may have been the biggest shot of the game. Lee also went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, the last two increasing the lead to 62-55 with 7:57 left.

"I think a lot of times when I haven't been playing my best this year, it's because my confidence is down," Lee said. "The other day in the hotel I just happened to run into John Lucas Sr. He stopped, pulled me aside and said, `You look a little jittery out there. Play with confidence.' And I told him I was going to write that on my shoes."

Lucas, the father of Oklahoma State guard John Lucas, may regret that advice if the Jayhawks and Cowboys meet at the Final Four in San Antonio. For now, Kansas is headed to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season and the 23rd time in school history. The Jayhawks are headed to the St. Louis Regional to play No. 9 seed Alabama-Birmingham, a 76-75 winner over Kentucky.

With top-seeded Kentucky and No. 2 Gonzaga both losing in the second round, Kansas coach Bill Self understands expectations are suddenly raised for a third consecutive trip to the Final Four.

The Jayhawks, who have won six of their past seven, may be hitting their stride at the right time. Wayne Simien, playing with an aggravated groin injury, scored 18 points, had 12 rebounds and a season-high five steals. Keith Langford (16 points), J.R. Giddens (13) and Jeff Graves (12) gave Kansas a balanced attack and the Jayhawks scored 18 points off 14 Pacific turnovers.

Pacific defeated Providence in the first round and was on a 16-game winning streak. Center Guillaume Yango scored 22 points on 9 of 13 shots, but the Tigers never fully recovered from going 7:53 without a field goal in the first half.

The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

PACIFIC-Mihailovic 0-0 0-2 0, Bowden 0-1 0-1 0, Davis 3-10 2-2 10, Purnell 1-1 0-0 3, Maraker 2-6 0-0 4, Cockle 4-9 0-0 10, Doubley 3-10 2-2 9, Rose 0-0 0-0 0, Flores 0-0 0-0 0, Kemper 0-0 0-0 0, Yango 9-13 4-4 22, Newton 1-3 3-4 5, White 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 11-15 63.

KANSAS-Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0, Wilkes 0-0 0-0 0, Langford 7-15 1-3 16, Case 0-1 0-0 0, Miles 1-6 0-0 3, Giddens 5-6 1-2 13, Bahe 0-0 0-0 0, Simien 6-13 6-8 18, Lee 1-3 6-6 9, Nash 0-0 0-0 0, Graves 6-11 0-0 12, Padgett 3-5 1-2 7, Niang 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-60 15-21 78.

Half: Kansas 36-32. 3-point goals-Pacific 6-20 (Davis 2-5, Cockle 2-6, Purnell 1-1, Doubley 1-5, Newton 0-1, Maraker 0-2), Kansas 5-15 (Giddens 2-3, Langford 1-3, Lee 1-3, Miles 1-4, Case 0-1, Simien 0-1). Fouled out-Maraker. Rebounds-Pacific 27 (Yango 6), Kansas 40 (Simien 12). Assists-Pacific 19 (Cockle 6), Kansas 17 (Miles 9). Total fouls-Pacific 18, Kansas 15. A-17,667.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.