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Kansas Holds on Down Stretch to Beat St. John's

College basketball: Jayhawks make only two field goals in final five minutes, but win, 82-74.

November 11, 2000|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Kansas has the script for early season games down pat.

For the second consecutive night, the seventh-ranked Jayhawks had a hot-shooting first half then held on down the stretch, this time for an 82-74 victory over St. John's on Friday night to win the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

"For the atmosphere this was more like March Madness, something we had to adjust to early in the season," said Kansas' Kenny Gregory, the tournament's MVP.

"We let two big leads get away when teams made their runs but we showed a lot of composure. That's a big compliment to our team."

Kansas opened 2-0 for the 10th straight season and extended its November winning streak to 31 games, dating to a 1990 loss at Arizona State.

In their 99-98 opening-round win over No. 17 UCLA, the Jayhawks shot 65% in the first half and then held off the Bruins with offensive rebounding and perfect free-throw shooting.

It wasn't exactly that way against the Red Storm (1-1) before a crowd of 19,528 at Madison Square. Kansas shot 63% in the first half, but had only two field goals over the final five minutes and went five for 10 from the line over the final 2:13.

"It was a team concept and a lot of guys did things to help us," Coach Roy Williams said.

"It was really special that we didn't back up when they kept making plays, we made our own."

Drew Gooden had 22 points and nine rebounds for Kansas, while Gregory added 17 points and 10 rebounds.

"This is a real steppingstone for our season," Gooden said. "We beat two legitimate teams."

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