KU exacts revenge without big man

By wire services
Published January 2, 2005

LAWRENCE, Kan. - It took Kansas more than a half to realize it could beat a good team without Wayne Simien.

Keith Langford's twisting shot in the lane with three seconds left in overtime lifted short-handed No. 2 Kansas past No. 9 Georgia Tech 70-68 Saturday, capping a rally from a 16-point deficit.

"It's almost a naked feeling not having (Simien) out there in a big game like that, especially with this team really needing him," Langford said. "But something happened. Guys just stepped up."

Simien, KU's leading scorer and rebounder, is out for at least a month with a thumb injury. Kansas was playing for the second time without its 6-9, 225-pound senior forward, and Tech was its first ranked opponent since he went out.

At the outset, the Jayhawks seemed entirely out of synch.

"Wayne Simien is an All-American. And that's hard to replace," said point guard Aaron Miles, who became KU's assists leader with 808. "But we can do it collectively, and that's the thing we did."

It was a physical, fast-paced rematch of a region final in the 2004 NCAA Tournament; the Yellow Jackets won that one in overtime en route to the national championship game. Georgia Tech was also missing a key player after guard B.J. Elder, its leading scorer, went out in the first half with a strained hamstring.

After trimming its deficit to seven at halftime, Kansas got it to one three times. With 1:15 left in regulation, Langford bounced in a 3-pointer that tied it at 61.

NO. 18 ALABAMA 68, UNO 57: Earnest Shelton scored 14 and Jermario Davidson had 12 points and nine rebounds for the host Crimson Tide in its last game before it opens the conference schedule.


SETON HALL 82, LIBERTY 45: J.R. Morris scored 17 and John Allen 12 as the host Pirates won their third straight.

MINNESOTA 79, COPPIN ST. 58: Brent Lawson scored 19 and the host Golden Gophers made 12 of 23 3-pointers.

TEXAS TECH 97, SAN FRANCISCO 53: Ronald Ross scored 30 and Devonne Giles 22, career highs for both, to lead the host Red Raiders.

Ex-Bull heading to Mercer

Former USF point guard Montavious Waters, who left the Bulls in the second week of the season, said he is transferring to Mercer. Waters, a freshman listed in the media guide as USF's "point guard of the future," played six minutes in one game. He will be eligible to play for Mercer in December 2005. The school is about 45 minutes from his Albany, Ga., home, and Waters reiterated that he left USF because of "personal problems" that had nothing to do with basketball or USF.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.