Tuesday, March 5, 2002
A group of Kansas University students displayed a banner for all to see after the final home game of the 2001-02 season.
"Unstoppable, unbelievable, unforgettable," read the elongated sign in the south Allen Fieldhouse end zone.
That's as good a way as any to describe the Jayhawks, who defeated Missouri, 95-92, on Sunday in Columbia to become the first KU team in three decades to run through conference play undefeated.
"There's so much history and tradition," KU senior Jeff Boschee said. "To make history is special."
"Going undefeated is huge," KU junior forward Nick Collison said. "It might last awhile, you never know when a team will be able to do that again. To go in the record books is something special."
How did the Jayhawks accomplish the feat, which never before had been done in the Big 12?
The Jayhawks had what could be classified as close games at Nebraska (88-87), Texas (110-103, OT) and Iowa State (88-81), plus a closer-than-the-score-indicated 97-85 win at Colorado. KU also outlasted Oklahoma by seven 74-67 at Allen Fieldhouse.
KU had home routs of Nebraska (96-57), Missouri (105-73), Colorado (100-73), Texas Tech (108-81), Baylor (87-72), Iowa State (102-66) and Kansas State (103-68).
The Jayhawks won by 12 (86-74) at Texas A&M and 27 at K-State (98-71).
In all, the Jayhawks scored 100 or more points in six league games.
"Sixteen-and-oh is obviously a great accomplishment," KU junior Kirk Hinrich said. "The reason we could go 16-0 is because we talk about one game at a time.
"There have been a lot of good times, a lot of good memories. We have a ways to go, but it will be hard to close a chapter on this basketball team."
Here's a capsule-pictorial look at KU's perfect run through the Big 12.
1: No. 2 Kansas 97, Colorado 85
Jan. 5, 2002, Coors Event Center, Boulder, Colo. The Jayhawks defeated the Buffaloes for the 25th straight time and moved to 12-1 on the season.
KU led by as many as nine points in the opening half and took a 51-46 advantage into halftime behind Kirk Hinrich's 14 points. The Jayhawks started the second half on a 10-4 run, pushing their lead to 11, but the Buffs got back within four behind a trio of three-pointers.
With 5:30 to go, Kansas went on a 10-0 run in which freshman Keith Langford scored a pair of baskets.
Drew Gooden paced the Jayhawks with 27 points and had 14 rebounds. Jeff Boschee tossed in 20 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 performance from the free-throw line. Hinrich finished with 19 points and a career-high 12 boards. Nick Collison scored 11 and grabbed seven rebounds.
Above, KU's Aaron Miles (11) rejects a shot by CU's James Wright.
2: No. 1 Kansas 96, Nebraska 57
Jan. 9, 2002, Allen Fieldhouse - In its first game as the nation's No. 1-ranked team, Kansas lived up to its billing, running its winning streak to 13 straight.
The Jayhawks jumped on the Huskers early by shooting a blistering 80 percent from the field in the opening 10 minutes.
Kansas finished the half shooting 59 percent from the field to only 30 percent for Nebraska, taking a 57-24 lead into the half.
Despite the fact KU's shooting percentage fell drastically to just 38 percent in the second half, a the victory was never in doubt. Kansas outrebounded NU 57-24 and had 26 assists.
Aaron Miles broke a Kansas freshman record with his career-best 12 assists. The dozen dishes were also the most by a KU player this season.
Nick Collison, in photo at left driving on NU's Justin Boeker, paced the offensive attack, firing for 20 points, snagging 13 boards and blocking four shots. Drew Gooden and Jeff Boschee added 16 points apiece.
3: No. 4 Kansas 79, No. 6 OSU 61
Jan. 15, 2002 Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Okla. Kansas bounced back from a 10-point nonconference loss at UCLA by rolling past sixth-ranked Oklahoma State. KU senior Jeff Boschee made the 270th three-point basket of his career late in the first half, breaking Billy Thomas' record of 269, to become KU's all-time leader.
