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NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT : Top-Seeded Kansas Upset by Texas El Paso, 66-60 : Midwest: Haskins succeeds with slow-down offense he designed day before.

March 23, 1992|From Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio — A popular college basketball trivia question is, what school won the 1966 NCAA tournament?

UCLA won the previous two and, beginning in 1967, won the next seven.

The only team in between was Texas Western, which upset Kentucky, 72-65, in the 1966 championship game.

The school, which changed its name to Texas El Paso in 1967, pulled off its biggest victory since then, upsetting No. 2-ranked Kansas, 66-60, Sunday during the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Kansas, seeded No. 1 in the Midwest, became the first top-seeded team to be eliminated from the tournament. The Jayhawks finished the season 27-5.

For the first time this season, the ninth-seeded Miners (27-6) used a spread offense, trying to slow down the game and befuddle Coach Roy Williams and his Jayhawks.

The Miners had barely even practiced the new offense.

"The first time all year was yesterday," UTEP Coach Don Haskins said. "(Williams) couldn't have seen it before unless he got a tape of yesterday's practice."

Haskins decided on the spread after watching Kansas rout Howard, 100-67, Friday.

"I think all good teams come from a good coach," said Prince Stewart, UTEP senior guard. "He has confidence in us to let us go out and play."

The players realized it might be their best chance to beat Kansas, an 11 1/2-point favorite.

"We thought it was a great plan," Stewart said. "We started working on it in practice yesterday. We figured holding onto the ball longer would make getting some penetration that much easier. We said, 'Let's get the open shot and let the big guys get into the game.' "

And that's what happened as forwards Johnny Melvin and Marlon Maxey scored 18 and 14 points, respectively, and reserve forward Ralph Davis added 12.

The Miners got only 10 points out of their backcourt.

Even a teary-eyed Williams applauded UTEP's strategy.

"Needless to say, they had a marvelous game plan and had the athletes to utilize that game plan," he said.

UTEP's defense frustrated Kansas, and the offense, running a weave, took up almost the entire 45-second clock before shooting.

"They controlled the tempo," Kansas forward Alonzo Jamison said. "We were missing shots at the offensive end and they were controlling the tempo at the defensive end. We were not as mentally sharp as we should have been and it caught up with us."

Still, Kansas nearly caught UTEP at the end.

Kansas' Richard Scott scored on a rebound basket with 16.3 seconds remaining to cut UTEP's lead to 62-60.

But Melvin made two free throws after being fouled by Scott on the inbounds pass, and Kansas then turned the ball over. Davis made a 15-footer as time expired.

Sunday's victory was the 606th of Haskins 31-year career at UTEP.

The 1966 victory over Kentucky was particularly significant because it marked the first NCAA title for an all-black starting five.

The school has made 10 NCAA tournaments appearance since, but never has advanced beyond the second round.

Haskins said the victory over Kansas ranks up there with the one over Kentucky.

"This is one of the best, Kansas being ranked as high as they were," Haskins said. "We're in the NCAA tournament now. There's a big apple out there and everybody wants it."

Of Kansas, Haskins said: "They're not a team that you can beat every day. I thought Kansas might be the only team to beat Duke. But we'll never know."

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