Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2002

businesslike victory over Ags typical Kansas

January 27, 2002


— Roy Williams often talks about challenging his players. Well, I may have a challenge for Williams. In two weeks, I'm going to consider asking him to remember three memorable things about Saturday's Texas A&M; game.

Talk about a classic case of taking care of business.

KU's 86-74 victory over the Aggies in Reed Arena was so typical of so many other victories this season it could probably serve as a microcosm. The Jayhawks shot about 50 percent (48.4), they outscored the Aggies 22-0 in transition, they had four players in double figures, they had nine steals and they were never in any real danger of losing.

And on and on.

For me, the two most memorable moments were when KU's deep-down-the-bench Bryant Nash swished his first career three-point goal and when the Reed Rowdies, A&M;'s minor-league version of Missouri's Antlers, chanted "Harry Potter, Harry Potter" while Kirk Hinrich was at the free-throw line late.

Both moments brought a smile Nash because no one ever accused him of being a shooter, and the Rowdies for coming the closest to describing Hinrich's ramshackle hairstyle.

The Rowdies were picking on Hinrich only because they had to give up on chanting "CBA, CBA, CBA" at Drew Gooden who had started slowly, but finished with still another double-double 22 points and 13 rebounds. Forevermore, I guess, Gooden will be one of those players who will make a head-shaking strange play, then do something spectacular enough to make your jaw drop the next time down the floor.

Gooden is so good at times that Williams seems nonplussed when the 6-foot-10 junior launches a three-point attempt. Gooden missed another trey on Saturday he's failed on 15 of 19 long-rangers this season and seems to be a leading candidate for the coach's red light but what the heck? Let the guy have his fun because next year he'll probably be playing for pay most certainly not in the CBA, either.

Come to think of it, Williams might mention something else about Saturday's meeting with a team that has never defeated Kansas since the Big 12 Conference became a monstrous TV-money earning entity. Surely, the KU coach would note the A&M; date marked the end of a grueling road stretch.

"I feel like we've been traveling all year," Williams said with a smile as he headed for another bus, another airport and another trip home. "It all seems like that 14-hour bus ride from North Dakota."

Kansas has played all over the map this season, starting with Hawaii and including contests on both coasts Princeton and UCLA a game fairly close to Canada (North Dakota) and one not that far from Mexico (Texas A&M;). Kansas has covered such a wide geographic area during 2001-2002 it's almost surprising the Jayhawks didn't play in the Pacific Northwest or in Florida. Hey, you can't play everywhere.

The good news is the Jayhawks will have five of their next seven games in Allen Fieldhouse where they always seem to do much more than simply take care of business, and only four of their remaining 10 regular-season contests on the road. That five-of-seven stretch will begin on Monday night against Missouri and will include another much-anticipated clash a Feb. 9 date with Texas Tech, now coached by Bob what's-his-name.

Missouri will be big, as usual, but no more so than for the fact Mizzou will be the Jayhawks' last foe in January. Traditionally, the end of January means light at the end of the tunnel even if the schedule still shows eight games in February.

In other words, Kansas still has a lot more business to take care of before March.

Chuck Woodling' phone message number is 832-7147.

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