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14th-Seeded Bucknell Startles No. 3 Jayhawks

Bucknell 64, Kansas 63

By Jaime Aron
Associated Press
Saturday, March 19, 2005; Page D01

OKLAHOMA CITY, March 18 -- In their 110th season, the Bucknell Bison finally won their first NCAA tournament game. And, wow, what a victory it was.

Chris McNaughton banked in a hook shot over Wayne Simien with 10 seconds left, then Simien missed an open 15-foot jumper at the buzzer, giving the 14th-seeded Bison a stunning 64-63 victory over third-seeded Kansas on Friday night to shake up the Syracuse Region.


Bucknell players celebrate their victory over the Jayhawks, who lost in the NCAA's opening round for the first time since falling to UCLA in 1978. (Jeff Mitchell -- Reuters)

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"It came off the backboard and rimmed in somehow -- I don't even know how, but I don't care," McNaughton said.

Bucknell (23-9) began playing basketball in 1896, joining Yale and Minnesota as the nation's oldest Division I programs. But the only other times the Bison even made the NCAA field were 1987, when they lost by 22 to Georgetown, and '89, when they lost by 23 to Syracuse.

Now they're the first No. 14 seed to win since Weber State beat North Carolina in 1999, and they ended the title hopes of Kansas, the preseason No. 1. This also is the first tournament win by a team from the Patriot League, and they'll go for another Sunday against sixth-seeded Wisconsin (23-8), which beat Northern Iowa 57-52.

"Certainly it's the biggest win we've ever had," said Coach Pat Flannery, a 1980 Bucknell grad. "Our kids battled their big kids all night long. Our kids made them work for everything they got."

The Jayhawks (23-7) ended a streak of getting to the second round 15 straight years and their last 21 tries. Although they had their share of scares along the way, including one by Utah State in Oklahoma City two years ago, this was their first opening-round exit since being eliminated by UCLA in 1978.

Bucknell celebrated wildly at mid-court -- as you'd expect from a program that once had Jim Valvano as its coach -- while Simien walked straight to the locker room, his college career over.

The scene in the stands was similar. Blue-clad Jayhawks fans were stunned, while the small section of orange-clad Bison fans and the thousands of bandwagon jumpers they picked up over the last few hours all cheered wildly. The underdog factor was best exhibited with 1:04 left when a chant of "Here we go, Bison, here we go!" was so contagious that even Wisconsin players were among those clapping and screaming along.

WISCONSIN 57, NORTHERN IOWA 52: Luckily, Kammron Taylor found his range before Northern Iowa did. Taylor scored 16 points in a reserve role, including a jumper and four free throws in the final minute.

The Panthers, who had a chance to tie eventual Final Four participant Georgia Tech on their final possession in the first round of last year's tournament, rallied from an early 16-point deficit before having another upset bid fall short.

Sharif Chambliss hit a season-high five three-pointers and had 15 points for Wisconsin, which didn't get its usual output from leading scorers Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson. Tucker, who'd been averaging 14.9 points, scored only six and Wilkinson, who'd been averaging 14.3 points, had seven.

The Panthers (21-11) cut into Wisconsin's 12-point lead with a run of eight straight points midway through the second half. Ben Jacobson hit a jumper from the left baseline, another from beyond the free throw line and added a free throw before Erik Crawford completed a three-point play with 9:39 left to cut the lead to 40-36. Taylor hit a three-pointer and Chambliss hit two to keep the Badgers out front, but Jacobson responded with a falling jumper and a three-pointer.


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