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Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2003

Notebook: Langford: Missouri deserves credit

March 16, 2003

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— Border War bragging rights have swung back to Missouri.

Finally.

"Now it's their turn to talk," Kansas University sophomore guard Keith Langford said after MU snapped a five-game losing streak to rival Kansas by tripping the Jayhawks, 68-63, in a Big 12 Conference tournament semifinal contest Saturday at American Airlines Center.

Langford had been outspoken in discussing KU's 79-74 victory over MU seven days ago in Columbia, Mo. Friday, asked about MU's fans calling KU's victory lucky, he had said: "Luck, luck ... whatever. We won. It's in the record books. Five straight. Go home and cry."

He didn't regret making those comments after Saturday's loss, which prevented KU from beating MU three times in a season for the first time since 1977-78.

"Not at all. We earned those two victories this year, home and road," Langford said. "I knew it'd be tough today. Missouri has a good team. Rickey Paulding hit some threes, and Arthur Johnson was tough inside. They deserve credit for beating us."

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Bumps, bruises, dislocated fingers: The rigors of a long college basketball season are catching up to Kansas.

"We've got to go back, put some shots up, relax, rest our bodies a bit," KU coach Roy Williams said. "Kirk Hinrich is beat to death. Aaron Miles dislocated his finger during the course of the game. We have some problems. We've got to rest and be ready (for NCAAs)."

Hinrich iced his bruised left knee after the game. He suffered bruises on his right forearm Friday against Iowa State.

Miles, meanwhile, dislocated the index finger on his right (shooting) hand with 7:43 left, KU leading, 54-53. A doctor immediately popped the finger back into place. Miles returned -- with two fingers taped -- at 5:44.

"Rickey Paulding had the ball, and I swiped at it. It went backwards," Miles said of his digit. "It tightened up, and it swelled up."

Miles iced the finger after the game. KU trainer Mark Cairns said the finger would be X-rayed, but Miles shouldn't miss any practice time in preparation for the NCAAs.

Bryant Nash has been playing the last several weeks with a broken bone in his right thumb.

"It's fine. It's straight now," Miles said. "I pray I get healthy and will be ready for the NCAAs. It ain't gonna stop me from playing."

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Tube troubles: Williams said he had been impressed with everything about the Big 12 tournament and its new site, Dallas -- except one thing.

He's disturbed tourney games haven't been shown on TV at KU's team hotel, the Fairmont. It seems the local channel airing the games isn't available in the rooms.

Same story at the media hotel, the Renaissance.

Those hotels have a national cable package, with local TV stations only available in the lobby and/or hotel bars.

"I think they've got to get a new arrangement with the TV people," Williams said. "It's a pain in the butt not to be able to watch the games in your room. You've got to go down where everybody's having a party, drinking a few more beers in the lobby because it's a closed-circuit thing.

"I asked Quin (Snyder, MU coach), 'Did you have a problem with your hotel?' Every coach here is a raging lunatic. They can't watch the games. You need to be able to watch games. It's a pain in the rear as a coach. You want to watch everybody play, and Joe Blow is beside you wanting to know if you want another drink."

Williams does not drink alcoholic beverages.

"That's what the crap it's for, anyway, the biggest cocktail party in the South," Williams said of the postseason tourney.

In general, though, he gives the new venue thumbs up.

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Seed talk: KU today likely will earn a No. 1 or 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament. The Selection Sunday show on CBS will begin at 5 p.m.

So will it be a 1 or 2?

"I don't care as long as we are in the tournament," Langford said. "A tournament seed is just a number in front of a name."

"I don't know. I don't understand all that seeding stuff," sophomore Michael Lee said. "All we can do is look forward to the tournament and wherever they send us."

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Foul woes: KU forward Jeff Graves had six points in 25-foul plagued minutes against MU.

"It's the complete opposite of yesterday," said Graves, who had 16 points against Iowa State and had no foul woes. "I felt in the first half I picked up where I left off yesterday. But I had early foul trouble in the second half, and it took me out of the game."

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Errant shooting: KU hit just 35 percent of its shots against Missouri after hitting a Big 12 tourney-record 59.7 percent Friday.

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Giddens wins it all: KU signee J.R. Giddens had a better Saturday. He scored 12 points to lead Oklahoma City John Marshall High to a 50-46 Class 5A state-championship victory over Ardmore in Norman, Okla. Giddens scored 23 in Friday's semifinal win over previously undefeated Southeast. KU signee Jeremy Case had 34 points in McAlester High's 70-59 semifinal loss to Ardmore.

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