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Virginia Puts Kansas on Bus Home : Midwest: Jayhawks' 'home-court advantage' is no match for Cavalier defense, 67-58.

March 25, 1995|GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Coach Roy Williams warned everyone that Friday evening's game between the top-seeded Jayhawks and fourth-seeded Virginia would be "ugly."

It was a gruesome sight, all right, especially if you're Williams and the mostly Jayhawk crowd that had to look at a Kemper Arena scoreboard that read Virginia 67, Kansas 58.

So much for home-court advantage and accusations of this being "the Kansas Invitational," a reference to the NCAA men's selection committee's decision to stick the Jayhawks only 41 miles from home. Either the Cavaliers forgot to consult their Rand McNally, or they simply didn't care.

"It certainly wasn't a thing of beauty," Virginia Coach Jeff Jones said. "Anybody who had taken a good, clear look at these two teams should have anticipated a very tough physical contest. And that's what it was."

The Cavaliers (25-8) managed to ignore all sorts of Kansas advantages. The Jayhawks had more size on the frontcourt, a little more experience in the backcourt, more fans in the seats. What they didn't have was an answer for Virginia's defense, which held Kansas (25-6) to its lowest point total, field-goal shooting (33.9% on 21 of 62) and three-point shooting (9.5% on two of 21). And to complete the collapse, the Jayhawks were a dreadful 14 of 27 from the free-throw line (51.9%).

The Cavaliers weren't a whole lot better, but didn't have to be. They shot 36.5% from the field, as their defense made up for it.

"We didn't shoot the ball well," a teary-eyed Williams said. "I don't think you need to be a nuclear physicist to figure that out. But I thought if we could just hang in there, hang in there, we could win in the last couple of minutes of the game."

Instead, Virginia turned back every Kansas challenge. In the process, the Cavaliers advanced to a regional final for the first time since 1989. They will play Arkansas in Sunday's game.

Kansas trailed at halftime, 31-28, mostly because the Jayhawks couldn't hit three-pointers (zero of eight), couldn't make free throws (four of 10) and couldn't stop Virginia's backcourt of Curtis Staples and Harold Deane (a combined nine of 17 for 22 points).

Deane finished with 22 points, Staples with 18 and power forward Junior Burrough with 18.

Kansas was led by guard Jacque Vaughn, who scored 13 points. Only one other Jayhawk starter, freshman forward Raef LaFrenz, scored in double figures, getting 10 points.

With the loss, Kansas' string of tournament successes at Kemper comes to a somewhat surprising end. The Jayhawks won the regional here in 1986 and again in 1988, the same season they won a national championship. Four games at Kemper, four victories.

Virginia wasn't impressed, but the Cavaliers were thankful for Kansas' many clunkers.

"I think we're smart enough to know we benefited from an off day of shooting on (Kansas') part," Jones said.

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