Simien's dunk caps Jayhawks' run from Tigers

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- For the first time since undergoing
offseason surgery, Kansas senior Keith Langford wasn't slowed by a
gimpy knee.

The senior guard had 21 points and a career-high seven assists
Saturday, running and jumping while leading No. 2 Kansas past
Pacific 81-70.

"We saw glimpses of the old Keith," said Wayne Simien, who had
12 points and 15 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double.
"He came back."

Langford had struggled in the first three games for the Jayhawks
(4-0) but got better looks Saturday because of the way the Tigers
(2-1) collapsed on the 6-foot-9 Simien.

"I felt good today," Langford said. "We had some time off so
I was really working with the trainer, getting a chance to rest and
relax. I'm just pushing myself to get back in shape."

The only team the Tigers have lost to in their last 20 games is
Kansas, which ousted them 78-63 in the second round of the NCAA
Tournament last year.

"I just hope that goes the same in the next 20 since we don't
play them," coach Bob Thomason said. "We outrebounded them the
first 20 to 25 minutes, but we got tired."

Aaron Miles had eight assists and 19 points, one short of the
senior guard's career high, for the Jayhawks (4-0). He also had six

"That's a real good team," he said. "They're well coached.
They ran some good sets offensively."

Christian Maraker had 22 points for the Tigers (2-1), who kept
it close by scoring on six straight possessions down the stretch
before Miles made a steal with 1:10 to go.

"It is really an experience-gaining game," Maraker said. "We
are really learning how to handle pressure."

The Tigers, favored to repeat as Big West Conference champions,
hurt themselves with 18 turnovers.

"It's frustrating," Maraker said. "We had those problems
early last year, but we will get better."

The Jayhawks scored on five consecutive possessions late in the
game en route to their 11th straight home win and first 4-0 start
since 2000-01.

They led by only one point at halftime and the tall, aggressive
visitors had quieted the normally boisterous Allen Fieldhouse
crowd. But Kansas finally began pulling away with an 8-0 run,
capped by Simien's slam dunk for a 51-42 lead with 12:29 left.

"It made me feel a lot more comfortable when we went on the
run," Langford said. "That's the type of team that if you let
them stay within two or three points going down the stretch they
can hit a 3-pointer or capitalize on your mistakes."

Freshman guard Russell Robinson came off the bench and supplied
several key plays. He stole the ball from David Doubley at midcourt
and drove in for a layup, then canned a 3-pointer with 9:17
remaining to make it 58-48.

At the 6:32 mark, the 6-foot-1 point guard fed fellow freshman
Darnell Jackson for another basket underneath and then drove in for
a crowd-pleasing reverse layup that gave Kansas its biggest lead,

The Tigers, with the 6-foot-9 Maraker, 6-9 Guillaume Yango and
6-10 Tyler Newton clogging the middle, dominated the boards in the
early going, holding almost a 2-to-1 rebounding average at the
10-minute mark.

"All game, I had one (defender) behind me and one in my lap. I
don't remember getting one easy shot," said Simien.

Robinson finished with seven points, as did J.R. Giddens and
Christian Moody.

Kansas led by as many as six points in the first half but
Pacific pulled even at 31-all on Yango's follow-up dunk and then
took a 34-35 lead on Marko Mihailovic's 3-pointer before Simien's
hook gave the Jayhawks a 35-34 halftime lead.

Mihailovic had 10 points for Pacific, which won a school-record
25 games last season before bowing to Kansas in the NCAA
Tournament. Yango had nine and Newton eight.