Missouri 69

(16-13, 9-7 Big 12)

(18) Kansas 94

(21-7, 12-4 Big 12)

    9:20 PM ET, March 12, 2004

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

    1 2 T
    MIZZ 33 3669
    #18KU 35 5994

    Will loss send Tigers to NIT?

    DALLAS (AP) -- Wayne Simien just keeps carrying the Kansas Jayhawks.

    Simien had 31 points and 11 rebounds, and the No. 18 Jayhawks beat Missouri 94-69 in the Big 12 quarterfinals Friday night.

    "Wayne's elevated his game to a high level," Kansas coach Bill Self. "Guys are feeding off him and playing better. Hopefully, we're peaking at the right time."

    Simien made 12 of 14 shots while scoring the most points by a Kansas player in the Big 12 tournament. He went over 20 points for the eighth time in 10 games.

    The Jayhawks (21-7), who spent some time as the No. 1 team earlier this season, won for the sixth time in seven games. They handed Missouri (16-13) its second stinging loss in less than a week.

    Simien had 17 points in the first half, when Kansas overcame a 12-point deficit and took the lead by halftime. He then scored eight points in a 15-0 second-half run that turned the game into a rout.

    "The last 30 minutes were about as well as we've played all season," Self said. "We felt pretty good at the half, even though we were tired. We got energized when we got on a roll, and that was about as good as we looked offensively all year."

    Kansas plays Saturday against No. 11 Texas (22-6), which beat three-time defending tournament champion Oklahoma 66-63 in another quarterfinal game.

    The Jayhawks are in the Big 12 semifinals for the seventh time in eight years. But they don't have a tournament title since winning the first three from 1997-99.

    After their third loss to Kansas this season, the Tigers are likely to miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years. Five days earlier, the Jayhawks won 84-82 in Missouri's final home game at the Hearns Center.

    `There's no shame playing in the NIT," Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. "I don't want to end the season like this. I'll play anywhere we can."

    J.R. Giddens added 15 points. Jeff Graves had 14 points, and Keith Langford had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

    Arthur Johnson led Missouri with 26 points, most coming on inside baskets or free throws.

    The Tigers had hoped another strong showing in the conference tournament could get them in the NCAA again. Last year, they won three games in three days, including a 68-63 semifinal win over Kansas for their 21st win.

    They built a 24-12 lead in the first half Friday, but couldn't maintain that strong start. By the middle of the second half, Kansas fans jeered the Tigers with the chant "N-I-T! N-I-T!"

    "It was a helpless feeling," said Ricky Paulding said, who had just nine points. "We started out so well. In the second half, they really had it going. They seemed to make every shot."

    Kansas swept three games from Missouri in the same season for the firs time since 1977-78.

    "It's pretty satisfying, but our main focus is winning the tournament outright," Giddens said.

    Simien's 17 first-half points included four straight baskets in a 10-2 run that tied the game.

    The spurt started when Aaron Miles grabbed a long rebound, managed to control the ball while spinning over Jason Conley's back and then drove for a layup that got the Jayhawks within 29-23 with 6:52 left.

    Simien then scored inside on consecutive possessions, both after passes from David Padgett at the top of the key. His short jumper with 3:14 tied the game for the first time, at 31.

    "They came out with a lot of energy because they were fighting for something," Simien said. "We were fighting for something as well. We picked up our energy and took it home."

    After just one turnover the first 15 minutes, Missouri made three in a two-minute span while Kansas rallied.

    Langford's basket with 1:42 left gave the Jayhawks their first lead, 33-31. After Johnson's short turnaround, for his 15th point of the first half, Simien hit a short jumper for a 35-33 halftime lead.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2003-04 Season

    Feb 2, 2004 @KU 65, MIZZ 56Recap
    Mar 7, 2004 KU 84, @MIZZ 82Recap
    » Mar 12, 2004 @KU 94, MIZZ 69Recap