KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas had the crowd on its side and a
desperate hunger to win. All California had was a six-game winning
streak built entirely in its own friendly gym.
It all added up to a 69-56 victory for the Jayhawks in Kemper
Arena on Saturday, thanks to a 24-6 surge that opened the second
"We needed this one real bad," said Brandon Rush, who had
eight points in the spree. "We were still confident. But we needed
to get our swagger back."
The victory squared the youthful Jayhawks' record at 4-4.
"This was a game we badly needed," said Kansas coach Bill
Self. "That's a talented team we played today."
C.J. Giles had six points during the surge that turned
California's 34-31 halftime lead into a 53-38 advantage for Kansas,
which looked terrible while missing nine of its first 10 shots.
Giles, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, also spent much of the game
guarding Cal's Leon Powe, a 6-foot-8 sophomore who had been
averaging 25 points and nine rebounds since returning from injury.
Powe sat out all last season and the first four games of this one,
but finished Saturday with eight points in the first half and 16
points and 11 rebounds for the game.
"When I would get the ball, they really clogged the lane,"
said Powe. "We tried to get better ball movement, but it was too
Omar Wilkes, who spent a year at Kansas before transferring back
to his native California, got a warm ovation from the Kemper Arena
crowd during pre-game introductions. He finished with 13 points.
"I lied before the game when I said this was just another
game," said Wilkes. "I really wanted to win this one. It's been
circled on my calendar for about a year and a half now. It doesn't
feel too good."
The loss was the first in seven games for the often impatient
Bears (6-2), who had won six straight at home after losing their
opener at Eastern Michigan.
"We got down early and didn't score and ended up taking a lot
of poor shots," said Bears coach Ben Braun. "Then, when we did
get an easy opportunity, we couldn't connect."
Rush got the second-half surge started with a bucket and then
made a nifty pass inside to Wright for another basket.
After Rush's three-point play and another Rush-to-Wright bucket,
Kansas had a 40-38 lead.
Then Rush canned a 3-pointer and Kansas outscored the Bears 11-0
and was never threatened again.
"I thought we did a good job getting the ball to the paint in
the second half," said Self. "We got the ball where we needed it
Giles consistently stymied Powe inside and rarely let him have
an easy shot.
"I thought C.J. did a good job the last 35 minutes of the
game," Self said. "He was probably a little nervous, but he's a
good player. He played great defense on Powe. He blocked five shots
but he had to alter seven or eight more. He was a great goalie
The mistake-prone Jayhawks had six turnovers and only three
points at the 13:03 mark of the first half. But they trailed only
7-3 because the Golden Bears, rarely working hard to get open
looks, were not much better.
The free-throw line, where the Bears had outscored their
opponents 124-58 while playing six of seven at home, was not nearly
as kind on the court where Kansas won the 1988 NCAA championship.
Cal was 12-for-17 from the stripe while Kansas was 11-for-14.
"By the time we figured it out," said Powe, "the game was