March 16, 2002
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.
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 going."
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 lead.
Gooden was as amazed as the doctors at the way Hinrich bounced back.
"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 23-9.
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.