Saturday , Mar , 11 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Young Jayhawks take on surprising Cornhuskers

(Sports Network) – The 17th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks now find themselves
fighting to get into the championship game of the 10th annual Big 12
Conference Tournament as the meet up with the Nebraska Cornhuskers this
afternoon in the semifinals from the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Kansas, the second seed in this year’s event, has won the crown three times
over the years, but has not turned the trick since 1999, yet took its first
steps towards that goal on Friday with a narrow 63-62 win over Oklahoma

Meanwhile the Cornhuskers, a program that entered this event having won
just two of their previous 11 meetings in the tournament, first defeated
11th-seeded Missouri on Thursday by seven points and then turned around and
upset third-seeded Oklahoma in the quarterfinals yesterday, 69-63,
propelling the sixth-seeded Huskers into uncharted waters. Kansas won the
most recent meeting in February by a score of 69-48 at the Devaney Sport
Center in Lincoln, and leads the all-time series by a commanding 158-71
count. The winner of this game will face off against the winner of the
TexasA&M/Texas battle in the championship on Sunday for the automatic bid
into the NCAA Tournament.

Jamel White was one of four players to score in double figures for the
Cornhuskers on Friday as he tallied 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the
floor and 9-of-10 at the charity stripe in the win over Oklahoma. Jason
Dourisseau recorded a double-double for the group with 10 points and 10
rebounds before fouling out, while both Wes Wilkinson and Marcus Walker both
tallied 10 points as well. The Huskers finished the contest shooting 42.2
percent from the floor and a respectable 35.3 percent from three-point range,
although the Sooners stayed within striking distance thanks to 11-of-24
shooting from three-point range. In order to overcome 13 turnovers, Nebraska
made a big splash at the free-throw line, where it outscored Oklahoma by a
whopping 25-6.

Posting its final field goal of the game with more than three and a half
minutes to play in regulation, the Jayhawks still figured out a way to hang in
and beat the Cowboys by a point on Friday. The team’s nine-point lead at the
break was erased in the second half when OSU actually claimed a one-point
advantage. Kansas knocked down 17-of-28 chances at the charity stripe in the
frame to pull out the miracle win. Sasha Kaun responded with 16 points, five
rebounds and three blocks in the win, while Mario Chalmers chalked up 15
points thanks in part to a perfect 6-of-6 effort at the free-throw line.
Kansas ended up outscoring OSU at the stripe, 18-6, because the Jayhawks were
constantly forcing the action, which also led to 18 turnovers as well.
Defensively, KU held the opposition to 38.3 percent shooting from the floor
and forced 22 miscues, which helped combat just 1-of-9 shooting from three-
point range for the Jayhawks.