Indiana Coach Bobby Knight knew he was in trouble early during his team's 83-65 loss to Kansas in Thursday's NCAA Southeast Regional semifinal.
The Jayhawks had roared to a 16-4 lead at the 15:36 mark of the first half, when Knight saw his chance for a reprieve."(Referee John) Clougherty came over and said there was a screw loose in the floor, and I said `I know, let's start over tomorrow,' " Knight said after the game. "That was the best suggestion I had."
A restart was Knight's best chance as the Jayhawks eventually built a 26-6 lead with 12:34 to go in the half behind the three-point shooting of Terry Brown and Sean Tunstall. Indiana could not make it a game after that.
Brown scored 23 points, including 18 in the first half, to lead Kansas, who will now face top-seeded Arkansas in Saturday's regional final at 2:40 p.m. MST. The Razorbacks ran past Alabama 93-70 in the opener Thursday.
Tunstall added 15 points, Alonzo Jamison had 14 and Adonis Jordan chipped in 11 for the Jayhawks.
Indiana, which suffered its worst NCAA Tournament loss ever, ended its season at 29-5. Calbert Cheaney paced the Hoosiers with 23 points, Damon Bailey had 20 and Chris Reynolds added 11.
Kansas Coach Roy Williams agreed that the opening minutes of the game were important.
"In the first half we came out and really got off to a great start," Williams said. "We did play very, very well. We played extremely well, and I think we can do it again."
Kansas, 25-7, ran out to a 49-27 halftime lead. The Hoosiers never put together a serious run in the second half. They closed to within 13 on a Bailey lay-up with 2:33 to play, but that was the closest they got.
The Hoosiers struggled offensively all game, committing 17 turnovers. They went 5:14 without a basket down the stretch. Kansas shot poorly from the field, a 31 of 68 performance, but the team outrebounded Indiana 42-33.
Kansas never faltered after its fast start. Brown scored eight of the Jayhawks' first 10 points, including a pair of three pointers, as Kansas built a 10-2 lead at the 18:15 mark of the first half.
The Jayhawks stayed hot. Adonis Jordan and Brown hit three-point shots and Sean Tunstall added two threes of his own to pace Kansas to its 26-6 lead.
The Jayhawks shot 7 of 13 from three-point range in the first period, while shooting only 13 of 30 for the two-point variety.
Indiana stayed close behind the shooting of Cheaney, who scored 17 points in the first half. His three-point shot cut the lead to 36-25 with 4:15 to go in the half.
Kansas responded with a 13-2 run to close out the half and take a 49-27 lead into intermission.
Arkansas 93, Alabama 70
Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson called his team's 93-70 rout of Alabama in the Southeast Regional Thursday night "basic Hawg Ball".
"It's something we practice every day," he said. "I tell the team, `Give me your best three minutes.' Three minutes, that's what it takes," Richardson said after the Razorbacks moved within a victory in the regional final on Saturday to advancing to the Final Four.
The top-seeded Razorbacks needed less than three minutes early in the second half to turn a 40-37 advantage at intermisison into an easy triumph. With Lee Mayberry scoring 7 of his 15 second-half points in the first 2:40 of the second half, Arkansas ran out to a 46-37 lead and never looked back.
"I knew we had 'em at the break," Richardson said. "It was just basic 'Hawg Ball."'
Todd Day scored 31 points to pace the Razorbacks. Mayberry finished with 16 points and center Oliver Miller added 15.
Arkansas improved to 34-3 and will meet the winner of Thursday's other semifinal between third-seeded Indiana and 12th-seeded Kansas in the regional final on Saturday.
Alabama, seeded fourth in the region, finished at 23-10 and received 21 points from James Robinson and 18 from Robert Horry. Melvin Cheatum added 13 and Latrell Sprewell 10 for the Crimson Tide.
Arkansas connected on 23 of 43 second-half shots, and hit 39 of 85 for the game. Day hit 14 of 24 and Mayberry 6 of 12, including 3 of 7 three-pointers.