Jan. 22, 2005
By DAN GELSTON
AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Undefeated Kansas never stood a chance once Allen Ray, Curtis Sumpter and the rest of the spirited Villanova Wildcats got rolling.
Sumpter sank five 3-pointers and scored 25 points, Ray made four 3s and scored 27 and Villanova led by as many as 32 points in a stunning 83-62 victory over No. 2 Kansas on Saturday.
"We had some tough breaks this season, but guys stuck with it everyday," Sumpter said.
The Wildcat fans - who braved the first snowstorm in Philly this year - chanted "Overrated!" early in this one and counted down the final minutes before storming the 76ers' home court in celebration.
"Villanova today, the Eagles tomorrow!" one fan yelled as he left the court.
Only Illinois, Duke and Boston College remain among the undefeated teams in the Top 25. It was the Jayhawks' worst loss under second-year coach Bill Self and most lopsided defeat since they lost to Wake Forest by 31 points on Dec. 7, 2000.
"It had been coming," Self said. "We've been putting a lot of band aids on our deficiencies."
The Jayhawks (14-1) have hardly played like one of the best teams in the country lately with four of their last five games decided by six or fewer points. They were never really in this one against the up-tempo Wildcats (10-4).
Kansas played fast and loose with the ball with bad decisions and costly turnovers. Self benched his starters for one long stretch in the second half as the game turned into a blowout and the Wildcats pounced on every mistake with one big shot after another.
"Villanova exposed us," Self said.
This was certainly the most important regular-season win in coach Jay Wright's four seasons.
"I know the program's going in the right direction. I know we've got good guys, we've got good guys coming in, it's more for these kids," Wright said.
Villanova had lost its last two games on free throws in the final seconds, but this one was never really close. After holding a modest seven-point lead at halftime, the Wildcats went on a 15-2 run to open the second half, gave up three points, then reeled off 16 straight points.
Sumpter and Ray were nearly unstoppable in the second half, helping the Wildcats to their biggest upset since beating No. 1 Connecticut in 1994.
Sumpter keyed the first big run of the second half with seven points, then Ray took over. Ray scored 11 straight on a jumper, three 3-pointers and three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
"I was kind of feeling it. Coach was going to me," Ray said. "My teammates had confidence in me and they were getting me the ball in the right places."
The Wildcats went 12-for-19 from 3-point range and Sumpter and Ray combined to go 15-for-26 from the floor. The Wildcats shot 51 percent from the floor and were 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.
"We didn't show much poise at all early in the second half, then it got out of kilter," Self said.
Kansas had six turnovers during Villanova's 15-2 run and 22 overall. Wayne Simien scored 15 points and J.R. Giddens and Sasha Kaun each had 11.
In one stretch, the Jayhawks had Jeff Hawkins, Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Nick Bahe and Michael Lee on the floor. Except for Lee, most of those players rarely play.
"(Coach) made it clear as far as if guys didn't cut it out on the court, they're coming out right away," Simien said.
The real surprise was how easily Villanova controlled most of this game.
Villanova took a 14-11 lead on Sumpter's 3-pointer early in the first half and never let the Jayhawks get much momentum after that. Kansas had a minor rally, cutting the deficit to 38-34 shortly after Villanova's Kyle Lowry was ejected for a flagrant foul.
Mike Nardi, who scored 11, drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing right before halftime for a 41-34 lead and give the Wildcats some momentum for the second half. Did they ever take advantage.
"Hopefully, it will be an attention getter," Self said.