9:00 PM ET, February 2, 2004
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas' upperclassmen tried to explain to the freshmen how this rivalry with Missouri was unlike anything they had ever known.But the youngsters had to see for themselves.After the No. 20 Jayhawks held on Monday night for a 65-56 victory over the Tigers, J.R. Giddens, for one, was a believer."I never knew it until before the game," said Giddens, who had 11 points and seven rebounds. "I was watching the student section during warmups, hearing what the crowd was saying. I'm over there missing shots because I was thinking, 'Oh, my gosh.' "The capacity crowd of 16,300 crammed into Allen Fieldhouse let out a thunderous roar when Wayne Simien canned two free throws with 42 seconds to go, sealing the victory for the Jayhawks (14-4, 6-1 Big 12) in a typically hard-fought showdown in the 97-year-old series."We kept telling them about it," said Simien, who led the Jayhawks with 18 points. "They said, 'Oh, yeah, it's just another big game.' But they got a chance to experience it for themselves."Kansas led by only two points at halftime and was unable to pull away from the Tigers (9-9, 4-4) until the final minutes."I thought we were in a good position in the second half," Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. "We had a few mental breakdowns and they ended up with some emotional dunks."Arthur Johnson, who led Missouri with 15 points, hit a hook shot in the lane to make it 61-56 with 2:46 to go as Missouri sought to post back-to-back wins for the first time since the second and third games of the season.But then Aaron Miles made two free throws after Travon Bryant missed a 3-pointer for the Tigers, who were just 3-for-18 from beyond the arc.After being tabbed in the coaches' poll as the Big 12 favorites, the Tigers could be on the verge of letting the season get away from them."We know what we are facing," Snyder said. "there is not an ounce of feeling sorry for themselves."Miles, who left the game momentarily in the second half with pain in his right ankle, had 11 points and eight assists as the Jayhawks took a half-game lead over idle No. 11 Texas and No. 13 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 race.Rickey Paulding had 14 points for Missouri and Bryant and Jimmy McKinney had 10 apiece."I would change our record if I could," Snyder said. "We have to keep lacing them up."Keith Langford took a pass from Miles, the Big 12 assists leader, and stuffed it through for a 51-45 lead as the Jayhawks fought to take control. Then Bryant made a 3-pointer and a moment later McKinney's twisting jumper in the lane made it 53-52.A few minutes later, after a couple of furiously contested rebounds went the Jayhawks' way, Simien put in a short jumper in traffic for a 59-54 lead.After Kansas' Jeff Graves fouled out and Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one, Langford pulled down the rebound and Miles fed Simien for a thunderous dunk and a 61-54 lead."We wanted to come back with a big-time game like this," Simien said. "The fans were really into it. They got us pumped up and we went from there."
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