|01-10-2005, 05:44 AM|
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Monday, January 10, 2005
C.J. Giles said he broke into a cold sweat on Kansas University's charter flight Saturday afternoon to the Bluegrass State.
Fear of flying had nothing to do with the Seattle freshman center's jitters.
"I was nervous on the plane all the way until we got here. I didn't feel better until after the jump ball. After my first block, I really felt good," Giles said after scoring a career-high 10 points and grabbing six rebounds in the Jayhawks' 65-59 victory.
He had eight points and six rebounds early, about KU's only offense as the Jayhawks crept to a 15-9 lead with seven minutes left in the first half.
Coach Bill Self told KU's freshmen big men they needed to outplay UK's highly-regarded freshman class. Kentucky's four freshmen had 11 points; KU's had 22.
"Coach said one thing. He said, ‘The freshmen have to play hard,'" Sasha Kaun said after scoring a career-high seven points with four rebounds. "He challenged us to play harder than their freshmen."
Kaun didn't have as many jitters as his pal Giles.
"I was a little bit nervous," he said. "But I tried to calm down before the game. It was a very great experience."
Kaun played especially well considering he had some physical trouble last week. An infection following a root-canal surgery caused his face to swell.
"It's definitely a relief to me that I felt good today. I had some stuff to go through with the infection," Kaun said, noting he had another root-canal treatment slated for today. "I think it'll be my last one. I hope so."
Self and Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said they never had been involved in a game with so many players forcing jump balls.
"Never, never," KU's Michael Lee said. "I'll take 50-50 every time. You go for the ball. We needed to bring that effort."
The crowd of 24,367 was second-biggest in Kentucky history.
The biggest came in 2003 against No. 1 Florida (24,459).
KU publicly has reprimanded Keith Langford for comments critical of the officiating in Wednesday's KU-Texas A&M game. As penalty, Langford can't speak to the media for an undetermined length of time.
"The University of Kansas does not condone Keith's comments," KU athletic director Lew Perkins said. "Keith is a great young man, but he must learn that comments like these violate the principles of sporting behavior that KU and the Big 12 Conference espouse."
Langford played just five minutes the first half after picking up two quick fouls.
"That was sickening," Langford said after the game. "I couldn't ... the referees ... I don't want to say anything bad, but when you can't get a call in your own gym and freshmen (on A&M) on the other end are getting all the calls, it's frustrating, but we won. I was in there at the end, and Kansas is 10-0. That's the important thing."
It's possible he was slapped because he already had been reprimanded by the NCAA. He made critical comments about the officiating after last year's loss to Georgia Tech in the NCAA Tournament.
Faces in crowd
Legendary college coach Clarence "Big House" Gaines was honored at halftime. ... Ashley Judd not only attended, but was introduced and headed to center court to lead cheers during a second-half timeout. She put the "Y" on Kentucky during the cheerleaders' spelling out the name of the school. ... KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, once Kentucky's chancellor, attended, as did representatives of Sports Illustrated, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ESPN.com and the Sporting News. In all, 21 NBA teams were represented on press row, including ex-Jayhawks Kevin Pritchard and Milt Newton, directors of player development for the Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards.