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Archive for Sunday, January 19, 2003

Woodling: Kansas’ 25th straight win over K-State workmanlike

January 19, 2003

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Every day for everyone who works is different from the others. But everybody has had a day like the Jayhawks had Saturday night.

You show up at the office and attack the tasks you need to do immediately and with resolve. You're moving right along, making widgets or pushing paper and then ... the phone rings.

Momentarily, you put your nose back on the grindstone and then ... a co-worker stops by your desk and says you need to take care of this or that right away.

And it goes like that all the rest of the day. Fast start, then numerous interruptions, and by the time it's over you can't wait to get out of there.

So it went for Kansas University's men's basketball team -- fast start (15-0 lead after 31¼2 minutes) and numerous interruptions (whistles), and when it was over the Jayhawks couldn't wait to open an Allen Fieldhouse door and plod into the dark, cold night.

Roy Williams called his 401st victory as the Jayhawks' head coach "workmanlike," and so it was. Maybe that's the way it always is when you pass a plateau. I mean, most people remember the year 2000, but 2001 was about as memorable as, well, the movie "Death to Smoochy."

So workmanlike was the 81-64 triumph over a team the Jayhawks have now defeated 25 consecutive times that Williams' revelations about his Saturday travails seemed more noteworthy than the game itself.

First, Williams' key to Parrott Complex wouldn't work and he had to throw snowballs at the windows to attract the attention of assistant coach Steve Robinson. Then, the KU coach lugged about 10 dozen doughnuts, as he customarily does, to the students who camp out in the fieldhouse before games, only to discover the students had been shooed out because the KU women were playing Colorado in the afternoon.

As superstitious as Williams is -- he stopped giving pizza to the students in 1994, for example, because the Jayhawks lost to K-State that day -- he no doubt worried that the recalcitrant key and the phantom students were omens.

Then the Jayhawks played as good a 31¼2 minutes of basketball as they have played all season, with the exception perhaps of that astonishing 22-2 start at Iowa State, and basically the game was over.

It just took longer than expected, that's all, because the officials called 43 fouls. KU was whistled 19 times, which isn't really that many, but the distribution was unusual.

Four Jayhawks -- Nick Collison, Jeff Graves, Aaron Miles and Moulaye Niang -- finished with four fouls each, but Bryant Nash and mop-up guard Stephen Vinson were the only other Jayhawks to commit an infraction. Kirk Hinrich played 37 minutes and wasn't whistled once. Neither was Keith Langford, who logged 35 minutes.

Collison's four fouls were probably the most glaring because the 6-foot-9 senior, plagued by foul trouble in the past, has been a paragon of virtue this season, averaging only 1.87 fouls per game going in.

His first two fouls Saturday night were called on the offensive end, the kind that may or may not be detected.

"Neither one," Collison noted, "was a hack."

Now about the only time Collison hacks is when he has a dry throat.

"I haven't made many stupid fouls this year," he said. "I think I'm playing smarter. I realize that if I'm beat, I'm beat."

More important, of course, the Jayhawks weren't beat. After the rugged start of late November and early December, Kansas is climbing inexorably back up the wire-service poll ladder.

Hindsight is always 20-20, but if the 25th straight win over K-State is anything like a 25th wedding anniversary, then perhaps Williams should celebrate with something silver.

Do they make keys out of silver?

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