Junior Drew Gooden, tearing down a rebound in photo at right, led the charge as Kansas went with a 22-6 run midway into the first half. Gooden scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the first half. Kirk Hinrich was also hot early, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the opening half.
After leading, 53-31, at the half, Kansas cooled off a bit in the second as Oklahoma State turned up its defensive effort a notch, holding KU to just 36 percent from the field. OSU outscored the Jayhawks, 30-26, in the second 20 minutes.
4: No. 4 Kansas 74, No. 5 Oklahoma 67
Jan. 19, 2002. Allen Fieldhouse - Kansas won its second consecutive game over a Top 10 opponent. With the win, the Jayhawks (15-2) snapped the Sooners' 13-game winning streak and grabbed a tie for the lead in the Big 12 Conference race with a 4-0 record.
The first half was a defensive struggle that featured eight lead changes and two ties. Kansas made the final surge and capped it with a Kirk Hinrich jumper as the buzzer sounded. The Jayhawks took a 30-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.
KU came out on fire in the second half, hitting 10 of its first 12 shots and exploding to a 22-point lead at the 12:07 mark. Drew Gooden, Nick Collison and Hinrich responding to a tongue-lashing from KU coach Roy Williams, above led the attack in the final 20 minutes, pumping in 15, 11 and nine points, respectively.
Gooden finished with a game-high 19 points and snagged 10 rebounds. Collison had 17 points and nine boards. The junior forward also collected four assists and swatted three OU shots awry. Hinrich added 15 points and seven assists.
Freshman Keith Langford rounded out KU's double-figures scoring with 12 points.
5: No. 2 Kansas 88, Iowa State 81
Jan. 23, 2002, Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa Second-ranked Kansas snapped a five-game losing streak to the Cyclones. The Jayhawks used a Jeff Boschee three-pointer with 37 seconds remaining to take the lead for good and move to 16-2 on the season and 5-0 in Big 12 play.
The opening half was close throughout and the Jayhawks owned a 46-41 lead at the half.
Kansas looked like it might break the game wide open as it raced to a 12-point lead in the early part of the second half. But the Cyclones countered with a run of their own, outscoring KU 20-4 and gaining a four-point lead at 70-66 with 6:39 to go. The two teams were neck-and-neck until Boschee hit his fourth three-pointer to take the lead for good.
Drew Gooden paced Kansas with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Nick Collison, a native of Iowa Falls, Iowa, pumped in 16 points and grabbed 10 boards while Kirk Hinrich, a product of Sioux City, Iowa, had 12 points.
Boschee, taking an elbow to the face from ISU's Tyray Pearson in photo at right, was perfect, nailing all four of his three-point attempts and adding a pair of free throws for 14 points.
6: No. 2 Kansas 86, Texas A&M 74
Jan. 26, 2002, Reed Arena, College Station, Texas Kansas led the entire game, including holding a 43-31 advantage at the half. The Jayhawks' defense held Texas A&M to 38.8 percent shooting from the field.
KU was solid from the free-throw line as well, hitting 21 of 25 attempts, good for 84 percent.
The offense was paced by the trio of juniors Drew Gooden, Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich. Gooden hit for a game-high 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Collison, stretching for a rebound in photo above, pumped in 19 points and collected eight boards. Hinrich scored 15 points, dished eight assists and pulled down six rebounds.
7: No. 2 Kansas 105, No. 22 Missouri 73
Jan. 28, 2002, Allen Fieldhouse - Behind an impressive second-half effort, No. 2 Kansas scored a convincing win over Missouri.
The Tigers used sharp-shooting from three-point range in the first half to keep the game tight. MU was 8-of-15, including 4-of-5 by Clar-ence Gilbert, from beyond the arc.
Gilbert finished the first half with 16 points, but KU's Drew Gooden was one better, totaling 17 points. The junior knocked down his first six shots and the Jayhawks held a 43-42 advantage at intermission.
