9:00 PM ET, January 5, 2004
Coors Events Center, Boulder, Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Kansas' once-comfortable lead had been trimmed to seven points, and Colorado fans were raucously cheering on their team in hopes of another upset.Not this time.Aaron Miles hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock was winding down to trigger a 7-0 run in the closing minutes, and Kansas (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) went on to beat Colorado 77-62 Monday night."That was a huge play," said Kansas coach Bill Self, successful in his Big 12 debut. "Aaron got sick last night and had IVs in him."Miles said he "knew the clock was winding down. I knew I had it. I just had to step up and take the shot. Everyone contributed in the end. We had a lot of people step up."Wayne Simien had 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Jayhawks avenged a 60-59 loss here last season.Keith Langford had 18 points, J.R. Giddens 15 and Miles 12 for Kansas (9-2, 1-0 Big 12), which won its 13th consecutive conference opener.Simien insisted revenge was not a factor for the Jayhawks."Not really," he said. "We just wanted to win because it's a Big 12 game on the road."Colorado (6-4, 0-1) was led by Blair Wilson with 19 points, Michel Morandais with 14 and David Harrison with 13 points and 11 rebounds.Kansas, leading 37-29 at halftime, used a pair of 7-0 runs in the second half to keep Colorado at bay.Colorado, which dropped its third straight game, all at home, cut the deficit to 40-34 early in the half before the Jayhawks' first seven-point surge, which included Jeff Graves' three-point play.Kansas maintained a double-digit lead for most of the remainder of the half, but the Buffaloes chipped away and made it 66-59 on Harrison's free throw with 3:14 left.Kansas responded with its second 7-0 flurry, ignited by Miles' 3-pointer. Langford followed with a layup, and Miles hit two free throws for a 73-59 lead with 1:50 remaining."We made plays and we hung in there down the stretch. It was good to see. We had four or five guys make plays," Self said."Kansas hit some big shots," Colorado coach Ricardo Patton said. "We had some good defensive stands, and late in the shot clock somebody would step up and hit the shot. We didn't make our free throws. It really comes down to people making plays."The Jayhawks prevailed despite having two of their big men, Graves and David Padgett, foul out in the final six minutes.They were casualties of guarding Harrison, Colorado's 7-foot center.Kansas double-teamed Harrison, and Colorado didn't shoot well enough from the perimeter to loosen the inside pressure. Still, guarding Harrison took a toll."He fouled everyone out," Self said.Kansas outshot Colorado 45 percent to 36 percent.Simien scored 14 points in the first half, during which the Jayhawks used a pair of 8-0 runs -- the first to open up an 11-point lead and the second to forge a 16-point advantage.Miles made a fast-break layup after a steal to highlight the first surge, which put Kansas up 21-10 with 11:39 left in the half.Wilson's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 25-17 before Kansas scored eight straight points, the first six by Simien. He dunked off a rebound, made a jumper in the lane and sank two free throws. Giddens' short jumper capped the flurry, making it 33-17 with 5:05 remaining.Colorado responded with a 12-2 run, including a three-point play by Wilson and a 3-pointer by Morandais, trimming the lead to 35-29.
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