Jan. 1, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Keith Langford’s twisting shot with 3 seconds left in overtime capped a comeback from a 16-point deficit and lifted second-ranked Kansas to a 70-68 victory over No. 9 Georgia Tech on Saturday.
It was a physical, fast-paced rematch of a regional final in the 2004 NCAA tournament – the Yellow Jackets won that one in overtime en route to the national championship game.
This time, Kansas (9-0) shot poorly in the first half, fell behind by double digits early, and did not take its first lead until the extra period. Langford had a hand in that, too, stealing the ball to set up Alex Galindo’s basket that gave the hosts a 66-65 edge with 1:38 left in OT.
Then, with the capacity crowd at Allen Fieldhouse screaming, Langford put a spin move on defender Mario West and launched the game-winner.
Langford, who had only two points by halftime, led the Jayhawks with 18, while J.R. Giddens had 16 and Aaron Miles finished with 14 in his 116th straight start at point guard. Miles had eight assists, giving him 808 for his career to break the school record of 804 set by Jacque Vaughn in 1993-97.
The Jayhawks were without injured power forward Wayne Simien, their leading scorer (17.4-point average) and rebounder (12 average). It was Kansas’ second game since he was sidelined for at least a month with a thumb injury.
Georgia Tech guard B.J. Elder, pacing the Yellow Jackets with more than 15 points a game despite a recent shooting slump, went to the bench midway through the first half with what appeared to be a leg problem. He did not return.
Jarrett Jack led the way for Georgia Tech (9-2) with 26 points.
Georgia Tech, which beat Kansas 79-71 in the NCAAs but lost to Connecticut in the final, went up quickly in overtime Saturday on Anthony Morrow’s bucket. With 2:42 left, Isma’il Muhammad hit a 5-footer in the lane for a 65-61 lead.
Galindo, who helped lead Kansas’ second-half comeback, answered with a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 65-64.
A moment later, Langford’s bucket made it 68-67, then Muhammad’s free throw with 27 seconds to play tied it at 68.
After trimming the deficit to seven points at halftime, Kansas got it down to one point three times. But Luke Schenscher answered with two free throws the first time and Jack came down and scored twice to keep Kansas at bay.
Finally, with 1:15 left in regulation, Langford bounced in a 3-pointer that knotted it 61-61.
The Jayhawks hit only five of their first 19 shots and trailed 31-15 when Miles missed a layup and Muhammad drove in for a crowd-silencing dunk.
But then Miles and J.R. Giddens hit consecutive 3-pointers, and the Jayhawks shaved the lead to 34-27 when Miles went to the line with 2 seconds left in the half. That was the first free throw for any Kansas player.
AP Sports Writer