Kansas Slugs Raiders 90-50

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--<b>Bob Knight</b> didn't offer a complicated explanation for his worst defeat in four years. <p> <br>

"It was very simple," he said. "We were beaten by a much better team. We were tired from the beginning."


Drew Gooden had 16 points and 21 rebounds, and freshman Aaron Miles had 15 assists as No. 1 Kansas dominated from the start and beat Knight's resurgent Tech 90-50 in the semifinals of the Big 12 tourney Saturday.


Gooden's rebounds and Miles' assists were tournament records.


It was the biggest margin of defeat for a Knight-coached team since Indiana lost to Michigan 112-64 in February 1998.


"We could have let down," said Gooden, who by halftime already had his 21st double-double of the season. "But I've never won a tournament championship here and I want to win it all."


The Jayhawks (29-2) were up 83-35 with about 7 minutes left-their biggest lead-when coach Roy Williams pulled most of his starters.


Kansas has won 15 straight games.


"Needless to say, we played very well," said Williams. "This was Tech's third game in the past three days and I think the fatigue factor just caught up with them. We were still pretty fresh, and everything turned positive for us, and everything turned negative for them."


Tech (23-8) made only 19 of 70 shots. Andre Emmett and Andy Ellis-the Raiders' leading scorers throughout this turnaround season-were a combined 0-of-15 from the field and both went scoreless.


Typical of the Jayhawks' dominance was a play midway through the second half. Gooden rebounded a Tech miss and dished off to Miles, who threw a nearly full-court pass to Nick Collison, who dunked for a 75-30 lead.


A moment later, Kansas' Kirk Hinrich hit an uncontested 3-pointer.


The Jayhawks, the nation's highest-scoring team, seized a 25-9 lead by hitting 11 of their first 14 shots.


"You've really got to work and work against Kansas," Knight said. "You become concerned about stopping their break. Then you're concerned about stopping the post scoring, and you forget about the emphasis you have to put on movement to get open. They're the best team we've faced this year."


Nothing Knight's team tried seemed to work. Hinrich stole an inbounds pass under Kansas' basket and made a nifty bounce pass to Wayne Simien for an uncontested layup and a 27-11 lead.


Then the rout really got started. After Kasib Powell's 12-footer cut the lead to 27-13 with 9:58 left, the Jayhawks went on a 13-0 run and held the Raiders scoreless for almost 5 minutes.


"We knew we had to play almost a perfect game to beat Kansas," Ellis said. "We didn't, and they beat us pretty good."


Tech won a total of nine games last season and had just one conference tournament victory in five years before beating Texas A&M and 14th-ranked Oklahoma State this week.


"I don't think this is at all discouraging for us," said Powell, who had nine points for Tech.


"We just have to put this behind us. It's a big accomplishment, what we've done. A lot of people didn't think we'd come as far as we did. But we proved them wrong."


Even when Tech did something right, it didn't work. At one juncture, Ellis was entirely free under the basket. But he fumbled the ball, and Gooden scooped it off the floor and tossed to Hinrich streaking down court. Fouled on the attempted layup, Hinrich hit both free throws.


A moment later, Simien blocked a Tech shot and Hinrich made one of the Jayhawks' eight 3-pointers.


Hinrich had 17 points for the Jayhawks, while Miles had 15, Collison 14 and Keith Langford 10.


Pawel Storozynski led Tech with 14 points.



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