Jayhawks Get Tested in Opening Win

Nov. 19, 2004

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The No. 1 ranked University of Kansas started the season off with a tough 68-61 home win over visiting Vermont, Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse. The Catamounts led 58-56 with 3:32 remaining, before sophomore J.R. Giddens nailed a three to give the Jayhawks the lead for good.

In the hard-fought first game for both teams, there were 10 lead changes and seven ties. Kansas senior and pre-season All-American Wayne Simien had his hands full with Vermont senior Taylor Coppenrath. The two battled on the floor and in the box score with Simien scoring a game-high 25 points and grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds. Coppenrath also had a great first outing with 23 points and seven boards.

“Vermont played great tonight,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “We were too impatient and anxious on the offensive end tonight. We found a way to win, which was good. We will have to build off this win, but hopefully improve a lot.”

The KU bench had a big night outscoring Vermont 20-9. Giddens came off the bench to score 12 points, while freshman Darnell Jackson added eight.

Senior Keith Langford rounded out the KU double-figure scorers with 12 points. Fellow senior Aaron Miles dished out a game-high nine assists to go along with seven rebounds. The Jayhawks held Vermont to just 22-of-65 from the field on the game.

With the win, the Jayhawks have won their last 32 home openers. Kansas (1-0) will host Saint Joseph’s Tuesday, Nov. 23. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.