Self-evident; Kansas wins for new coach
=== Self-evident; Kansas wins for new coach ===
Lawrence, KS (Sports Network) – Keith Langford poured in 24 points to lead
sixth-ranked Kansas to a 90-76 win over Chattanooga at Allen Fieldhouse in the
season-opener for both clubs.
Wayne Simien added 21 points, while David Padgett contributed 13 points and 10
boards in his first collegiate game for the Jayhawks (1-0), who rewarded new
head coach Bill Self with a win.
“He was pumped, he was ready,” said Langford about the new coach. “I think if
he could have put a uniform on he probably would have gone out there and
Self, who had spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Illinois, was
hired in the offseason after legendary KU coach Roy Williams took the head
post at his alma mater, North Carolina.
Kansas, which is coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances, including a
runner-up finish to Syracuse in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, has won 31
consecutive home openers.
Despite losing Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison to the NBA, the Jayhawks did not
slow down as their starters combined for 75 points. Kansas also hit 35-of-65
shots from the floor (54 percent), while holding the Mocs to just 44 percent
from the floor.
“There are a lot of things we have to improve on,” said Self.
Jason Rogan dropped 22 points and Ashley Champion netted 20 for the Mocs
(0-1), who have dropped both of their career meetings with Kansas.
Kansas led 12-11 early on, but the Mocs answered with a 10-0 run, highlighted
by three-pointers from Champion and Casey Long, and they grabbed a 21-12
cushion with 11:19 left in the first half.
Chattanooga’s margin reached 10 moments later at 24-14, but Kansas scored
eight straight points to close within 24-22 with 8:07 left in the half.
The Jayhawks took their first lead of the game, 27-26, on a three-pointer by
J.R. Giddens, but found themselves trailing 30-29 later in the half.
However, KU closed out the first half on a 13-0 run, culminated by Aaron
Miles’ layup, to grab a 42-30 lead at the intermission. Langford scored 13
points, while Champion also had 13 in the opening 20 minutes to pace the Mocs.
Padgett’s layup with 15:59 left in the game widened Kansas’ advantage to
54-37. The gap rose to 19 moments later on a basket by Simien.
Chattanooga tried to mount a comeback as it cut the deficit to 67-56 on Ray
Trowell’s three-point play with 8:41 left in the game. The Jayhawks would not
allow the game to get any closer though, as they stretched their lead to 22 at
82-60 on Simien’s dunk with 5:35 left.
The Mocs never seriously threatened again.
Self has a career record of 208-105 in 10 seasons as a collegiate head coach
that also included stops at Oral Roberts and Tulsa.
The Jayhawks last lost a home opener on December 1, 1972 against Vanderbilt.
Miles added 12 points and eight assists.