No. 3 Kansas Remains Unbeaten
Wednesday, December 19th 2007, 7:33 am
By: News On 6
ATLANTA (AP) _ Bill Self doesn't mind that his third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks' path to an 11-0 record has included some bumps on the road.
The latest evidence came Tuesday night, when the Jayhawks saw their lead shrink from 13 to one with 9 seconds left before pulling out a 71-66 victory over Georgia Tech.
``It's good to win games on the road where you have to grind it out,'' Self said. ``That's not a bad thing.''
Kansas won with defense, including nine blocked shots and eight steals. The last big defensive play, by Sherron Collins, was the most important.
With the lead down to 67-66, Collins made two free throws and then had a steal and a layup.
Georgia Tech's Zack Peacock, looking for Matt Causey, made what Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt called a tentative pass, and Collins was ready to pounce.
``My eyes got big,'' said Collins, who had three steals. ``We take pride in our defense.''
Kansas continues to show exceptional scoring balance.
Russell Robinson had 17 points, becoming the Jayhawks' seventh different leading scorer in 11 games.
``That's who we are,'' Self said. ``We're not going to have guys who are going to make first-team All-America or anything like that because his stats aren't going to be like that.''
In other games involving ranked teams on Tuesday, it was: No. 4 Texas 66, Oral Roberts 56 and No. 8 UCLA 77, Western Illinois 52.
Kansas couldn't put the game away after taking a 61-48 lead with 5:21 left.
``They were one of those teams that just wouldn't go down,'' Collins said of the Yellow Jackets. ``They're a tough team.''
The late drama surprised Self.
``I expected it to be a close game, but I didn't expect it to go down to the wire when we were up 13,'' Self said. ``We certainly hurt ourselves late not being able to put the game away with missed free throws.''
Lewis Clinch matched his career high with 22 points for Georgia Tech (4-5).
``I thought we were going to win the game,'' Hewitt said.
``In my heart and mind, I thought this was our turning-point game. ... I don't take anything away from Kansas, but we did it to ourselves again. You can't blow as many opportunities as we had.
``It's very disappointing when you don't get a shot with 9 seconds to go in a one-possession game,'' Hewitt said.
Kansas was the highest-ranked team from outside the Atlantic Coast Conference to visit Georgia Tech since 1976, a loss to No. 3 Marquette.
No. 4 Texas 66, Oral Roberts 56
D.J. Augustin scored 24 points, including 10 of the Longhorns' last 17, and Texas survived its toughest home game this season. Texas had won nine of its 10 games by 15 or more points _ the close one was 63-61 over then-No. 2 UCLA.
Connor Atchley added 16 points for the Longhorns, who play No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Adam Liberty scored 12 points and Marchello Vealy had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Golden Eagles (6-4).
No. 8 UCLA 77, W. Illinois 52
Kevin Love went 5-for-5 from the field and the free-throw line, hit his only 3-pointer and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bruins (10-1), who won their third straight since their only loss, Dec. 2 to Texas.
Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, Michael Roll and Love all hit 3-pointers in UCLA's game-opening 28-7 run.
David Jackson and Jerryck Owens-Murrey both scored 10 points for the Leathernecks (3-7), who have dropped five of six.