- The Washington Times - Monday, March 25, 2002

MADISON, Wis. The Jayhawks met a team that wanted to run with them. They jumped all over the Ducks instead.
Drew Gooden and Nick Collison each had double-doubles by early in the second half yesterday, and top-seeded Kansas never trailed in a 104-86 rout of Oregon that put the Jayhawks in the Final Four.
Kansas controlled the fast, end-to-end action in the Midwest Region final and dominated the boards, outrebounding second-seeded Oregon 63-34. Indeed, Gooden and Collison outrebounded the Ducks all by themselves 35 to 34 and the Jayhawks grabbed 26 offensive rebounds, leading to 31 second-chance points.
"We knew the way to beat them was to beat them on the boards and get extra shots," Gooden said. "I think it was contagious. We were relentless out there on the backboards."
Gooden had 18 points and 20 rebounds, and Collison added 25 points and 15 rebounds, putting the Jayhawks (33-3) in their first national semifinal since 1993 and third under coach Roy Williams.
But this is the first time in five tries that Williams has taken a top-seeded team to the Final Four. His other appearances came as a No.3 in 1991, and a No.2 in 1993.
Kansas will play Maryland, a 90-82 winner over Connecticut in the East Region final, in Atlanta on Saturday.
Two other Jayhawks nearly joined forwards Gooden and Collison with double-doubles. Freshman reserve Keith Langford had 20 points and eight rebounds, and Kirk Hinrich scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
"They crash the boards all the time, every single play," said Frederick Jones, who led the Ducks with 32 points. "Their guards came in and got some, too. It was an all-around effort."
The Jayhawks, the nation's highest-scoring team with a 91-point average, outmuscled and outhustled the beefier Ducks on the glass, fueling their up-tempo game.
"I liked it because it was up and down, even though we were beating each other for layups," Gooden said. "You probably can't see my feet right now. I've got my shoes off. My dogs are hurting."
Kansas led 48-42 at halftime and stretched its lead to 73-59 on a runner by Hinrich with 9:50 left.
Anthony Lever hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 10-2 Oregon run that made it 75-69 with 8:30 remaining. Lever's third 3-pointer made it 77-72 seconds later.
"I thought we were going to blow it out several times. But they're a hard-fighting team, a great team, and they didn't give in," Jayhawks point guard Aaron Miles said.
But Kansas scored the next 10 points, four by Collison, to end the Ducks' dreams of reaching the Final Four for the first time since they won the first NCAA championship in 1939.
"I told Nick and Drew to get on the backboard," Williams said. "I got on them a little bit in the first half and at halftime because I felt they were trying to be perimeter players. I told them, 'We're going to win this basketball game inside. We're going to win this game on the backboards. I don't need you guys to be perimeter players.'
"Drew took all that as constructive criticism. Twenty rebounds, what more can you say? Nick Collison battled his rear end off."
It appeared as though the Jayhawks were going to run away with it early when Hinrich's layup gave Kansas a 40-28 lead.
But the Ducks (26-9), playing in a regional final for the first time in 42 years, scored the next 12 points, seven by Jones, to tie it at 40 with 2:57 left in the first half. Jones had two slam dunks off steals and capped the burst with a 3-pointer.
Oregon had two chances to take the lead, but Luke Ridnour (nine points) missed a layup, and Jones missed a 3-pointer, and Collison's basket put the Jayhawks back ahead for good.


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