The word for Jeff Boschee is fearless.
The conference freshman of the year hit a 3-point bucket after Kansas State seized the lead with 5:29 to go, then he scored six points in the final 1:35 as Kansas beat the Wildcats 69-58 Saturday in the Big 12 tournament semifinals.
Kansas led by only five when Boschee hit an off-balance 15-footer as the shot clock expired. Then he added a free throw and then, with 12 seconds to go, canned his fourth 3-pointer as Kansas remained unbeaten in eight Big 12 tournament games.
"I find myself scared of some things in life. Basketball-wise, I'm not going to be scared of anything," said the 6-foot-1 guard, who has already hit several last-second buckets in his budding career.
"If there's fear in your heart, they're going to come after you. You can't show any fear out there."
His inexperience also shines through sometimes, however. The Jayhawks had a play set up for center Eric Chenowith when Boschee got confused and had to throw up the off-balance jumper.
"Four guys knew the play and one didn't," Kansas coach Roy Williams said with a smile. "He's fearless. But he ran the wrong play so he's also clueless."
In their last 16 games against Kansas, the Wildcats are winless, a streak that dates back to 1994.
"Boschee made some terrific plays," said Kansas State coach Tom Asbury. "For whatever reason, we lost him out there a couple of times."
In the finals on Sunday, Kansas (21-9) will meet Oklahoma State (22-9), which upset top-seeded Texas 59-57 in the other semifinal and lost a controversial one-point decision in overtime to Kansas last month when the clock showed 00:00.
Kansas State (20-12) led much of the first half and trailed by just two points at 59-57 when Cortez Groves hit from the baseline with 3:35 left.
But T.J. Pugh answered with a short jumper and then Chenowith, on a great feed from Marlon London, worked inside for a dunk and a 63-57 lead with 2:08 to go.
"Boschee is a very good player, a very good shooter," said Kansas State guard Chris Griffin. "He got the best of me today."
Groves led Kansas State (20-12) with 12 points and Manny Dies had nine.
The Wildcats took a 55-54 lead with 5:29 left on Tony Kitt's tip-in, bringing a roar from the Wildcat fans. But Boschee answered with a long 3-pointer and the Wildcats never got closer than two points thereafter.
"I thought the momentum had changed," said Groves. "But they were very patient and it swung back."
The fifth-seeded Wildcats, coming off an 84-74 upset of Missouri in the second round, led by as many as eight points in the first half before the cold-shooting Jayhawks got straightened out and drew even at 31-31 on Chenowith's dunk at the buzzer.
Chenowith led the Jayhawks with 20 points.
Asbury, who has been under fire from some fans, had a one-word answer when asked if he was worried about his job security.
"No," he said.
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