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Giddens' free throw seals win

2/22/2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- The shot that coach Bill Self called the
biggest of the year for Kansas only kept his team in the game.

It was a free throw by freshman J.R. Giddens with 3 seconds left
in overtime that won it. After squandering a 17-point lead in
regulation and then almost giving away a seven-point advantage in
overtime, the Jayhawks (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) escaped with a 90-89 victory over Iowa State on Saturday.

"There were so many good things that happened," Self said.
"Guys showed some courage and kept fighting and I am really
pleased with them."

Keith Langford, who had been misfiring most of the day, hit a
3-pointer with 28 seconds left in regulation to tie it for the
Jayhawks at 72. Then Giddens hit a free throw with 3 seconds left
in overtime before Will Blalock threw in a 3-pointer at the buzzer
for the Cyclones, who lost their 23rd straight conference road
game.

Iowa State (14-9, 5-7 Big 12) led 72-69 when Langford blocked
Curtis Stinson's shot and then connected on his 3-pointer to force
the extra period for the Jayhawks (17-6, 9-3).

"He's got a lot of courage,"Self said. "That's the biggest
shot anybody's made this year for us."

Langford had been struggling but Self called the play for him.

"I was surprised when it came to me," Langford said. "But I'd
rather make the play myself than trust anyone else to do it."

Stinson and Jared Homan each had six points in an 18-1 run that put the Cyclones ahead of the stunned Jayhawks 67-62 with 2:55
left.

Then Giddens, who had six 3-pointers in the first half, broke a
5-minute scoring drought with another 3.

"This is one of the most draining losses I have ever had,"
Iowa State's Jake Sullivan said.

Stinson, the leading scorer in a talented crop of Big 12
freshmen, had 26 points while Jackson Vroman had 17 points and 19
rebounds.

"At the end of regulation and in overtime, Kansas did what they
needed to do to win," first-year Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan
said. "Our team absolutely put forth a valiant effort in the
second half, especially considering that we were down by 17 at one
point. That speaks for itself."

When David Padgett hit a follow shot with 9:44 left, the
Jayhawks -- who had won 24 straight home conference games -- held a
61-49 lead.

But then Stinson and Homan fueled the 18-1 run.

"They kicked us all over the court," Giddens said. "We didn't
rebound or anything."

Kansas led 86-79 lead with 1:04 left in overtime on a free throw
by Aaron Miles. But Stinson's 3-pointer shaved the lead to four
points and then Vroman made it 88-85 a moment later with a free
throw.

Giddens had 24 points for Kansas, while Wayne Simien had 20
points and 14 rebounds and Langford had 17 points.

Sullivan had 16 points and Blalock added 12 for Iowa State.

"We're proud of ourselves because we were down by a lot but
still fought back," Stinson said. "We just didn't make the big
shots at the end."

There was a bizarre officiating error in the first half. Homan
went to the free throw line and missed, then Kansas rebounded and
all the players rushed down court, where Giddens put in a 3-pointer
for a 37-24 lead. Then officials called a timeout and decided that
Homan should have had a second free throw.

Giddens' 3-pointer was counted as Homan went to the line and
made his next free throw.

"I am not allowed to talk about that, but I have never seen a
situation where there was a two-shot foul, with the player missing
the first and the other team rebounds and goes down and scores,"
Morgan said.