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Updated: Saturday, December 4, 2004 6:57 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(2) Kansas 81, Pacific 70

LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- Pacific came up with a strong effort in its first visit to the Allen Fieldhouse in nearly 38 years. But it was not strong enough to upset the second-ranked team in the country.

Keith Langford scored 21 points and Wayne Simien recorded his 26th career double-double as No. 2 Kansas posted an 81-70 victory over Pacific, which played its first game in Lawrence since December 13, 1966.

"It was a good experience," Pacific forward Christian Maraker said. "It is a good learning situation for us. It is not often that we play this good of a team away from home. It was a little intimidating to play here. I knew it was going to be crazy with their fans, and it was."

In a rematch of last season's second-round NCAA Tournament matchup, Kansas (4-0) knew it was in for a fight as it held just a 35-34 lead after the first half, which featured eight lead changes.

"I thought we did a good job in the first half," Pacific coach Bob Thomason said. "They made some runs, but we made some nice runs as well."

"We told everyone that (Pacific) was good and they were, by far, the best team we have played," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "Our defense wasn't great today, but we played pretty good. It was a game very similar to last year in Kansas City. We scored, then they would score. We would have a spurt, then they would have a spurt."

Maraker, who scored 22 points, opened the second half with a 3-pointer, giving the Tigers (2-1) a 37-35 advantage. But Aaron Miles' third 3-pointer of the game with 15:53 remaining ignited an 11-0 run by the Jayhawks that was culminated by Simien's dunk with 12:33 to go.

Junior Mike Webb's 3-pointer with 3:36 left drew Pacific within 72-66, but Miles made 5-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the victory.

Langford shot 8-of-16 from the field and Simien had 12 points, putting him ahead of Wayne Hightower for 33rd place in Kansas' all-time scoring list with 1,136. Simien added a season-high 15 rebounds, which moved him within one of Greg Dreiling (650) for 16th on the school's career list.

A national Player of the Year candidate, Simien has recorded a double-double in every game for the Jayhawks, who improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2000-01.

Marko Mihailovic scored 10 points for Pacific, which fell to 0-3 all-time against Kansas.

Langford, who dished out a career-high seven assists, opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and scored 11 of his season-high 21 points in the first half.

"This was only the fourth game, so I need to build off this," Langford said. "This was a confidence builder. I think my performance, along with Aaron's, was completely necessary to beat this team. ... Something had to be done and I wasn't going to sit back and watch."

"Langford had a sensational game," Thomason said. "We knew we had to have him have an off-night, and that did not happen."

Miles scored a season-high 19 points, recorded eight assists and had six steals, including four in the first 20 minutes.

"If you add the stat line of Keith and Aaron together, that is the best stat line of any twosome in America today," Self said. "Aaron was fabulous, he made only two bad plays the whole game. Other than those plays, that was as good as Aaron Miles has played. He was terrific."


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