KU exploded in the second half, outscoring the Tigers by 20 points in the opening 61/2 minutes. The Jayhawks shot a blistering 65 percent from the floor and finished the game at 62 percent a season high and doubled up on MU, 62-31 in the final 20 minutes.
Gooden counted a game-high 26 points while snatching 10 rebounds. Fellow junior Kirk Hinrich contesting a rebound with MU's Wesley Stokes in photo at left sparkled as well, scoring a season-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
8: No. 2 Kansas 100, Colorado 73
Feb. 2, 2002, Allen Fieldhouse - Kansas ran its winning streak to six straight and picked up its second win of the season over Colorado. The Jayhawks, who have won the last 26 meetings with CU, remained undefeated at 8-0 halfway through the Big 12 Conference schedule and improved to 19-2 overall.
Colorado held the lead once after scoring the first basket, but the Jayhawks took over from there. Kansas, behind a 51 percent shooting effort and a big advantage on the glass (34-20), continued to build on its lead and took a 58-31 advantage into intermission.
In the second half, it was more of the same as KU led by as many as 42 points. The Jayhawks outrebounded the Buffs 49-45 and held them to 38 percent shooting.
Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Jeff Boschee pumped in 20 points apiece in the victory which marked the first time since Dec. 10, 1988, that three KU players had reached the 20-point plateau.
Milt Newton (24), Mark Randall (22) and Kevin Pritchard (26) turned the trick against Temple.
Boschee was 4-of-8 from three-point range, grabbed three rebounds and added an assist and a steal.
Gooden tallied his 17th double-double of the season with his 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Collison was 10-of-17 from the field and corralled six boards and blocked three shots.
Wayne Simien, in photo at right, had seven rebounds and six points.
9: No. 2 Kansas 98, Kansas State 71
Feb. 4, 2002, Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan KU defeated in-state rival Kansas State in front of a crowd of 12,238 at Bramlage Coliseum. The No. 2-ranked Jayhawks upped their overall record to 20-2, their best record at that point since 1997-98, and stayed perfect at 9-0 in the Big 12 Conference.
KU raced to 15-3 lead in the opening minutes by hitting its first six shots. Kansas attacked the glass in the first half pulling down 21 rebounds to just 10 for Kansas State.
Heading into the locker room, the Jayhawks were ahead, 51-30.
Kansas led by as many as 31 points in the second half and the Wildcats never came closer than 18.
All 14 KU players logged court time and 11 scored. Kansas knocked down 57 percent of its shots and tied a season-best by shooting 61.5 percent from three-point range (8-of-13).
KU's point total was the highest in the long history of the KU-KSU series, but it wouldn't last long (See Game 15).
Kirk Hinrich poured in 26 points (tying a career-high), dished six assists and paced the Jayhawks with seven rebounds. The junior guard connected on six of eight shots, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, and was a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Jeff Boschee tallied 16 points to go with six assists. He was 3-of-6 from three-point range. Nick Collison and Drew Gooden each put up 15 points with six and five boards, respectively.
In photo at left, Gooden (0) blazes between K-State's Mar-celo Da Barrosa, left, and Ivan Sulic.
10: No. 2 Kansas 108, No. 24 Texas Tech 81
Feb. 9, 2002, Allen Fieldhouse - Kansas tied its season high in points behind a career-best scoring performance from Kirk Hinrich.
The Jayhawks moved to 21-2 overall and 10-0 in the Big 12. The win marked the first time a KU team had opened conference play 10-0 since the 1970-71 season.
The Jayhawks, who had four players score in double figures, found themselves down early before going on a 13-0 run with seven minutes remaining, giving them a lead they would never relinquish.
Kansas closed the half with a 15-4 run and entered the locker room leading, 52-38.
Midway through the second half, the Jayhawks used a 22-1 run to extend their lead after the Red Raiders creeped to within nine points with eight minutes to play. The Jayhawks' point total matched the 108 against Div. II North Dakota on Dec. 22.
