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TOP 25 BASKETBALL Simien paces Kansas



Published: Thu, February 20, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy was ejected for arguing a charging call.

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas' Wayne Simien got a lot better test of his shoulder than he wanted when Iowa State's Marcus Jefferson crashed into him from behind.

Simien, playing for the first time since dislocating his shoulder 11 games ago, got up and made one of two free throws. His shoulder held up fine.

Simien is back.

And No. 9 Kansas might actually be better off for his absence.

The Jayhawks went 9-2 in those 11 games, while reserves Jeff Graves, Michael Lee and Bryant Nash got a chance to pick up minutes and much-needed confidence.

"I took a hard foul in the second half," said the 6-foot-9 Simien, who had seven points in 18 minutes in a bruising 70-51 victory over the Cyclones on Sunday.

"Can't get fouled much harder than that. But it still felt pretty good and held up real well. I think that really helped my confidence."

When Simien dislocated his shoulder against Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas coach Roy Williams was concerned about his team's lack of depth. Now that concern is not nearly so acute as the Jayhawks (19-5, 9-1 Big 12) move into the final phase of the conference season in sole possession of first place.

"Jeff Graves is able to come in and do a lot more than he was early in the year," Williams said. "The biggest improvement is Jeff Graves. I've got more confidence in him. I've got more confidence in Michael Lee. Bryant Nash had two games where he did some nice things. The team is better and we are far better defensively."

Fouls

Iowa State (12-9, 2-8) picked up 26 personal fouls and three technicals, starting when coach Larry Eustachy was ejected with 12:08 left for arguing a charging call against Jackson Vroman.

As Eustachy raged, the foul was changed to traveling. But he didn't realize that, and was handed a second technical for continuing to argue.

"Will somebody please explain what happened?" Eustachy said. "I'm a little confused because I thought they called Jackson's fifth foul. I am pleading my case and then I had a technical out of left field and it all went from there."

Getting physical

Aaron Miles, who had 14 points, nine assists and a school-record nine steals, made three of the ensuing four free throws and Kansas led 45-31. But a minute later, a near-brawl ensued under the Jayhawks' basket when Vroman shoved Simien.

Jared Homan of Iowa State (12-9, 2-8) stepped in front of Simien to stop him from charging Vroman, then Miles shoved Homan from behind.

After order was restored, a shoving foul and technical foul were called on Vroman -- sending him out of the game with six fouls -- and a technical was called on Miles.

"We got tangled up a little bit and emotions ran high. Some words were exchanged," Simien said. "We talked after the game and it's OK. There's no grudge."

Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison scored 19 points apiece for the Jayhawks.

"It was just a dysfunctional day," Williams said.

Iowa State's Jake Sullivan made one of his free throws off the technical to make it 47-34. Then Kansas went on a 13-4 run and took a 60-38 lead that went to 66-43 with 4:24 left when Hinrich drilled two 3-pointers.

Sullivan had 18 points for Iowa State and Homan had 10.

No. 16 Wake Forest at No. 15 Maryland, Postponed

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The showdown for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference was postponed because of snow.

League-leading Wake Forest was already in town for the game at the Comcast Center, but officials called it off as more than a foot of snow was dumped on the Washington metropolitan area.

The game tentatively was rescheduled for this afternoon.

Wake Forest (17-3, 7-2) leads the defending national champion Terrapins (15-6, 7-3) by half a game in the standings.




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