No. 2 Kansas 93, Tulsa 85

Sunday, December 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Kirk Hinrich is a man of action, not words.

Taking charge after Tulsa erased a 15-point lead in the final minutes, the junior guard had two baskets and three crucial rebounds as No. 2 Kansas held on for a 93-85 victory Saturday night.

``I just decided I needed to attack, make something happen,'' he said. ``I just had to do something. I said, `Hey, I've got to step up and start making plays and help my team.'''

The Jayhawks (10-1) held a seemingly comfortable 73-58 lead, but then went into a 1-for-12 shooting slump. When Charlie Davis worked around Drew Gooden for a basket, it capped a 24-9 run by Tulsa (9-2) and forged an 82-82 tie with 2:49 left.

Then Hinrich, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, who is regularly overshadowed by forwards Gooden and Nick Collison, took charge. He hit a 10-footer with 2:18 left, then rebounded Antonio Reed's miss and hit a short jumper to give Kansas an 86-82 lead.

After Hinrich rebounded another miss by Reed a few seconds later, Gooden converted a free throw for an 87-82 lead with 58 seconds to go.

``I think the players and coaches knew we could play with Kansas,'' Tulsa coach John Phillips said. ``When we were down 14 (actually 15), it would have been easy for them to give up. But they didn't do that. They turned it up a notch.''

The Jayhawks, who have won 10 of their first 11 for the second year in a row, have won 22 in a row in Kemper Arena.

Gooden had 25 points and 16 rebounds, while Collison had 16 points and seven rebounds, providing a near-total dominance inside over the Hurricane, who are 0-for-10 all-time against teams ranked No. 2.

``Kirk is a competitor,'' Collison said. ``You might be able to replace me and Drew because there are other big guys. But, boy, if he went down, I don't know if we'd be able to replace him. He's as important as anybody.''

Guards Dante Swanson and Reed each had 23 for Tulsa, and Greg Harrison had 19.

``We kept going hard tonight,'' Harrington said. ``But we didn't do what we wanted to do, and that was to win.''

Swanson got Tulsa's run started with a four-point play when he was fouled by Bret Ballard while sinking a long 3-pointer from the corner.

Reed's driving layup made it 81-80 with a little more than 3 minutes left, then Hinrich made a free throw for an 82-80 lead.

Hinrich wound up with 14 points and eight assists, while Jeff Boschee scored 15, including 4-of-5 3-pointers.

The Golden Hurricane hit five of their first seven shots from the floor but still trailed 14-13 because the Jayhawks shot 6-of-7.

Reed, eclipsing his season average in the first five minutes, connected on his first four 3-pointers and had 16 in the first half.

The Jayhawks, who were favored by 11 points, hit an 0-for-7 spell midway through the first half and the Golden Hurricane took a 25-20 lead on Greg Harrington's tip-in.

But then Gooden started getting loose inside and triggered a 10-3 run. The Golden Hurricane's next four baskets were all 3-pointers, including two by Swanson. But the Jayhawks took a 50-43 halftime lead on Boschee's 3-pointer and Gooden's jam.

``That's a good team. They really played hard,'' Gooden said. ``I think they ought to be ranked in the Top 20.''