Simien Steps Up for Kansas

From Associated Press

Wayne Simien scored 28 points and hustling, hard-nosed No. 6 Kansas withstood a late rally in the first marquee matchup of the season to defeat No. 3 Michigan State, 81-74, Tuesday night at Lawrence, Kan.

"I saw some things out there tonight that I have seen only a few times in practice," Kansas first-year Coach Bill Self said.

"I hope it gives us credibility with our players that our system works. We won a money game tonight. I think the guys will gain confidence."

Kansas (2-0) made its first six shots of the second half and led, 54-39, as venerable Allen Fieldhouse rocked in the showdown between preseason favorites of the Big 12 and Big Ten conferences.

But Shannon Brown, who scored only one point in the first half, made three consecutive baskets and ignited a 12-2 run for the Spartans (1-1).

Paul Davis, Michigan State's 6-foot-11 sophomore, sliced the lead to 76-72 with 2:22 to play.

But on Kansas' next possession, J.R. Giddens rebounded a Michael Lee miss and dunked the ball, bringing the crowd of 16,300 to its feet and putting Kansas on top, 78-72.

Lee then rebounded a Davis miss inside and Aaron Miles made two free throws with 26 seconds to go to seal the victory.

Simien, a 6-7 junior who sat out 22 games last season because of a separated shoulder, had 18 points in the rough-and-tumble first half.

"I got into a pretty good rhythm," he said. "I felt really good out there."

Maurice Ager had 17 points and Alan Anderson had 16 for the Spartans.

No. 8 Florida 112, Montana State 73 -- Sophomore Christian Drejer, a standout from Denmark who struggled last season because of injuries, had career highs of 19 points and 11 assists to lift the Gators at Gainesville, Fla.

David Lee scored 20 points for the Gators (1-0), who outrebounded the Bobcats (2-1), 47-17.

No. 13 Saint Joseph's 71, Boston University 56 -- Delonte West scored 20 points to lead Saint Joseph's at Boston.

West scored nine of the first 14 points by the Hawks (2-0) in the second half, including a layup with 12:23 left that gave the Hawks a 52-32 lead.

Ryan Butt led Boston (0-2) with 20 points.

No. 14 Oklahoma 81, Tulsa 73 -- Jaison Williams scored 16 points, and the Sooners outscored the Golden Hurricane, 12-6, in the final 2:17 to seal their 34th victory in their last 35 home games.

Tulsa (1-1) shot 59% from the field but couldn't keep the quicker, more aggressive Sooners (3-0) from controlling the pace.

No. 15 Wisconsin 81, Eastern Illinois 47 -- Freddie Owens scored a career-high 24 points, and the Badgers (2-0) overcame shooting struggles to extend their home winning streak to 14 games.

Jason Wright scored 11 points for Eastern Illinois (0-2), which committed 23 turnovers.

The Badgers shot 38% from the field but were 34 for 41 from the free-throw line.

No. 25 North Carolina State 71, Howard 51 -- Scooter Sherrill scored 17 points and Julius Hodge had 15 to lift the Wolfpack (2-0) at Raleigh, N.C.

North Carolina State improved to 59-6 at home against nonconference opponents under Coach Herb Sendek, now in his eighth season.

Louis Ford scored 13 points to lead the Bison (1-2).

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