Jayhawks Avenge Loss To Arizona

Posted: December 03, 1997

Kansas couldn't erase the memory of last spring, but the Jayhawks did the next best thing. They beat Arizona for a small measure of revenge.

``I feel a lot better with this being Arizona. Last year, they ripped our hearts out. It was a devastating loss. We watched the tape just to scout Arizona and it was difficult,'' Raef LaFrentz said after carrying the second-ranked Jayhawks to a tense, 90-87 victory over No. 4 Arizona last night in the Great Eight in Chicago, which features the final eight teams from last season's NCAA Tournament.

Kansas had been No. 1 for almost all last season when Arizona upset the Jayhawks in the Southeast Regional finals and then went on to win the national championship.

This time, Kansas pulled out to a big lead and then held off a furious comeback in the second half, one that didn't end until Mike Bibby's three-point attempt just before the buzzer veered off the rim.

LaFrentz scored six of his career-high 32 points in the final two minutes and freshman Kenny Gregory rebounded his own miss and hit a layup with five seconds left to preserve the victory in the frenzied atmosphere of the United Center.

LaFrentz hit two free throws with 27 seconds left to give Kansas (7-0) an 88-84 lead. But Jason Terry, who helped lead Arizona's comeback from a 20-point, second-half deficit, hit a three-pointer with 14 seconds left to make it 88-87.

After the Jayhawks got the ball in bounds and down court, Gregory scored for a three-point lead.

Arizona rushed the ball up court and Bibby's long ``three'' misfired.

Paul Pierce, who hurt his right ankle midway through the second half but returned to the game, scored 17 points for Kansas (7-0).

Bibby had 22 points, Michael Dickerson 17 and A.J. Bramlett 15 for Arizona (4-2).

Tonight's doubleheader features Louisville vs. North Carolina and Kentucky vs. Purdue.

CINCY: FORWARD REINSTATED The NCAA restored the eligibility of Cincinnati senior forward Ruben Patterson, but said he must sit out 14 games for accepting illegal benefits. The school will appeal.

AGENT: CUTS TIES John Lounsbury, a sports agent who provided Connecticut players Ricky Moore and Kirk King with airline tickets in violation of NCAA rules, agreed not to be an agent for student-athletes for the next five years.

TENNESSEE: CENTER OUT Tennessee sophomore center Charles Hathaway is being treated at a Knoxville hospital for a blood clot in his shoulder.

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