The 1985-86 campaign was not unlike this season, with KU and ISU both atop the conference.  Johnny Orrís Cyclones were led by senior guard Jeff Hornacek and soph forward Jeff Grayer, the teams leading scorer at 20.7 ppg.  Other ISU starters were juniors Sam Hill and Tom Schafer, who shared the post, and soph guard Gary Tompkins.  Off the bench were Elmer Robinson, David Moss and Lafester Rhodes.

Arguably one of the best teams KU ever put on the floor, the Ď86 squad featured sophomore Danny Manning, senior forwards Ron Kellogg and Calvin Thompson, junior point guard Cedric Hunter, and senior center Greg Dreiling.  Archie Marshall, Mark Turgeon and Chris Piper were the lead subs.  Larry Brown was in his third year as head coach of the Hawks.

On Jan. 28, the 12-6 Cyclones grabbed a 77-74 win in Ames, handing the Jayhawks their only Big 8 loss of the season.  Grayer poured in 19 points, followed by Hill with 17.  Hornacek garnered 16 points and had 12 assists.  KUís Manning led all scorers with 26 and Dreiling had 14 in a hard fought offensive game, as ISU made 58.9% from the field and KU made 57.6%.

Kansas took the rematch on March 1 in Lawrence, 90-70, with KU forcing the Clones into a season-high 21 turnovers.  Kellogg led with 20 points, Manning had 19 and Thompson 15.  Grayer led all scorers with 26 and Hornacek added 12.

At 9-5 Iowa State finished second in the conference race to KUís league-leading 13-1, and rightfully so, the two teams met a third time in the Big Eight postseason tourney final at KCís Kemper Arena.  The Cyclones fought back from a 14 point deficit midway in the second half and had a chance to tie in the final seconds.  However, a traveling call on Sam Hill ended the game at 73-71, with KU taking the tournament championship.  Again, Grayer was the gameís leading scorer with 25 and Hill made 11.  Manning led the Jayhawks with 23 points and 7 rebounds.

In the post season, Hornacekís last second jumper allowed the Clones to squeak by Miami 81-79.  That game was followed by what coach Johnny Orr called his ďgreatest victory ever as a coach,Ē as ISU defeated his old employer Michigan 72-69.  The Wolverines were the Big Ten champions and heavily favored.  Iowa Stateís season ended in the third round as North Carolina State handed the Clones a 70-66 setback.  Ironically, had they won, they would have faced KU a fourth time.  ISU finished at 22-11.

After winning the Big 8 tournament, KU strong-armed North Carolina A&T, Temple, Michigan State, and North Carolina State to reach the Final Four, where they succumbed to Duke 67-71, in a heartbreaker.  The Jayhawks finished 35-4.

I remember that season fondly, as both my daughterís were attending KU, and I developed a friendship with Johnny Orrís daughter, Becky.  Coaches Brown and Orr were great friends, and the rivalry between the two teams was like brothers competing.  Unfortunately, I donít think that the coaches and teams this year have that same affinity.  Nevertheless, both squads are very good this year and, as with í86, I see them again going deep into the NCAA tourney.

KJís BB Newsletter                          February 11, 2001