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Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2002

Jayhawks eager to get back home

January 27, 2002

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— Travel, Jeff Boschee says, isn't as glamorous as it seems.

"Myself, personally, I'm getting sick of travel. It's nice to be coming home for a few weeks," Kansas University's road-weary senior guard said after scoring five points in 25 minutes in KU's grind-it-out, 86-74 Big 12 basketball victory over Texas A&M on Saturday at Reed Arena.

"It's always good to get a win on the road," added Boschee, who took an accidental shot to the face by A&M's Andy Leatherman late and sported some redness under his left eye following a physical game. "We got fat and happy and cruised through some of that, but we got a win on the road and that's important if you want to win the conference."

Boschee and his teammates dressed quickly after the game, appearing to be in a hurry to catch the bus to the College Station airport for their charter flight home.

Nobody could blame them for wanting to leave A&M in the dust.

The Jayhawks have been living out of a suitcase in January, playing five of their last seven games outside of Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks (17-2, 6-0), who won at Iowa State Wednesday and lost only at UCLA during this tough stretch, now will settle in to play three of their next four games at Allen Fieldhouse, with the only road game a short drive to Kansas State a week from Monday. The homestand starts with Monday's game against Missouri.

"Road or home it doesn't matter. I'm used to it by now. Now, this young pup here might be tired. He was tired last night," junior forward Drew Gooden said, needling freshman Aaron Miles in a happy locker room.

Gooden scored 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds. Miles attempted a career-high 10 shots, hitting five, and had 10 points, seven assists and two turnovers against the Aggies (8-12, 2-4).

"Our talent really won this game," said Gooden, who suffered a cut on the inside of his lip after taking an elbow from Keith Bean in the early going. "We didn't overlook A&M at all. We knew it was a road game, and road games are tough. We probably would have overlooked them a couple of years ago, not today.

"We gave effort. You saw that early the way we pressured them. One of our goals was to pressure them."

KU's defensive pressure forced 14 first-half turnovers as the Jayhawks led, 43-31, at halftime.

Gooden scored 13 points, while Kirk Hinrich scored 11 and Nick Collison eight the first 20 minutes.

Sparked by Bryant Nash yep, Bryant Nash, who hit the first three of his career and also a 14-footer KU opened a 24-point lead (72-48) with 9:10 left, only to see A&M cut the gap down the stretch.

"I wasn't as pleased as I'd like to be," KU coach Roy Williams said. "We turned it over four of five possessions in one stretch. But you've got to feel good about a road win. It's a pretty good week. You'll take that any day."

Williams called a timeout with 5:24 left, after A&M cut the deficit to 76-62. KU committed a turnover on one possession, then Boschee buried a three, his only three in five tries, to hike the gap back to 17 points.

'''Bosch' had a pretty tough day until he made that three," Williams said. "Bosch didn't have his normal day; Keith, who has had great moments for us, didn't have his normal day, but Bryant was 2-for-2 and helped us."

Fort Worth, Texas, native Langford scored four points on 1-of-6 shooting, while Nash, of Carrollton, Texas, had five points in six minutes.

Of offensive minded Miles, Williams said: "Aaron was 7-2 (assist to turnovers) and did some really nice things out there today. He was 5-of-10. Two of the shots he missed he still had some indecision in his mind. We have got to try our best to get rid of the indecision either shoot it or don't shoot it."

The Jayhawks hit 48.4 percent of their shots to A&M's 38.8 percent. A&M hit 11 of 19 free throws, while KU swished 21 of 25.

Gooden made eight of eight, while Collison hit seven of eight, Langford two of two and Hinrich two of three charities.

"One of the keys to the game was making free throws," Williams said. "We rebounded it much better the second half. The bottom line is it's a road win and we feel good about that.

The road was on everybody's mind Saturday.

"It's been an unusual year. I've felt like we've been traveling all year," Williams said with a smile.

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