Hinrich recorded a 28-point performance. Drew Gooden poured in 21 points while Nick Collison had 20 points and blocked six shots.
Brett Ballard, No. 3 in photo at right, led a second-half bench celebration.
11: No. 2 Kansas 110, Texas 103, OT
Feb. 11, 2002, Erwin Center, Austin, Texas Kansas set a Big 12 Conference record with 11 consecutive victories and improved to 22-2 overall, but had to go into overtime to outlast the Longhorns.
The largest lead by either team was eight points when Kansas opened a 28-20 advantage with 10:53 to go in the first half. Every time the Jayhawks scored, though, it seemed the Longhorns had an answer.
Kansas nursed a 95-92 lead with 3:45 remaining in regulation, but the teams were tied at 96 as time ran out.
Guard Jeff Boschee nailed a couple of three-pointers in the extra period to fuel the OT triumph. It marked the first time Kansas had ever played in a game in which both teams scored in triple digits.
The Longhorns' 103 points snapped a 406-game streak in which Kansas teams held opponents under the century mark.
Also, it was only the ninth time in history that a KU foe had reached the 100-point plateau. The last time KU allowed an opponent to hit triple digits was Jan. 18, 1989, when Oklahoma scored 123 points.
Six Jayhawks scored in double figures with Drew Gooden in photo at left, dunking on UT's Deginald Erskin topping the list with 28 points.
12: No. 2 Kansas 87, Baylor 72
Feb. 16, 2002, Allen Fieldhouse - The Jayhawks survived a mild scare from Baylor as they collected their 10th straight win and remained unbeaten in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks, who avenged last season's loss to the Bears in Waco, improved to 23-2 overall and 12-0 in the Big 12.
The first half featured 11 lead changes and six ties before the Jayhawks took a 40-36 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, the Bears pulled within one, but had no answer for the Jayhawks' inside attack as KU extended its lead to 11 with five minutes to play.
Nick Collison led the Jayhawks with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Boschee, who scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half, finished 6-of-10 from behind the three-point line. Wayne Simien, No. 23 in photo above, had six points and four rebounds.
13: No. 1 Kansas 102, Iowa State 66
Feb. 18, 2002, Allen Fieldhouse - Kansas overpowered Iowa State and sealed at least a share of the Big 12 Conference regular season title. Top-ranked KU remained unbeaten in league play (13-0) with three games remaining and moved to 24-2 on the season.
The Jayhawks, playing in their fourth consecutive ESPN Big Monday game, lived up to their new billing as the nation's No. 1 team. KU erupted for a 16-2 lead at the 12-minute mark.
Drew Gooden was in a zone in the first half, hitting his first seven shots and finishing with 8-of-9 from the floor for 16 points.
ISU was unable to find a way to stop Nick Collison as well. The Iowa Falls, Iowa, product scored the first four points for the Jayhawks and had 10 points going into the locker room at the break.
KU's guards put the clamps on defensively, shutting down Iowa State's sharpshooters and combining for seven steals, including four by freshman point guard Aaron Miles. KU owned a 49-25 advantage at the halfway point.
Gooden finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and three blocks while Collison netted 16 points, pulled down seven boards and swatted a pair of ISU shots.
Reserve Wayne Simien hit seven of his 10 shots to go with six rebounds.
Kirk Hinrich reached double figures for the 27th time in the last 28 games with 10 points. Jeff Boschee tossed in a trio of three-pointers on his way to nine points. Miles dished nine assists. Keith Langford added eight points.
The Jayhawks and coach Roy Williams, at right, celebrated by clipping the net on the Allen Fieldhouse north goal.
14: No. 1 Kansas 88, Nebraska 87
Feb. 24, 2002, Devaney Sports Center, Lincoln, Neb. Top-ranked Kansas overcame Nebraska's scorching three-point shooting and claimed the Big 12 Championship outright and improved to 25-2 overall with their 12th straight win.
