Manhattan, Kansas — For the second year in a row, the Kansas men’s basketball team lost a tightly contested game at Kansas State, but this time there was no court storming.
After last year’s overtime home win over Kansas, K-State coach Jerome Tang talked to the KSU student section about not storming and expecting to win these types of games.
On Monday, after a 75-70 overtime win over 4th-ranked Kansas, the K-State student section showed they were listening.
There was no court storming. In fact, after the final horn sounded, with the student section buzzing with energy, K-State staff members held up their hands and gestured toward the bleachers, as if to tell the students to stay right where they were.
They did and instead celebrated the Wildcats (15-8, 5-5) snapping their four-game losing streak from their seats.
Four of the five Jayhawks who started reached double figures in this one, but KU was far too inconsistent on both ends of the floor to come away with a victory.
The Jayhawks fell to 18-5 overall and 6-4 in Big 12 play. All four of those conference losses have come on the road, where KU is now 1-4 in Big 12 play this season.
Next up, the Jayhawks will have the rest of the week off before returning to action on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, when Baylor comes to town. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. on ESPN, which will host its weekly College GameDay show from Lawrence.
After that, it’s another Saturday-Monday turnaround, as the Jayhawks head to Lubbock, Texas on Feb. 12 to take on Texas Tech at United Supermarkets Arena.
Now, here’s a look back at some of the highlights and memorable moments from the Jayhawks’ Big Monday battle with Kansas State.
• No excuses: There could’ve been all kinds of reasons and excuses for why the Jayhawks lost this game, but neither Dajuan Harris Jr. nor Hunter Dickinson were interested in making any. Instead, their message was simple. Both believed that KU should’ve won that game and that they have to be better. Dickinson, who scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds before fouling out, said he has to do more for his team. Harris, who added 15 points and 8 assists, said it was simple mistakes and little things that cost KU in this one. Both players also gave credit to K-State, who was led by Tylor Perry’s 26 points and 9-of-26 3-point shooting as a team. "There ain't no excuses," Harris said. "We've just got to get the job done. We should've won that game."
• 7-0 run to start 2nd half: The first half was anything but pretty, but the Jayhawks somehow managed to snag a 2-point lead at the break. That, along with a little time away from the floor, was enough to spark a 7-0 run to open the second half and Kansas built a 39-30 lead 1:53 into the final 20 minutes. Even that wasn’t entirely pretty, but the Jayhawks got their best transition offense of the night in this stretch and Kevin McCullar Jr. knocked in just KU’s third 3-pointer of the night. K-State coach Jerome Tang called timeout with 18:07 to play after the building had fallen pretty quiet except for the smattering of cheers from the KU fans who made the trip. That run, which eventually grew to 9-0, looked like it might be the knockout blow, but Kansas State responded with an 11-0 run of its own to complete erase the deficit and tie the game at 41 with more than 15 minutes remaining.
• Hunter asserts himself: It’s hard to say eaxtly what happened in the first half that limited KU big man Hunter Dickinson to just 4 shots, but he made a clear and concise effort to do more than that in the second half. So did his teammates. KU fed Dickinson in the post for its first basket of the second half and kept going to him from there. Dickinson, for his part, played with much more energy and bounce, going after his own misses and making strong moves in the post. Dickinson took 7 shots in the first 7 or so minutes of the second half and was at 13 points and 7 rebounds when he checked out for his first second-half breather with 11:54 to play in the game. In the end, Dickinson probably should’ve touched the ball even more than he did. But, again, K-State’s defense did a good job of closing off the passing lanes and making the Jayhawks dribble in search of a seam to attack.
• Sloppy and sped up early: The first 7 or so minutes of this one were fraught with Kansas looking a little too turned up. That kind of thing happens in these rivalry games, especially when they’re played away from home. In addition, KU played so clean in their weekend win over Houston that it would’ve been hard to continue that level of play and production right out of the gate in this one. Guys looked choppy and sloppy with their steps. The ball bounced off hands and was hard to pick up and dribble. And a handful of possessions featured forced jump shots and guys cutting to the same spot, blowing up the flow of KU’s sets. Things didn’t get much better the rest of the way, and Monday’s game was as sloppy and sluggish as Saturday’s win over Houston was pretty.
• Furphy’s quiet night: For the first time since being inserted into the starting lineup, KU freshman Johnny Furphy couldn’t find his spark and struggled to impact the game. He stood around on offense, didn’t get much going in transition and had a couple of defensive miscues that led to an off night. It was his first freshman type game in several weeks and it comes as no surprise that it came during his first trip to Manhattan. The KU freshman finished with just 4 points on 2-of-7 shooting and Dickinson said Kansas State’s defense did a good job of closing out on him as a shooter quicker than other teams have to this point. KU coach Bill Self said there was bound to be a team that had a good book on Furphy and he credited K-State for its defense on the young Australian and criticized the job KU did of helping him get going. Self also said simply that he thought Furphy was probably due a game like this.
• Missed opportunity late 1st half: After a quick 5-0 run and a K-State timeout, the Jayhawks had a golden opportunity to go ahead by 7 late in the first half, which undoubtedly would’ve quieted the crowd and taken some of the fight out of the Wildcats. But instead of converting a layup to push the lead to 32-25, KU big man Parker Braun flubbed a catch on his way to the basket and turned it over. That led to a 5-0 K-State run that both tied the game and brought the KSU crowd back into it.
• Bench woes... again: Kansas got next to nothing from its bench again in this one, prompting KU coach Bill Self to say after the loss that an effort like that from the KU reserves "absolutely" puts pressure on the Kansas starters. He also noted, however, that when the starters play all the minutes, they have to shoulder the load and score all the points. Self added, "Obviously that's gonna be a concern for us all year long."
• Play on, fellas: The first media timeout or significant stoppage of any kind in this one came with 10:58 to play in the first half. Normally, media timeouts occur at the first dead ball under 16 minutes of play and then again at the first dead ball when the clock ticks below 12 minutes. Then 8, then 4 and then again in the second half. Monday’s first whistle under 16 minutes came at the 10:58 mark of the first half, with the Jayhawks leading 19-15. Players on both sides looked absolutely gassed, with the energy and intensity of the rivalry along with very few whistles forcing them to go up and down and up and down some more. With the 10:58 stoppage being the first media timeout, the second (Under-12) came at the 9:15 mark, with KU’s lead down to 21-20.
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