LAWRENCE, Kan — Kansas got revenge against Kansas State for their overtime loss two weeks ago with a 90-78 win at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night behind impressive scoring performances from two stars.
Kansas State jumped out to a 9-6 first-half lead with Ish Massoud drilling a deep 2-point jumper. But Kansas responded when Jalen Wilson buried one of his three first-half 3-pointers at the other end to tie the game at nine.
The Jayhawks then opened up a 22-13 with Joseph Yesufu making a 3-pointer with 11:14 left in the first half. But Kansas State quickly responded with point guard Markquis Nowell making one of his two first-half 3-pointers to make it 22-16. Kansas then went on a mini 10-0 run,w which ended with Wilson making another perimeter jumper.
Kansas’ athletic big man KJ Adams had a dunk to make the score 32-19, causing the Allen Fieldhouse crowd to erupt. Keyontae Johnson responded in a big way for K-State by drilling a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point game with 8:48 left in the first half.
K-State shrunk KU’s once 13-point lead down to three points after Nowell made a pair of free throws making it 32-29 after a foul call on Ernest Udeh Jr with about 6:40 left in the first half.
Kansas went on a momentum-building run over the last five minutes that saw them increase a 37-32 lead after a Johnson 3-pointer to 49-37 at the break. Kansas benefited from a made 3-pointer by Zach Clemence, giving Kansas a 45-32 lead with 2:08 left in half.
Kansas State’s backup point guard Desi Sills converted on six free throws before the 15:30 mark of the second half to help the Wildcats shrink Kansas’ lead down to 54-48. But Kevin McCullar drilled a corner 3-pointer for the Jayhawks to give Kansas a 59-48 lead with just over 15:00 left in the game.
A Gradey Dick layup with about 11:00 left in the second half put KU ahead 70-54 and extended the Jayhawks to a 6-0 run. The made layup was Dick’s ninth point of the game But on the defensive side, Dick was tagged with his fourth personal foul of the game when he fouled David N’Guessan in the act of shooting.
Despite N’Guessan making a free throw, the Wildcats were in the midst of a 3:52 stretch without a field goal, which ended with Johnson hitting a fadeaway shot from just outside the paint to make it 73-59.
Kansas State had a stretch of just 1-for-8 shooting from the field in the second half, which helped Kansas take a 15-point lead with about 7:00 minutes left in the game.
The Wildcats were able to linger in the final several minutes of the game, but never got within serious striking distance. Kansas point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. hit a big 3-pointer and a runner after the final media timeout to help push Kansas to the win. The Jayhawk point guard finished the game with 18 points, tying his career-high. Harris’ previous career high in points was 18, which came in a win at Texas Tech earlier this season.
With the loss to Kansas, the Wildcats fall to 6-3 in the Big 12, which puts them in a tie for second place with No. 13 Iowa State and Kansas.
STAR OF THE GAME
Kansas’ Jalen Wilson continued his impressive stretch of basketball on Tuesday night. Since scoring 38 points in the loss at Kansas State two weeks ago, Wilson has been one of the two or three best players in college basketball averaging 25 points a game with 6.7 rebounds. He also shot an impressive 47.4 percent from 3-point land in the Jayhawks’ last three games.
On Tuesday, Wilson finished with a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds, which was in contention with a team high on the glass. Wilson continued his impressive shooting too, making 4-of-9 shots from the perimeter.
Kansas also received an impressive performance from wing Kevin McCullar who had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Jayhawks. McCullar went scoreless in the Jayhawks’ loss to K-State earlier this season.
Kansas State gets to play another top-10 team in the country on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum when Texas comes to town. The Longhorns won a tight contest against Baylor on Monday night, improving Texas’ record to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12 — good enough for sole possession of first place in the conference.
The Wildcats beat Texas earlier this season in Austin and posted a program-record 116 points.