December 20, 2003

No. 6 Kansas Too Strong For Gauchos

Dec 20, 2003

Box Score

By SCOTT SONNER
Associated Press Writer

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Wayne Simien had the solution when Kansas struggled to score in the first half: rebound.

Simien had 15 points and 16 rebounds and Aaron Miles scored all 13 of his points in the second half as the No. 6 Jayhawks overcame 24 percent shooting from the field in the first half to beat UC Santa Barbara 72-52 in the Wolf Pack Holiday Classic.

"When you are not shooting well, you've got to find other things to do," said Simien, who had eight offensive rebounds.

"You get a lot of rebound opportunities when you shoot like that."

Keith Langford scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and freshman J.R. Giddens finished with 15 points for Kansas (6-1), which shot 62 percent from the field in the second half after leading only 24-18 at halftime.

"We guarded great in the first 20 minutes and we shot it miserably," said Kansas Coach Bill Self, who sent the Jayhawks to the floor wearing bright crimson uniforms for the first time since the 1986 Final Four at Dallas.

"I don't know how many scientific studies there have been, but I don't think you can attribute our poor shooting to our uniforms," Self said.

Casey Cook scored a team-high 16 points for the Gauchos (5-3), who turned the ball over 26 times and shot 40 percent from the field on the game.

"If they would have made shots early, it could have been anyone's ball game," Self said. "We did a great job of attacking the zone in the second half."

Miles had five steals and five assists for Kansas. He scored nine points during a 19-4 run to open the second half, including a steal and a layup to put Kansas up 43-22 at 13:13.

The closest Santa Barbara came after that was 64-48 on Jacoby Atako's 3-pointer with 3:13 left in the game.

"They got in transition and that got them better shots," Santa Barbara Coach Bob Williams said.

"They turned out quick baskets to build on the momentum they had at the end of the first half."

Kansas missed 20 of its first 25 shots from the field, including a seven-minute stretch without a field goal before Giddens hit a 3-pointer for a 17-10 lead 5:37 before the half. He hit another just before the halftime buzzer to put the Jayhawks ahead 24-18.

Langford hit 8-of-15 for the game and 3-of-4 free throws, scoring 15 of his points in the second half to become the 46th Jayhawks player to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

"In the first half, I was part of the problem," said Langford, who has scored in double figures in 21 straight games.

"In the second half, I was trying to get easy shots, even if they were garbage buckets," he said.

Josh Davis added eight points for Santa Barbara, which will play Alabama State in the holiday classic in Reno on Sunday before Kansas plays host Nevada.

"I told the guys if we play like we did tonight, they (Nevada) will beat us, or they can beat us," Self said.

Simien said he expects another tough game.

"Just being Kansas, you have to be prepared to take everyone's best shot," he said.