Kansas City, Mo. From where Nick Collison stood, Drew Gooden's snub of Colorado's David Harrison looked more unintentional than anything.
"Right after the crowd started making noise, he (Gooden) asked me if I went out and shook the guy's hand. I don't even think he knew that's what we were doing," Collison, KU's junior forward, said after Kansas' 102-73 victory over Colorado on Friday at Kemper Arena. "He was like, 'You went out and shook his hand?' and I was like, 'Yeah,' and he was like, 'Oh.' It was like he forgot.
"If you asked him he might say something different, but it wasn't anything anybody talked about. I know it looked that way. You'd have to ask him, though. I think he just forgot."
KU's four other starters, including Collison, did shake hands with their CU counterparts during pregame introductions. After Gooden's name was called, the junior forward didn't trot to center court to shake hands with Harrison, a CU freshman who had said No. 1-ranked Kansas was "definitely second" in the conference behind Oklahoma.
Immediately after the game, Gooden said he was trying to make a statement by snubbing Harrison, but Gooden later repeatedly declined to answer additional questions about the incident.
"There was a lot of talking going on out there," KU freshman reserve Wayne Simien said. "There's a little animosity between these two teams since we've beaten them 27 straight times."
Simien, who scored 11 points and added 10 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals with just one turnover in 19 minutes, has a history with Harrison.
"We've known each other for a while," Simien said. "We've played with and against each other, AAU stuff and McDonald's (All-America game). We'll be battling against each other for the next couple of years.
"We're friends off the court, but on the court it's all about business."
As for the trash talking?
"Honestly, I don't know why he does that," Simien said. "When I'm around him he's real cool and laid-back. When the cameras turn on him, he's a different person. I want to call him and say something, but he's a grown man. He can say what he wants. It's just wild.
"We came out with the win. As long as we come out on top, words don't mean anything."
Simien was one of five Jayhawks who scored in double figures as the KU bench outscored the Buffaloes' reserves, 28-9, and outrebounded CU, 26-13. KU senior Jeff Carey scored 10 points with a season-best seven rebounds in 18 minutes.
"That helps a lot," Collison said of Simien and Carey. "They both played really well, about as well as they've played this year. Anytime you get a lift from anybody extra it always helps. Jeff probably played the best game of his career and Wayne was really active, too, so they were huge today."
Carey scored a career-high, eclipsing his previous peak of eight points. He also had career bests with five field goals and eight attempts.
"Sad to say, but yeah," Carey quipped about his offensive outburst. "I got a few easy ones just by running which is always good, easy points off hustling."
The bench also was beneficial in gobbling minutes none of KU's starters logged more than 30 minutes which is always a plus when playing games on three straight days.
"We had a lot of guys come off the bench today and help out. That's always important," Carey said. "As we progress, the starters will play more and more so they need to stay fresh. That's always good, your first game and you can get a bunch of guys in."
Kansas will take on Bobby Knight and Texas Tech in today's semifinal game. Tipoff is 1 p.m. at Kemper Arena.
Today is special for Simien for another reason, though. He's celebrating his 19th birthday.
"I feel old, man. I'm waking up and my back's hurting, my barber is telling me he's finding gray hairs and stuff," Simien said with a laugh. "It seems like I'm always on the road, playing ball on my birthday. My mom always knows that so she tries to make me feel as comfortable as possible.
"But there's no better way to celebrate a birthday than to get a win."
Sports writer Robert Sinclair can be reached at 832-7185.