Hinrich, Jayhawks answer doubters with rout


ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Doctors who were surprised at how quickly Kirk Hinrich overcame a painful ankle sprain just don't know him as well
as Kansas coach Roy Williams.

Roy Williams' team was obviously fired up and ready to play. When the Jayhawks went on a 15-0 run at the beginning of the game, this one was over almost before it started. After struggling against Holy Cross, it was obvious the Jayhawks wanted to be well-prepared for this one. Kirk Hinrich is clearly healthy -- he looked good scoring 15 big points as Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Jeff Boschee added balance. The Jayhawks are rolling.

With a brace on the left ankle and thousands of Kansas fans
fearing he might be out for the year, Hinrich came off the bench
Saturday night to score 15 points and lead top-seeded Kansas past
Stanford 86-63 in the second round of the Midwest Regional on
Saturday night.

"The doctors were amazed. They were really, really
pessimistic," said Williams, who arrived at the arena still
thinking his All-Big 12 guard would not play.

"He's as tough a kid as I've ever coached, as disciplined a kid
as I've ever coached," Williams said.

Hinrich went in and shot 6-of-9 from the floor and made 3-of-4
3-pointers against the eighth-seeded Cardinal.

"I kept doing treatment until the time we left (the hotel). I
got out there in warmups and felt pretty good," Hinrich said.
"Once coach got me a chance out here, I got some adrenaline

The 6-foot-3 Hinrich, the Jayhawks' best defender, also spent
much of the game guarding Casey Jacobsen, Stanford's 6-6 swingman
who had 24 points.

"I knew he was going to play," Jacobsen said. "A player with
one good leg played with more heart than anyone on both squads."

Kansas (31-3) used a 15-0 run to open the game against the
eighth-seeded Cardinal, and then closed the first half on a 10-0
run, capped by Hinrich's jumper, to head into the locker room with
a 48-26 lead. The Cardinal (20-10) never put up even a mild threat
after that.

"It's tough enough to play them straight, much less getting
down big early," Stanford forward Joe Kirchofer said. "They
jumped on us early. We didn't do a good job defensively."

After losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament final last
Sunday and struggling to beat 16th-seeded Holy Cross on Thursday,
the Jayhawks appeared to regain the rhythm and flow of the
three-guard offense that made them the nation's highest-scoring
team with more than 91 points a game.

Their lead rose to 31 points twice in the waning minutes, the
last with 5:09 left when Drew Gooden hit from inside for an 82-51

Gooden was as amazed as the doctors at the way Hinrich bounced

"He could barely walk two days ago," Gooden said. "For him to
come back and do what he did tonight, and in only 21 minutes,
that's impressive. That's Jordan-like."

Jeff Boschee had 19 points and Nick Collison, who had five
points and six turnovers in the ragged 70-59 victory over Holy
Cross, rebounded with 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Jayhawks,
who will make their second straight trip to the round of 16.

"I was as motivated as I've ever been because of the way I'd
played," Collison said.

Hinrich, whose status was in doubt until game time, came off the
bench with 13:05 left in the first half.

Less than three minutes later, after Stanford's Curtis Borchardt
shot an air ball, Hinrich pulled up and hit a jumper to make it

After Josh Childress hit for Stanford, Hinrich drilled a
3-pointer at the 10:06 mark. Then, with 7:56 left in the half, he
hit another long 3 to put the Jayhawks up 31-15.

Gooden, the Jayhawks' All-America junior forward, had just four
points in the first half but finished with 15.

Three minutes into the second half, Gooden stole the ball at
midcourt and drove for a big dunk to give Kansas a 58-32 lead. With
13:40 left, Boschee stole a pass and threw the ball to Hinrich
streaking down court, who fed Gooden for a layup. The Jayhawks took
a 65-37 lead moments later when Hinrich hit another long 3. He was
3-of-4 from 3-point range, and 6-of-9 overall.

"You don't want to get down by 20 points to a team like
Kansas," Stanford's Chris Hernandez said.

Borchardt had 13 points and 11 rebounds for his 17th
double-double for Stanford, which did not score until he dunked
with 15:29 left in the half.