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Archive for Sunday, December 8, 2002

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December 8, 2002

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Kirk Hinrich felt some mental anguish but no physical pain after Kansas UniversityâÂÂs 84-78 menâÂÂs basketball loss to Oregon on Saturday at the Rose Garden.

The 6-foot-3 senior said his strained back didnâÂÂt bother him a bit during his 24-point, 39-minute outing.

âÂÂIt feels good,â said Hinrich, who didnâÂÂt play in WednesdayâÂÂs victory over Central Missouri State; he received treatment for several days after KUâÂÂs return from the Preseason NIT in New York. âÂÂThe doctors didnâÂÂt think it was serious. I received treatment and was ready to play.âÂÂ

Hinrich looked like he sprained his ankle in the second half, but said that wasnâÂÂt the case.

âÂÂI was just cramping. I donâÂÂt know if it was not doing anything for a week or not,â Hinrich said.

The fact his back felt OK wasnâÂÂt the only good thing to come out of the game, he noted.

He liked the spunk KU showed in battling back from a 14-point first-half deficit.

âÂÂI think we made some steps,â he said. âÂÂWe had the fight tonight we didnâÂÂt have in the past (in losses to North Carolina and Florida). We didnâÂÂt do some little things we could have done to change the outcome of the game. ThatâÂÂs unfortunate.

âÂÂI donâÂÂt know if it is nerves or what, but this team is still trying to find itself. WeâÂÂre not going to give up. WeâÂÂre going to stick together. This team will accept nothing but winning.âÂÂ

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Career-best game in hometown: KU sophomore Michael Lee of Portland scored a career-high 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 20 minutes.

He hit his only three-point try and made four of five free throws, looking good before a big contingent of fans who had watched him play football and basketball at PortlandâÂÂs Jefferson High.

âÂÂI tried to be ready to play. It was a boost playing in front of friends and family members,â Lee said. âÂÂI know what IâÂÂm capable of. The biggest thing is I played hard. That should never surprise anybody.âÂÂ

The 6-3, 215-pound Lee spent time at both guard and power forward.

Yes, power forward.

Somebody had to step in with Nick Collison and Wayne Simien in foul trouble most of the game.

âÂÂTonight I was a guard and forward, a little of both,â said Lee, who received the bulk of the bench minutes with Jeff Graves and Moulaye Niang.

âÂÂThe bench was important for us tonight. ItâÂÂs a big key because both Nick and Wayne were in foul trouble,â Lee said. âÂÂWe had to come in and do the job.âÂÂ

LeeâÂÂs best friend, fellow Portland native Aaron Miles, struggled big-time in his return home.

Miles missed 10 of 11 shots, including four of five threes. He had four points, four assists and seven turnovers.

âÂÂI think Aaron played well at times, but at times he could have been more poised,â Lee said. âÂÂCoach even mentioned that.âÂÂ

Lee said it was fun playing in Portland.

âÂÂTo have 20,000 fans, it reminded me some of Allen Fieldhouse. I think it was big for the city of Portland,â Lee said. âÂÂOregon has a great program and great team. ItâÂÂs always good to see family. Coach let me go home and see my family a couple of hours, but we were here on business.âÂÂ

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Langford pots 21: Sophomore Keith Langford scored 21 points, including 14 in the second half.

âÂÂWhen we tied it we had a lot of momentum at that point. I thought weâÂÂd pull it out,â Langford said of KU forging a 74-all tie at 3:46 on his jumper in the lane.

Oregon, however, scored with three minutes left on a stickback by Luke Jackson.

âÂÂWe didnâÂÂt do a very good job of responding down the stretch,â he said.

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Proud papa: Michael LeeâÂÂs dad, John, wore a No. 25 KU jersey and snapped photos during warmups. Several of Milesâ relatives wore No. 11 jerseys.

âÂÂI was just telling the AD (Al Bohl) that weâÂÂre so happy coach Williams does this for the kids,â John Lee said. âÂÂWeâÂÂre so happy for Michael and Aaron, first that they are playing at a school like Kansas, but to come home and have the opportunity to play before people whoâÂÂve supported them all their lives âÂÂ: weâÂÂre excited and they are excited.âÂÂ

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Stats, facts: KU is 3-3 for the first time since the 1979-80 squad opened with the same record after six games. âÂÂ: KU is 0-2 against top-25 teams this season, 64-48 against ranked foes under Roy Williams. âÂÂ: Oregon had just one offensive rebound in the first half. âÂÂ: Hinrich and Miles played all 20 minutes of the first half. âÂÂ: Collison, who scored seven points, had scored in double figures in nine straight games. âÂÂ: HinrichâÂÂs 19 field-goal attempts mark the most by a Jayhawk this season. âÂÂ: KUâÂÂs only lead was 6-5 after LangfordâÂÂs dunk in the first half. âÂÂ: Collison was forced to the bench at the 7:55 mark of the first half after picking up his third foul. At that point, Collison had five of KUâÂÂs 19 points. Just over a minute later, Wayne Simien picked up his third foul. He had eight of KUâÂÂs 21 points before heading to the pine. âÂÂ: For the second straight game, KU allowed seven first-half threes. âÂÂ: LeeâÂÂs 11 points marked a career high. His previous best was seven against Pittsburg State last year. âÂÂ: KU had a season-high 22 turnovers.

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