Cal Comes Up Short Against Kansas

Dec 28, 2002

AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Roy Williams called for a hush in the Kansas locker room before turning the floor over to Pete Newell.

'You really played the game the way it's supposed to be played,' the 87-year-old former coach told the Jayhawks. 'I said before the season that you were going to be one of the Final Four teams, and I think even more so now.'

Wayne Simien led a balanced attack with 17 points and a career-high 11 rebounds as No. 19 Kansas beat California 80-67 Saturday in the first game of the Pete Newell Challenge - and the well-known former Cal coach obviously liked what he saw from his courtside seat.

Nick Collison had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks (7-3), who won their fourth straight and further polished the potential of a powerful starting five that made Kansas a national title favorite before the season, despite just two senior starters.

'At times, we were really, really good,' Williams said. 'We had a tough stretch in the second half, but we held our focus.'

Kirk Hinrich scored 14 points, and Aaron Miles had 11 points and 10 assists as Kansas dominated the Golden Bears. Shooting 63 percent, including 29-of-45 by the starters, Kansas jumped to a 20-point lead in the first half and easily weathered Cal's rally early in the second half.

Amit Tamir scored 18 points for Cal (6-2), which lost for the first time in five appearances at the annual event in Oakland's Arena. Stanford played Gonzaga in the second game of the event honoring the remarkably spry former coach of Cal, Michigan State and San Francisco.

The Jayhawks' balance, which could turn out to be their greatest asset in tough Big 12 Conference play, was more than Cal could handle in just its third game in 18 days. All five Kansas starters scored in double figures and made big shots during the two rallies that propelled the Jayhawks to the win.

A.J. Diggs defends as Kansas point guard Aaron Miles goes up for the shot.

'We all passed the ball real good,' Miles said. 'I think that was our downfall at the beginning of the year, and we're getting back to that now.'

Simien matched his career-high in rebounds as Kansas dominated the paint, forcing Cal into a perimeter game that didn't work. Forward Keith Langford, who broke his nose in practice on Friday, scored 12 points.

Kansas scored on nine straight possessions midway through the first half to jump to a 32-18 lead. Collison had three of the scores, and he had 11 points and nine rebounds as the Jayhawks led 42-24 at halftime.

'In the second half, we made some great runs, but they are a team that will get a lot of people down. At points, we showed what type of a team we can really be.'
-- Cal coach Ben Braun

'In the final 10 minutes of the first half ... they turned the pressure up, and we didn't respond,' Cal coach Ben Braun said. 'In the second half, we made some great runs, but they are a team that will get a lot of people down. At points, we showed what type of a team we can really be.'

Cal made an 18-4 run in the opening minutes of the second half, cutting Kansas' lead to 55-47 with a succession of outside shots and drives that brought the partisan crowd to its feet.

But after Williams called a timeout, the Jayhawks quickly broke off a 16-5 run that put the game away. Collision, Hinrich and Miles all hit big shots in the rally.

'It was a real good performance for us to beat a good team essentially on the road,' Collison said. 'It was good for us to face a team that can make a run, and then fight it off.'

Joe Shipp scored 17 points for Cal, while Brian Wethers added 11 points, six assists and five rebounds.

With Scot Pollard of the Sacramento Kings cheering for Kansas and Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz rooting for Cal, both schools' celebrity alumni were well-represented at the two-game event.

Cal hasn't beaten Kansas since Dec. 29, 1954 - when Newell was the Golden Bears' coach. The Jayhawks have won the schools' last seven meetings, including an 18-point victory in the 1996 Maui Invitational.

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