Kansas still rolling; losses could drop Tech, Missouri from rankings

Monday, February 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Right now the Big 12 race is for second place behind Kansas _ and the second-ranked Jayhawks, off to their best conference start in more than 20 years, plan to keep it that way.

``It's tough to stop this team right now,'' said forward Drew Gooden, who scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds in Saturday's 108-81 victory over No. 24 Texas Tech. ``But I'm not a coach, so it's not my job to figure out how to stop us. It's my job to go out and keep putting up the wins.''

Kansas, 21-2 overall, is 10-0 in Big 12 play for the first time since the 1970-71 Jayhawks went a perfect 14-0 in the Big 8. No. 4 Oklahoma is 8-2 in conference games, 19-3 overall, after beating Texas A&M 88-84 on Saturday.

Those wins should keep Kansas and Oklahoma in the Top 5, but a shake up further down the list is all but certain when the next rankings by The Associated Press come out on Monday.

Texas Tech will likely drop out after going 0-2 last week, including Saturday's loss to the Jayhawks. So will No. 22 Missouri _ once ranked as high as second _ after being upset 81-80 by Baylor.

And on Sunday, No. 14 Oklahoma State lost 58-52 to Fresno State in a nonconference game.

Texas, meanwhile, made a strong case for readmittance to the rankings with its 104-95 win over Colorado on Saturday.

In Saturday's other conference game, Nebraska beat Kansas State 99-82.

At Lawrence, Kan., Gooden was one of three Kansas players with at least 20 points as the Jayhawks passed the 100-point mark for the third time in four games.

Kirk Hinrich led Kansas with a career-high 28 points and Nick Collison had 20.

``I think we just got beat by a much better team,'' Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said _ but it wasn't easy for the Jayhawks.

Texas Tech (16-6, 5-5) forced seven early turnovers and led 27-20 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half, but Hinrich scored eight points in a 13-0 run that gave Kansas the lead for good.

Nathan Doudney and Andre Emmett led Texas Tech with 15 points each.

At College Station, Texas, Oklahoma used a pair of double-doubles to hold off Texas A&M's upset bid. Aaron McGhee scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds, and Quannas White had 12 points and 12 assists.

The Aggies (9-15, 3-7) held Hollis Price, Oklahoma's leading scorer, to 12 points.

``We just wanted to come out and try to execute our offense a little better,'' McGhee said. ``They were boxing Hollis, so other guys had to step up and score. That's what I tried to do.''

Nick Anderson led Texas A&M with 19 points and Bernard King had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

At Waco, Texas, Matt Sayman hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to give Baylor (14-9, 4-7) the upset win over Missouri.

``The first one, it was scary. It hit every part of the rim,'' said Sayman, a 76 percent free-throw shooter. ``It's something you practice over and over. Making that one gives confidence in the second one.''

Missouri (17-7, 6-4) still had one more chance, but Kareem Rush _ whose foul sent Sayman to the line for the game-winning free throws _ couldn't hit his last shot from the lane.

``We got the ball in our best player's hands. That's a tough play to lose on,'' said Missouri coach Quin Snyder. ``Baylor did some good things. They changed their defense and were switching everything.''

Rush scored 29 points for Missouri, including seven 3-pointers.

John Lucas and Wendell Greenleaf led Baylor with 19 points each.

At Austin, Texas, freshman point guard T.J. Ford scored a season-high 22 points and also handed out 12 assists for the Longhorns.

Six players scored in double figures for Texas (16-7, 7-3 Big 12). Ford went 6-of-8 from the floor and hit all 10 foul shots in the Longhorns' highest scoring output of the season.

``Basketball is a simple game. I just took what the defense gave me,'' said Ford, who came in leading the nation in assists with 8.4 per game and has 11 double-digit assist games this season. ``When they gave me the chance to drive I did. When they backed off, I would shoot it. It was a lot of fun.''

D.J. Harrison and Michel Morandais each scored 22 points to lead Colorado (13-8, 4-6), which remains winless on the road in the Big 12.

On Sunday at Fresno, Calif., Damon Jackson scored a career-high 24 points and Travis DeManby added a school-record 11 steals as Fresno State upset Oklahoma State.

Jackson shot 7-for-11 from 3-point range for the Bulldogs (15-10), who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Ivan McFarlin and Williams each scored 12 points for Oklahoma State (18-6), which committed 25 turnovers and shot just 35 percent from the field.

Oklahoma State played without leading scorer Maurice Baker, who sustained a high ankle sprain during Wednesday's victory over No. 24 Texas Tech.

On Saturday at Lincoln, Neb., Jake Muhlheisen hit all 11 of his free-throw attempts and scored a career-high 21 points as Nebraska (11-10, 4-6) came within a point of breaking 100 for the first time in 201 games against Kansas State.

``It was a disappointing effort on the defensive end for us,'' Kansas State coach Jim Woolridge said. ``Take nothing away from Nebraska, that is a team that averages 65 points a game. We gave them 99.

``We've been a bad road team and we continue to be a bad road team.''

Phineas Atchison had 21 points to lead the Wildcats (9-12, 3-7).

Kansas State made two more field goals than Nebraska and two more 3-pointers, but the Huskers went 35-of-42 from the free throw line compared to 12-of-17 for the Wildcats.