LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas' 79-61 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday didn't stop Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton from taking everybody by surprise.
After combining for 43 points in their final home game for No. 7 Kansas, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison went to the bench with 55 seconds left, hugging coaches and teammates as the sellout crowd roared.
Then the noise reached a crescendo as Sutton trotted all the way down the court to embrace the startled players who had just beaten his Cowboys (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP).
"Those two guys are the type of people we would all like to recruit as coaches,'' Sutton said. "They have just had a remarkable career. I wanted to tell them they brought a lot of class not only to the University of Kansas, but to the Big 12.''
Sutton's gesture caught Collison completely off guard.
"He said it's been a lot of fun coaching against me. It was really a classy move by him, and it means a lot to me,'' Collison said. "He's as good a coach as there is in basketball.''
The 6-foot-9 Collison had 24 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots -- one short of the school record -- for the Jayhawks (22-6, 12-2).
Hinrich had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists as Kansas beat the Cowboys (20-7, 9-5) for the 11th straight time in Allen Fieldhouse.
"Coach Sutton is a great coach,'' Hinrich said. "His teams always play hard and execute well. He's a classy guy.''
Both starters as freshmen, Hinrich and Collison played in only three home losses in four years and head into the final weeks of their college careers with a 105-27 record.
"They're as tough a competitors as any kids I've ever coached,'' Kansas' Roy Williams said. "And I've never coached better kids.''
If Sutton had gotten a technical foul for leaving the coaching box, the Allen Fieldhouse crowd would have been treated to a comical sight at the free throw line.
"I would have sent somebody out there to shoot it backward,'' Williams said.
Tony Allen had 21 points for Oklahoma State, while Victor Williams had 18 and Melvin Sanders 13.
Keith Langford had 12 points for Kansas, which maintained its one-game lead over Oklahoma in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks launched the second half with a 10-4 run, seizing a 50-37 lead and sparking another big roar from the crowd that was already on an emotional pitch.
A moment later after Williams made two free throws after an intentional foul was called against Michael Lee to make it 50-40, Collison scored five points in a 7-0 run.
After Ivan McFarlin's basket made it 59-47, Lee's two free throws ignited a 12-4 run gave the Jayhawks a 20-point lead.
Oklahoma State frustrated the Jayhawks through much of the first half until Collison sparked a 14-3 run to take a 28-15 lead.
The Cowboys went more than 4 minutes without scoring, then twice got within four. Allen's three-point play with 6 seconds left made it 37-33, then Collison hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
After the game, Collison and Hinrich each made emotional remarks to the crowd. Hinrich broke up when trying to thank his parents, who were sitting in the crowd.
Three times he started by saying, "I love you guys,'' then could not continue. Finally, he just left it at that, saying once more, "I love you guys,'' and wiped his eyes as he left the court to a standing ovation.
|Oklahoma State Box Score|
Blocked Shots: Williams - 5
Assists: Allen - 3, Steyn - 1, Sanders - 1
Turnovers: Allen - 2, Sanders - 2, Mcfarlin - 3, Steyn - 1, Williams - 1, Gadson - 2
|Kansas Box Score|
Blocked Shots: Collison - 5, Langford - 1, Miles - 1, Nash - 1
Assists: Hinrich - 4, Miles - 2, Collison - 1, Langford - 1
Turnovers: Hinrich - 1, Collison - 1, Miles - 1, Graves - 1