Cinderella UAB routed by Kansas
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) – Wayne Simien scored 30 points and J.R.
Giddens added 18, as the Kansas Jayhawks put an end to UAB’s Cinderella NCAA
Tournament run with a convincing 100-74 victory over the Blazers in a St.
Louis bracket regional semifinal.
The fourth-seeded Jayhawks (24-8), who were making their fourth straight
appearance in the Sweet 16, never trailed after 3-1 and advanced to play
either Georgia Tech or Nevada in the regional final.
To do that, Kansas needed to beat UAB coach Mike Anderson’s borrowed “40
Minutes of Hell” defense, which had helped the ninth-seeded Blazers (22-10)
earn a 76-75 upset of top-ranked Kentucky last Sunday.
But in this one, the vaunted defensive strategy invented by former Arkansas
head coach and Anderson mentor Nolan Richardson came up lame. Kansas shot 54
percent in the game, 10 percentage points higher than Kentucky managed on
“I thought the coaches did a great job preparing us,” Simien said, referring
to the Jayhawks’ practicing against seven or eight defenders to get ready for
the UAB pressure.
Kansas, a runner-up to national champion Syracuse last year, shot 61 percent
from the field in the first half on its way to a 56-41 lead at the break.
Simien scored 19 of his points in the first half for the Jayhawks, whose only
deficit was 1-0 after a UAB free throw. Keith Langford’s three-pointer made it
a 3-1 game, and the up-tempo Kansas offense coasted most of the way to the
“It was fun out there, getting up and down,” Simien said. “We’re not
accustomed to that style.”
The Blazers kept it close for the first four minutes of play until Jeff
Graves’ three-point play around the 15:00 mark made it a 10-point Kansas lead.
The Jayhawks went ahead by 14 moments later after David Padgett scored to make
it 22-8, and their lead only dipped into single digits three times after that.
Kansas, which held the Blazers to just 34 percent shooting in their worst
first half of the season, led by as many as 17 points before the break, also
dominating the boards with a 22-15 advantage.
The Blazers allowed a season-high in points for an opponent in the first half,
also suffering their worst first-half deficit of the season. It didn’t get
better in the second half, as UAB never got closer than its halftime deficit.
The Blazers shot just 32 percent in the game. They were led by 13 points from
Morris Finley, 11 points from Tony Johnson, and 10 apiece from Gabe Kennedy,
Demario Eddins and Marques Lewis.
Anderson was ejected by referees with 5:24 remaining in the second half.
The Jayhawks improved to 23-0 when scoring more than 70 points this season.
They are now just one victory away from their third straight appearance in the
Final Four, and 14th overall.
Simien was 18-of-20 at the free throw line. Graves and Aaron Miles scored 13
points apiece for Kansas.