The No. 1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks faced a tough task from the Vermont Catamounts on Friday in the opening game of the 2004-05 season, but held on for a 68-61 victory after overcoming a late Vermont lead.
"Vermont's good, of course, we knew that before the game started," KU head coach Bill Self. "These guys are really good. They played great today. We didn't play very smart at times.
"We played too fast offensively ... too impatient, too nervous. It was a big win. Those are the games that you've got to win."
Vermont led by two points as late as 4:15 left in the game, owning a 58-56 advantage after a dunk by Wayne Simien.
J.R. Giddens hit a three-pointer on KU's next possession, and KU never trailed again.
Kansas pulled out the win despite shooting just 38 percent (21 of 55) from both the field and three-point range (6 of 16)
"This is about as bad offensively as I think we can do ... but I'm happy to get out of here with a win," Self said.
The Jayhawks opened the game by taking a 6-2 lead, but Vermont battled back and taken a 14-8 lead six minutes in.
Kansas used an 15-2 run to take a 23-16 lead over the next five minutes. Vermont tied the game at 25-all on four straight points by T.J. Sorrentine with just more than four minutes left.
Simien gave KU a 27-25 lead on the following possession, and the Jayhawks outscored the Catamounts 4-3 over the final four minutes for a 31-28 halftime lead.
Kansas opened a 38-32 lead four minutes into the second half, but Vermont closed to within a point by scoring the next five points and took a 41-40 lead with just less than 14 minutes left in the game.
The teams then traded three-pointers before Christian Moody tied the game with a free throw with less than 12 minutes left.
Vermont regained the lead on a three-pointer by Josh Duell two minutes later, going up 49-48.
After the teams battled back and forth, Kansas regained the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Moody with just under three minutes left.
Aaron Miles then hit a jumper - his first in nine tries - as the shot clock expired, giving extending KU's lead to four points, 63-59, with just under two minutes left. Kansas then held on for the victory.
Langford had 13 points for KU, and Simien had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Darnell Jackson had eight points, Aaron Miles had three points, seven rebounds and nine assists, and Giddens had 12 points and seven boards.
Michael Lee had three points, and Moody had five points and six rebounds.
Martin Klimes had four points for Vermont before fouling out, Taylor Coppenrath had 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Sorrentine had 13 points.
David Hehn had eight points and eight rebounds, and Josh Duell had six points and five boards. Germain Mopa Njila had four points and four steals, and Ryan Schneider had three points and six rebounds.
The Jayhawks were 21-of-55 shooting from the field, including 6-of-16 from three-point range, and 20-of-29 shooting from the free throw line.
The Catamounts were 22-of-65 shooting, including 8-of-31 from long distance, and 9-of-16 shooting from the charity stripe.
All stats are unofficial.