(13) Bradley 77

(21-10, 11-7 MVC)

(4) Kansas 73

(25-8, 14-3 Big 12)

    9:30 PM ET, March 17, 2006

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

    1 2 T
    #13BRAD 37 4077
    #4KU 27 4673

    Top Performers

    Bradley: M. Sommerville 21 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Stl

    Kansas: R. Robinson 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 5 Stl

    Sommerville, Bradley bounce Kansas in first round

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Most of these Kansas kids didn't have much to do with the "Bucknell Bummer." Now they have one to call their own.

    Marcellus Sommerville scored 21 points and made five 3-pointers, and 13th-seeded Bradley handed the fourth-seeded Jayhawks their second straight first-round NCAA Tournament exit with a 77-73 victory Friday night.

    The Braves made 11 3s to pick up their first NCAA Tournament victory in 20 years and advance to play fifth-seeded Pittsburgh in the second round of the Oakland Regional on Sunday.

    Unlike a year ago, when Wayne Simien missed a 15-footer at the buzzer to give 14th-seeded Bucknell an improbable victory, Kansas looked unprepared and overwhelmed from the start in this one.

    The Braves (21-10) led by 14 with 15:38 to go, but let the Jayhawks back in the game with three straight turnovers with around the five minutes left. By the time the inexperienced Jayhawks finally got acclimated to the NCAA Tournament pressure and intensity, however, it was too late.

    Mario Chalmers made a 3-pointer after one of the takeaways, a three-point play after the second and a runner in the lane after the final one that cut Bradley's lead to 65-62 with 3:45 to play.

    But the Jayhawks (25-8) committed three of their 18 turnovers down the stretch, and Jeff Hawkins missed an open 3-pointer in the corner that would have tied it with a minute to play.

    "I'm mad," said Chalmers, one of three freshmen starting for Kansas. "We should've been better prepared for this game. We were nervous and took a while to adjust."

    Will Franklin, who added 14 points, hit two free throws and broke free for a wide open layup, and the Braves sealed the stunner at the free throw line for their first NCAA victory since a win over UTEP in 1986.

    "There's a lot of people smiling tonight," Bradley coach Jim Les said.

    Chalmers scored eight of his 15 points in the final five minutes for Kansas, which has lost in the first round in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.

    As the horn sounded, the thousands of red-clad Bradley faithful who made the trip from Peoria, Ill., chanted "B-U! B-U!" and "M-V-C! M-V-C!" in homage to the maligned Missouri Valley Conference.

    The tournament selection committee was criticized for giving the mid-major conference four bids, the same as the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 10. But with Wichita State's convincing win over Seton Hall on Thursday, the little guys went 2-2 in the first round.

    "People always say the Big 12 is better, but I think we showed that the MVC can hang with the big boys," said Bradley's 7-foot center Patrick O'Bryant, who had eight points and 10 rebounds.

    Things looked ominous from the start for the Jayhawks. They turned the ball over seven times in the first six minutes and fell behind 24-17.

    The Jayhawks chipped away at the lead from the free-throw line, eventually taking a 27-26 lead with 4:12 to go in the opening half.

    That would be their last lead of the game.

    The resilient Braves responded by closing the half on an 11-0 run. When Franklin's 30-foot heave at the buzzer banked in for a 37-27 halftime lead, there was a feeling in the air that 14th-seeded Northwestern State's buzzer-beating thriller over third-seeded Iowa wouldn't be the only upset at The Palace on Friday.

    Sommerville seemingly had an answer for everything Kansas came with, and he scored five straight points after Kansas pulled within seven.

    "The last three to four weeks of the season, he has put us on his back, and our team rallies around him," Les said.

    The Jayhawks played like they've never been here before, and most of them haven't. With three freshmen and two sophomores in the starting lineup, the Jayhawks had played beyond their years in winning 15 of 16 games and the Big 12 tournament championship.

    But on the biggest stage, the Kansas kids did what kids often do -- they forced things, tried to do too much and turned the ball over.

    "This is a situation that we've never been in before, starting freshmen and sophomores, and we're going to learn from it," said coach Bill Self, who fell to 3-3 in the NCAA Tournament at Kansas. "We'll get better."

    Russell Robinson scored 18 points for Kansas, but all too often came up empty on wild drives to the basket. Brandon Rush, the Big 12 freshman of the year, scored just nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.

    "There's no excuse for what happened," said Julian Wright, another Kansas freshman. "As a team, our focus just wasn't there."

    The victory punctuated a remarkable turnaround for Bradley, which started the conference season at 2-4, but rallied with seven victories in its last eight games to earn its first NCAA bid since 1996.

    "The locker room was pretty subdued and business as usual," Les said. "We want to be proud, but there's still work to be done."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 77 73
    FG Made-Attempted 23-52 (.442) 26-58 (.448)
    3P Made-Attempted 11-21 (.524) 7-18 (.389)
    FT Made-Attempted 20-32 (.625) 14-19 (.737)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 14 2


    » Mar 17, 2006 BRAD 77, @KU 73Recap