The two teams traded leads throughout the first half. The Cornhuskers hit eight three-point shots while Kansas did not manage a single one. KU tied the score at 41 just before the end of the half, however.
Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich led Kansas with 16 and 10 points, respectively, in the opening 20 minutes.
At the start of the second half, Kansas drained a pair of three-pointers, the first by Hinrich and the second by Jeff Boschee to take a six-point lead. But the Huskers weren't done. Nebraska went on a 13-2 run and took a 67-53 lead with 13:38 to go. NU would finish with 18 three-point baskets to set a school and a KU opponent record.
Kansas fought its way back, still trailing in the final minutes but getting big free throws from Hinrich and Boschee and a layup from Brett Ballard. Keith Langford hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with 33 seconds left to make it 88-87 and give KU the lead for the first time since the 16:26 mark. Boschee knocked Nebraska's inbounds pass into the backcourt with 13 seconds remaining to cost NU valuable time.
The Jayhawks shot 48.5 percent from the field and held the Huskers to a 39.4 mark. KU also outrebounded NU, 49-40.
Gooden led Kansas with 26 points and 14 rebounds (both game highs). Boschee and Hinrich each had 14 points. Hinrich also pulled down six rebounds, despite missing the majority of the second half because of foul trouble.
As the final seconds ticked off, the relieved KU bench erupted in celebration, above.
15: No. 1 Kansas 103, Kansas State 68
Feb. 27, 2002, Allen Fieldhouse
KU won its 19th straight Senior Night game, dropping in-state rival Kansas State for the 23rd straight time.
KU jumped to an early lead with five seniors in the starting lineup. The Jayhawks scored their first seven points off consecutive Kansas State turn-overs. KU shot 50 percent from the field (19-of-38) in the opening period and took a 50-30 lead into halftime.
The Jayhawks built on their lead in the second half, pushing the margin to as many as 42 points. For the game, KU outscored the Wildcats 23 to 2 in fast break points and 42 to 4 in points off turnovers. Kansas forced 28 K-State turnovers, while giving the ball up a season-low seven times.
Junior Kirk Hinrich scored a game-high 24 points and added six assists and four steals. He moved four points shy of his 1,000th career point.
Senior Jeff Boschee torched the nets for 22 points, including five three-pointers, dished three assists and pocketed four steals.
Junior Drew Gooden netted 16 points, corralled nine rebounds and blocked a career-best five shots in 26 minutes of play.
Junior Nick Collison finished with 12 points, four boards and three steals. Freshman Wayne Simien rounded out KU's double-figure scoring with 10 points, including an 8-of-8 effort at the free throw line, and a career-high four blocks.
After the game, KU's six seniors from left in photo above, Chris Zerbe, Lewis Harrison, Brett Ballard, Boschee, Jeff Carey and Todd Kappelmann spoke to the crowd and showed off the Big 12 championship hardware.
16: No. 1 Kansas 95, Missouri 92
March 3, 2002, Hearnes Center Columbia, Mo. Behind a career-best 28 points by Nick Collison and 25 from Kirk Hinrich, the Jayhawks completed the first 16-0 league sweep in Big 12 history.
It was Kansas' first undefeated league season since the 1970-71 Jayhawks went 14-0 in the old Big Eight.
But league win No. 16 didn't come easily.
The Jayhawks led 54-45 at halftime, but the Tigers wouldn't go away, chipping at the deficit before taking their first second-half lead at 92-91 with just under two minutes remaining.
Over the next two minutes, though, Collison drained a 17-foot jumper and Drew Gooden tipped in a rebound, and the Jayhawks recorded a turnover, a steal and a stop on defense.
Missouri's Clarence Gilbert missed a three-pointer with just under two seconds left.
At left, Kansas freshman Keith Langford, who had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting off the bench, celebrates in front of the Missouri faithful.