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Updated: Sunday, April 6, 2003 12:09 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(2) Kansas 94, (3) Marquette 61
MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES
Marquette Golden Eagles
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KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Kansas Jayhawks
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NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Keith Langford as a third option is a big reason why Kansas is an offensive machine.

Langford scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half as the Jayhawks moved into the championship game of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991 with a 94-61 rout of Marquette at the Louisiana Superdome.

Kansas (30-7) notched the sixth 30-win season in school history and will try for its third national championship and first for coach Roy Williams on Monday against Syracuse.

The Jayhawks just missed posting the biggest blowout in Final Four history. Princeton recorded a 118-82 win over Wichita State in the 1965 third-place game.

"Needless to say, the first 25 or 30 minutes was sensational," Williams said. "I think the biggest thing for us offensively was that we kept attacking. I think that was something we talked about all the time throughout the course of the entire season, emphasized it in the locker room today."

Kansas usually relies on the senior scoring duo of Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich. Both had solid efforts, but it was the athleticism of the largely overlooked Langford that caused the biggest problem for Marquette (27-6).

"You need a third option scoring all the time," Williams said. "Keith has supplied that for us and has done a great job."

"It's not us running faster than anyone, it's the fact that we're going to continue to do it," Langford said. "We just kept pushing."

The Jayhawks shot a blistering 60 percent (24-of-40) in the first half for a 59-30 advantage. Langford made 8-of-10 shots over the first 20 minutes as part of a devastating transition attack of which Marquette coach Tom Crean fretted.

"As hard as we tried to (simulate) that in practice, I'm sure I learned now what so many other teams learned in the past playing a Kansas team - you cannot prepare for how good that break is," Crean said. "Today, I don't have a lot of answers for how good their break was."

It was the ninth time this season Kansas scored 50 points or more in a half, but it wasn't even its best half in the tournament. The Jayhawks had a 61-point second half in a 108-76 rout of Arizona State in the second round.

"I've always felt like we're going to try to attack you," Williams said. "I've always said that we can win in the 50s or 60s, but we just enjoy playing more in the 80s or 90s."

Hinrich scored eight points in a 13-2 spurt that gave the Jayhawks the lead for good at 25-14 with 11:11 left before intermission.

A tip-in by Terry Sanders brought Marquette within single digits for the final time before Langford had a pair of baskets as Kansas ran off the next 10 points.

The Jayhawks closed the half on a 13-1 tear as Collison scored six points. Kansas ripped off the first eight points of the second half, with Langford's dunk with 17:42 remaining making it 67-30.

"We let our defense take control of the game," Hinrich said. "We were making things tough for them."

Dwyane Wade, who is considering a jump to the NBA, led Marquette with 19 points. Robert Jackson added 15 for the Golden Eagles, who shot just 26 percent (23-of-74) in the first half and never recovered.

"They had a great game," Wade said. "Their transition game was unbelievable. They got back and they made us take tough shots."

Hinrich and Aaron Miles each scored 18 points and Collison had a double-double by halftime and finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds. The Jayhawks handed out 16 of their 22 assists in the first half.

The 59 points ranks second in a Final Four game to a 65-point performance from UCLA against Wichita State in the 1965 semifinals. The 29-point halftime lead was the second-best in the Final Four to Michigan State's 50-17 bulge against Pennsylvania in 1979.

Langford finished 11-of-14 from the floor, scoring on an assortment of dunks, floaters and medium-range jumpers. It was similar to his 22-point first half in a loss to Arizona on January 25.

"Keith - when he gets out and runs - creates some separation from himself and the point guard, really stretches the defense, puts a lot of pressure on the defense," Collison said. "He's as good a player as there is in the open court."

Reserve guard Michael Lee was Kansas' fifth player in double figures with a career-high 13 points, including a 3-of-3 performance from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks finised the game at 53.5 percent (38-of-71) from the floor.

"Our transition game never stopped attacking, even when they were the aggressor," Lee said. "Nick and Kirk both finally had a good game together."

Wade was guarded by Hinrich to start the game and Lee also took some turns with the difficult assignment. Wade managed to make 7-of-15 shots but never was allowed to become the playmaker he was when he recorded his triple-double in the Midwest Region final against Kentucky.

Wile Jackson played well inside, Wade's perimeter partners were a non-factor. Travis Diener made just 1-of-11 shots for five points and committed eight of the team's 11 turnovers. Freshman Steve Novak, who made 14-of-20 3-pointers in the first four NCAA Tournament games, missed all five shots from beyond the arc.

The lead grew to as large as 77-44 on a basket by Collison with 14:51 remaining. Kansas kept the margin above 31 points the rest of the way, causing even the Jayhawks' fans in the sellout crowd to become silent because of the stunning display.

"We caught Marquette on a night when their shots weren't going in, and they were making some turnovers they normally would not make," Williams said.

The Jayhawks held a 52-39 edge on the glass as Jeff Graves pulled down nine rebounds. Graves also came up with a pair of blocks, including a resounding one on Jackson in the opening minutes.

Scott Merritt finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for Marquette, which suffered its worst loss this year and in the NCAA Tournament.

"We played some excellent teams, some conference champions," Crean said. "I would put them with as good as anyone we've faced."


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