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No. 14 Kansas Tops Cent. Missouri, 97-70

December 5, 2002

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Keith Langford had 23 points to lead four Kansas players with at least 20 and the 14th-ranked Jayhawks rebounded from their embarrassing Thanksgiving week with a 97-70 victory over Central Missouri State on Wednesday night.

Nick Collison and Wayne Simien each added 22 points for the Jayhawks (3-2), who were coming off losses in the Preseason NIT to North Carolina and Florida.

The 22 points were a career-high for Simien, who also had 10 rebounds, while sophomore point guard Aaron Miles added a career-high 20 points.

Simien scored 10 points on dunks and finished 10-for-11 from the field.

Kansas didn’t take its first 20-point lead over the Mules (4-1) until Langford’s layup with 8:46 remaining made it 78-58.

The Jayhawks got their first field goal from a reserve 15 seconds later when Michael Lee’s driving layup game them a 22-point lead.

Kansas dominated inside, outscoring the smaller Mules _ an NCAA Division II team _ 46-22 in the paint, outrebounding them 52-21 and blocking 10 shots.

The Jayhawks’ perimeter defense was less dominating, though, allowing Central Missouri State to make 10 3-pointers and keep the game close into the second half.

Vince Haynes hit three 3-pointers and led Central Missouri State with 17 points. Jeremy McFall, who also hit three 3s, added 15 points and James Collins and Brian Rhodes each had 10.

The Mules, who missed their first five shots and trailed 8-0 less than 2 minutes into the game, scored their first 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. They didn’t make a 2-point basket until McFall hit a jumper from just inside the line with 10:32 left in the half to cut Kansas’ lead to 25-22.

Kansas responded with a 13-3 run over the next five minutes for a 38-25 lead and led 49-36 at halftime. The Mules got within double digits once in the second half, when Mark DeBaun’s basket cut the margin to 59-50 with 15:39 remaining, but Kansas answered with a 13-5 run over the next 4 minutes.

The Jayhawks were without senior guard Kirk Hinrich. The preseason All-American has a strained back but is expected to play on Saturday against No. 7 Oregon.

That game is a rematch of last year’s NCAA Midwest Regional final, won 104-86 by Kansas.

Hinrich’s replacement on Wednesday, junior Bryant Nash, had two points and eight rebounds.

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