No. 18 Kansas routs No. 25 Kansas State
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — After watching San Diego State use the post trap to frustrate Kansas last Sunday, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber thought maybe his team could find success using that same game plan.
The problem was the Jayhawks’ guards — and bench players — made enough shots to keep the 25th-ranked Wildcats from sagging in the paint all afternoon. The result was an 86-60 victory for the No. 18 Jayhawks, the last in a series of blowouts of their biggest rival.
“San Diego State did a great job. They probably have a little more length than us,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “You try to take away something and you’ve got to give them something. They made shots.”
Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points, fellow freshman Wayne Selden added 20, and Joel Embiid had 11 points and nine rebounds. Perry Ellis finished with 12 points for Kansas (11-4, 2-0), which shot 56 percent from the field and committed just seven turnovers.
Nino Williams had 12 points and Thomas Gipson scored 10 to lead Kansas State (12-4, 2-1), but top scorer Marcus Foster was held to just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.
The defeat ended the Wildcats’ 10-game winning streak.
“I didn’t think we were very efficient offensively,” Weber said. “When you got open shots, you go 1 of 11 from 3 and that’s not going to do it when they go 8 of 18. That’s the difference.”
Just about the only thing that didn’t go right for Kansas came late in the game, when Embiid threw an elbow that clipped Williams in the face. Embiid got a technical foul and was ejected, but a Big 12 official said he would not be suspended for Monday night’s game at Iowa State.
“Regardless of what took prior, you have to be tough enough to think, ‘Next play,'” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “That’s frustrating to me that it would happen, even if it was a situation where it was retaliatory, and I have no idea if it was.”
Kansas State actually hung tough through the first 10 minutes of the game, finding a basket every time the frenzied crowd inside Allen Fieldhouse reached a throaty roar. But a couple of foul shots by Selden and a 3-pointer by Conner Frankamp set the Jayhawks off and running.
Tarik Black’s basket in the paint finished off a 9-2 surge, and a put-back by Ellis off his own miss a few minutes later wrapped up another 9-2 run and gave Kansas a 33-18 lead.
“Our main focus was to try and post trap,” Gipson said. “We only had two days to try and do that so we weren’t really prepared for it. At the end of the day we just didn’t play hard enough.”
Selden, coming off a career-best 24 points at Oklahoma, knocked down a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to send the Jayhawks into the locker room with a 45-28 cushion.
“Early the crowd got us rattled,” Williams said. “People can say how hard it is to play here but when you’re on the court and when you’re in the game it’s different.”
Suddenly, the 278th meeting between the schools looked like so many before it.
How impressive was the first half for Kansas? The Wildcats had been holding opponents to just 53 points per game during their 10-game win streak, yet allowed the Jayhawks to pile up 14 assists without a turnover and shoot 65.5 percent from the field.
“It was really frustrating because like coach said we’re a really good first half defensive team,” Williams said. “We might be one of the best in the country.”
As if things weren’t going perfectly enough for Kansas, Embiid knocked down a 3 from the top of the key to open the second half — he’d missed the first two tries of his career.
The Jayhawks partied hard the rest of the game.
There was the alley-oop dunk by Wiggins off a feed from Selden, and a nimble post move by Embiid that resulted in another dunk. And even when Wiggins threw the ball away for the Jayhawks’ first turnover, he atoned for it with back-to-back 3-pointers for a 58-34 lead.
Then came Wiggins’ biggest highlight, a one-handed slam that went through the rim with such force that the ball bounced the entire length of the floor the other direction.
“It was an offensive game and we’re not really a good offensive team yet,” Williams said. “We’re still working on that. We’re a defensive team. We let offense dictate our defense.”