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Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 1997

JAYHAWKS SLEEPWALK TO 98-79 VICTORY

November 12, 1997

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Coach Roy Williams scheduled a pair of early-bird practices for Wednesday and Thursday in the wake of Monday's sometimes lethargic 98-79 victory over Pella Windows AAU.

The Jayhawks didn't play. So now they will pay.

"They like getting up at 7 a.m.," KU coach Roy Williams groused after the Jayhawks' lackluster 98-79 exhibition basketball victory over Pella Windows on Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Miffed at KU's play during the second half -- KU's 32-point lead dipped to 14 late -- a despondent Williams scheduled twice-a-day practices, including early-bird workouts Wednesday and Thursday, in preparation for Friday night's season-opener against Santa Clara.

The Jayhawks, who have today off, already have had "three or four" 7 a.m. practices during the preseason -- one which was the worst in Williams' memory.

"He said, 'Seven a.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Enjoy your day off tomorrow.' That was the gist of it," senior guard C.B. McGrath said of Williams' postgame talk. "I take it as punishment."

"I think it's punishment," added junior guard Ryan Robertson. "Seven a.m. practices are not fun. Nobody likes to do them, the players or coaches."

Williams believes the Jayhawks need the work. He's trying to salvage what he has deemed a rotten preseason.

"I've done a poor job. I don't mind saying that. I've not found the right buttons to push with this team," Williams said. "If we play like that, it's going to be a long year in the fieldhouse."

It was a long second half. Senior Raef LaFrentz scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting the first half, helping KU to a 56-34 lead. LaFrentz finished with 22 points on 9-of-15 marksmanship. Paul Pierce had 12 points and six assists the first half. He finished with seven assists and 21 points.

KU was outscored 45-42 the second half by an AAU team that has played three straight nights.

"It was too easy in the first half," Williams said. "We just sat back and thought it would be that easy in the second half. We forgot about him (LaFrentz) the second half. We didn't do a very good job getting the ball to him.

"We should have fresher legs at the end. We are younger. They've played three or four nights in a row, yet at the end they're fresher than we are. They were coming up with all the loose balls, doing all the things I hoped our team would do."

One bright spot for Williams was the play of freshman Eric Chenowith, who returned to practice seven days ago after missing nine workouts because of mono. Chenowith had 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes.

"I was more pleased when he took a charge at the other end of the court," Williams said. "Other guys would not move their feet to get in that position. I was probably more pleased with Eric than anybody on the court.

"I was pleased with how active Eric was, Raef's shooting the ball in the hole in the first half, Paul's passing the first half. That's it. That's the end of the list."

KU's defense struggled as it has all preseason, the coach said. Pella Windows hit 46.8 percent of its shots, 48.5 percent the second half. KU hit 50.7 percent.

"If you are breathing, you are a better offensive team than we are defensively," Williams said. "I checked."

KU's coach did find one additional bright spot.

"It's got to be better. It can't be any worse," he said. "The good news is it's the preseason. We're going to practice. It'll be a better team out there on the floor Friday or ... well, it'll be a better team."

KU will open the regular season against Santa Clara on Friday. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse.

-- Gary Bedore's phone message number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is bedore@ljworld.com.

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