TEMPE, Ariz. - When the other shoe dropped for Santa Clara, it dropped right on Steve Nash.
The Broncos' brilliant point guard went from guiding light to black hole, from 28 points to seven, and from hero to goat yesterday.
The same player who throttled Maryland on Friday was throttled 24 hours later by Kansas in a West subregional.
A 76-51 rout advanced the second-seeded Jayhawks (28-4) to the Sweet 16 against Arizona next Friday in Denver, and Maryland can be happy it didn't have to endure this humiliation.
"I think that was a clinic out there by Kansas today," Santa Clara coach Dick Davey said. "I felt they played at a tremendously high level. When they play like that, they are going to be tough for anyone to beat."
Nash, who had 28 points and 12 assists in a 12-point upset of Maryland Friday, had just seven and six respectively against Vaughn, the Jayhawks' second-team All-American. Nash hit just one of 11 shots from the field to close out a marvelous college career.
"He is our driving force, and he has to make shots for us to have a chance," Davey said. "He played so darn hard that you can't fault his effort. It's just that when the ball doesn't go in, we're not a very good team."
Nash didn't lose the game by himself, of course, and Vaughn had a better defensive effort than offensive (two points, 1-for-6, six assists).
"For me, it was just a matter of trying to contain him," Vaughn said. "I didn't want to make too much of it personally and let it distract my game. But at this level, you always enjoy those one-on-one matchups."
It was a game only Kansas could enjoy. The Jayhawks rolled up leads of 12-0 and 44-20 in the first half. Their biggest margin was 29 points near the end of the game (76-47).
Arizona, with a superb point guard of its own, will be another story.
"Arizona is really aggressive on defense, and Reggie Geary does a good job handling the point," Vaughn said. "I'm looking forward to the game."
Pub Date: 3/18/96