Wildcats rally, snap 31-game losing streak to Jayhawks

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- In just three days, Kansas State took its

coach from the lowest point of his career to the rush of beating

the Wildcats' archrival for the first time.

"Could you have believed it?" Jim Wooldridge said Saturday,

after his team rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to beat

Kansas 59-55 and snap a 31-game losing streak to the Jayhawks.

"How could you have guessed that anything like this was going to


The Wildcats were coming off a 57-42 home loss to Nebraska in

which they made only 11 field goals -- a loss Wooldridge called his

most embarrassing as a player or coach. Kansas, meanwhile, had won

seven straight and seemed to be finding its stride.

"I underestimated them a little bit, seeing how they lost to

Nebraska," Kansas freshman guard Brandon Rush said. "But that

won't happen again. We won't underestimate anybody any more."

Akeem Wright, 1-for-5 from the free throw line to that point,

sealed Kansas State's win by hitting the second of two free throws

with 9 seconds left. And instead of "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU,"

the only chant that rang out at Allen Fieldhouse after the game was

"K-S-U, Wildcats."

"We just told him to focus and to not feel any pressure out

there," said Cartier Martin, who had 14 points despite missing

much of the second half with foul trouble. "We said, 'There's no

pressure on you. Just go out there and shoot it like normal, and it

will fall."

Clent Stewart led Kansas State (10-4, 1-2 Big 12 Conference)

with 15 points. Wright had a career-high 10 rebounds for the

Wildcats, who won for the first time in the series since a 68-64

victory -- also in Lawrence -- on Jan. 17, 1994.

"This is sweet," Stewart said. "This is a big day for the

fans who came here, a big day for Kansas State University. It's

been so long."

Kansas State, which scored just 18 points in the first half,

went up 50-47 on Stewart's jumper with 4:15 left in the game.

Russell Robinson's 3-pointer tied it at 50 with just under 3

minutes to go, but the Jayhawks (10-5, 1-1) never led again.

They got within 58-55 on Rush's free throw with 50 seconds left,

and had two chances to tie with a 3-pointer after Kansas State's

next two possessions ended in a turnover and a missed 1-and-1.

The Jayhawks elected to attack inside, hoping to draw fouls for

a possible three-point play -- but couldn't make their shots.

Kansas shot 32 percent (17-for-51) for the game.

The Wildcats appeared to be in trouble when Martin, their

leading scorer, picked up his fourth foul and sat down with 13:45

left. Kansas led 40-31 after Rush hit the resulting free throws.

"We had control of the game at that point," Kansas coach Bill

Self said, "but then we just had a lot of bad possessions in the

last 10 minutes."

Mario Chalmers, who led Kansas with a career-high 20 points, hit

a 3-pointer on the Jayhawks' next possession to make it 43-31. But

Kansas struggled to run its offense against the Wildcats' 2-3 zone,

a second-half adjustment by Wooldridge, and the Wildcats slowly

pulled back into contention.

By the time Martin re-entered the game with 5:35 left, a 15-4

run had moved the Wildcats within 47-46. The first thing he did was

rebound Dramane Diarra's miss and put it back to give Kansas State

a 48-47 lead with just under 5 minutes to go.

Rush, suspended Thursday by the NCAA but reinstated a day later,

had 12 points for the Jayhawks. Robinson had 11 points for Kansas.

In a statement issued Saturday, the school said the NCAA first

determined that Rush had improperly received benefits from an agent

after applying for the 2005 NBA draft. He later withdrew his

application and signed with the Jayhawks.

Rush was reinstated after Kansas appealed his suspension. The

school said the violation occurred when another player's agent

assisted in arranging tryouts for Rush with professional teams. The

NCAA found that Rush did not know about the agent's actions.

Rush declined comment on the suspension after the game.