Kansas State coach Bruce Weber and many of his players have experienced the knockout run at Allen Fieldhouse more than enough times to know how to brace for it.
And Wednesday night, during a game in which K-State actually controlled most of the first half instead of getting buried early on, the Wildcats appeared to be ready to compete on a different level.
They weren’t. And this time it was their own fault.
Instead of falling victim to a wild and crazy KU surge in which the home team simply overpowers them, the Wildcats (13-9 overall, 2-7 Big 12) victimized themselves as much as anything, committing costly turnovers and helping No. 7 Kansas grind its way to a 77-59 victory.
View a gallery of images from Wednesday night's Sunflower Showdown between the Jayhawks and Wildcats at Allen Fieldhouse.
After watching K-State lead for a good portion of the first 20 minutes, KU responded to K-State snagging control for the third time in the first half with a 14-3 run to close the half. That put KU up 39-29 at the break and proved to be enough separation to help KU win its 10th in a row over K-State in Allen Fieldhouse.
Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks (18-4, 6-3) with 19 points and 5 rebounds, but KU’s biggest lift may have come from Svi Mykhailiuk, who finished with 10 points and, at one point in the first half, bailed out KU’s sloppy and sluggish offense by being the only guy on the floor willing to play aggressive and attack the rim.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: KU woke up in the second half and hit K-State with a 9-0 run to open up an 11-point lead and retake control of the game after Kansas State had trimmed KU’s 10-point halftime lead to two. Wayne Selden Jr. scored five points, and Mykhailiuk and Ellis also recorded buckets during the run.
• Offensive highlight: There was a stretch during the second half when KU forced a K-State turnover on four or five or six or seven possessions and nearly all of them led to highlight-reel offensive plays on the other end. One came on a wild lob from Devonté Graham to Selden, who finally woke up out of his funk around this same time. And the other two were hammer-time dunks by Ellis, who is not exactly known for putting a hurting on the rim. The easy buckets not only helped KU rebuild a comfortable lead but also brought Allen Fieldhouse to life and ended any thoughts K-State had of pulling off an upset.
• Defensive highlight: Late in the first half, after a drive and bucket by Frank Mason III, KU forward Jamari Traylor jumped the ensuing inbounds pass and knocked it off of a K-State player. That gave the Jayhawks another offensive possession in the final 10 seconds and KU made the most of it, getting a three-pointer from Brannen Greene on a designed play. Not only did Greene knock down the three, he also was fouled and hit the free throw to put KU up 10 at the break. It’s plays like these that are and always have been the reason Bill Self is so fond of Traylor.
• Key stat: Turnovers. KU was not exactly the picture of poise with the basketball, but they looked like the San Antonio Spurs compared to Kansas State, which turned it over a whopping 23 times to help ensure its own demise.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will hit the road for their second consecutive purple-clad opponent on Saturday, when they face TCU at 11 a.m. in Fort Worth.
— See what people were saying about the Sunflower Showdown during KUsports.com’s live coverage.