'Unreal' start doomed K-State

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Kansas State's men's basketball team never quit Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Wildcats, however, had a hard time getting started against 12th-ranked Kansas University.

K-State's first eight possessions resulted in three turnovers and five missed shots, and KU stormed to a 15-0 lead at the start of an 81-64 Big 12 Conference victory.

"The first three minutes were unreal," junior guard Frank Richards said. "They came out and got a quick jump on us. It hurt. We spent the whole first half and the second half trying to get back in it."

Little went right for KSU (10-6 overall, 1-2 Big 12) in those first three minutes. Senior forward Pervis Pasco, the team's leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, picked up his second personal foul and went to the bench with 17:10 remaining in the half.

The Jayhawks (13-3, 3-0) took their 15-0 lead on a basket by forward Jeff Graves with 16:24 to play.

K-State coach Jim Wooldridge, who saw his team fall behind 50-30 at halftime last season in a 103-68 loss at KU, never called timeout during the Jayhawks' early binge.

"I made up my mind if we started slow ... I told our guys in practice yesterday, 'You guys have to deal with it,'" he said. "'You can't call enough timeouts to stop that kind of thing. You're going to have to do it.' Eventually they did, but it was a little too late."

Freshman forward Marques Hayden finally put KSU on the board with a pair of free throws with 16:07 remaining, drawing mock applause.

K-State then turned the ball over on consecutive possessions and didn't make a field goal until senior forward Matt Siebrandt scored with 14:42 left.

Pasco checked back in with 13:31 left, but was whistled for his third foul 15 seconds later and went back to the bench. He played only three scoreless minutes in the first half.

"It obviously hurt us, but I thought Marques came in a played pretty well for us," Wooldridge said of Hayden, who scored eight points in 21 minutes.

Junior guard Tim Ellis scored back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer, with 11:08 to play in the half to cut KU's lead to 20-13. That was as close as KSU would get.

K-State will play host to Kansas on Feb. 8 in a nationally televised game. The Jayhawks have never lost at Bramlage Coliseum and haven't lost in Manhattan since 1983.

KU sophomore Keith Langford, whose team leads the all-time series 164-88, said before the game the Wildcats weren't much of a rival.

But Wooldridge, who is 0-6 against KU, wants to revamp the rivalry.

"Our guys think this is an important game," Wooldridge said. "I know Keith Langford doesn't think that, but our guys do. We're trying to rebuild a program. ... We can't come off a game like this -- a loss, a tough game, an emotional game -- and play down on Wednesday. This is going to be a tough game for us."

K-State will play host to Nebraska on Wednesday.