No. 8/9 Kansas Upset at Kansas State, 70-63

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas kid led the Kansas squad just as he did in the first Sunflower Showdown, but it would take more than Perry Ellis’ game-high 24 points to power No. 8/9 Kansas past Kansas State on ESPN Big Monday inside Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks fell victim to the upset, 70-63.
Kansas (22-6, 11-4) squared off against a Kansas State (14-15, 7-9) team down on its luck. The Wildcats entered the night two games under .500 for the first time since the 2002-03 season and on pace to post the team’s lowest scoring average (62.9) since the 1982-83 season (57.4).
The Sunflower Showdown ails many woes.
 Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., posted 14 points
and seven rebounds on Monday.Kansas State shot 56 percent (14-of-25) in the second half compared to Kansas’ 36 percent (9-for-25) in the last 20 minutes. While the Jayhawks hit four of their first five shots to kick off the final frame, they made a meager 5-of-20 to finish the game. The Wildcats tallied 70 points for just the second time in the last month and was led by sophomore guard Nigel Johnson’s first 20-point game of his career. What resulted was the first consecutive wins against Kansas for the Wildcats in Manhattan since the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.
By halftime Ellis had tallied his third-straight game with 15 points in a half. He led all players with 24 points, tying his season-high, and made 10 of his 16 shots – also a season-best for the Jayhawks. His nine rebounds led the floor.
Unfortunately for Kansas, the team’s second-leading scorer, sophomore guard Frank Mason III, couldn’t back his partner in crime. He tallied a season-low four points after being battered for a 1-for-8 shooting night. Only freshman Kelly Oubre, Jr., joined Ellis in double-figures with 14 points. The enigma continued as the Big 12’s best three-point shooting team (40.9) hit a season-low 15.4 percent (2-for-13). Ellis and Oubre accounted for one three-pointer apiece, but both came in the first half as KU was 0-for-8 from behind the arc in the last half.
Aside from Johnson’s career night, senior forwards Nino Williams and Thomas Gipson paced the Wildcats with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Ellis came ready for the spotlight. The Wichita, Kansas native scored KU’s first nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, highlighted by a three-pointer and an emphatic dunk. Obviously interested in disrupting Ellis’ hot start, Kansas State swiped an Ellis inbounds pass, scored and took the lead. Kansas took it right back when sophomore Wayne Selden, Jr., joined his teammate on the scoreboard with a put-back dunk.
Selden’s dunk opened the door for the rest of the reinforcements. Freshman guard Devonte’ Graham stole a pass and took it the rest of the way for his second dunk of the year. Sophomore guard Brannen Greene made good on a three-point play and the frantic pace, fitting for a rivalry game, was in place. Kansas put together a 6-0 run, which was immediately washed out by a 6-0 run from the home team, knotting the game at 16-16 exactly 10 minutes in.
Kansas appeared rushed near the basket, missing multiple layups early. The sold-out crowd certainly made an impact, but the Jayhawks found ways to block it out – for a while. Selden capitalized on an athletically-gifted move to the rim, sandwiched around two more baskets from Ellis. The Jayhawks pulled ahead by its largest margin of the half, 26-19, before back-to-back threes from Johnson halted momentum.
The Jayhawks led for more than 18 minutes in the opening frame, but the other 90 seconds mattered more at the break. A foul called against sophomore forward Landen Lucas with 1.2 seconds remaining resulted in two free throws for Williams and a 31-30 KSU halftime lead.
Kansas started the second half with a 9-0 tear thanks to strong drives by Mason, Oubre, and of course, Ellis. KU surged forward, 41-33, its largest lead of the game.
KSU caught fire to make five of its next seven shots, cutting the deficit back to a single possession, 47-44. A forced five-second call and another King three-pointer that followed started a whole new ballgame, 47-47, with 11:24 to play.
Pressure, noise, made baskets – everything escalated in favor of the Wildcats. Johnson sank his fourth three-pointer of the night, Williams hit a long two, even a goal-tending call went by the way of the Wildcats. On the wrong side of an 8-0 run and trailing 60-54 with six minutes to play, Kansas head coach Bill Self called a timeout.
The pause failed to help. Field goals eluded the Jayhawks, but aggressiveness still meant trips to the line. Greene and Oubre hit four freebies in a row to cut it down. Yet with 1:05 on the clock, Kansas was looking up at a 66-61 deficit.
Greene used a driving layup to bring the Jayhawks within three. The league’s best three-point shooter in conference-only play, Greene turned to the three-ball twice in the final seconds, but came up empty handed. Kansas State finished the upset, 70-63.
Kansas returns home to host Texas on Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. (Central) on ESPN. ESPN College GameDay will conduct an hour pregame show from 3-4 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas’ senior night, with Christian Garrett being the lone KU senior on the roster, will be Tuesday, March 3, against West Virginia on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks will close out the regular season at nationally-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday, March 7, which will be televised on ESPN with a 3 p.m. tip.
KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (28/31), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (28/63), Fr. G Kelly Oubre, Jr. (20/20), Jr. F Perry Ellis (28/65), Fr. F Cliff Alexander (6/6)

SERIES INFO: Kansas leads, 188-93

ATTENDANCE: 12,528 (12,528 capacity)

  • Made Kansas 22-6 overall and 11-4 in Big 12 play.
  • Dented KU’s all-time series advantage, which Kansas now leads 188-93, including a 23-4 mark in games played in Bramlage Coliseum and a 40-5 advantage in Big 12 games.
  • Marked the first time that Kansas State has defeated Kansas in consecutive meetings in Manhattan since the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons (in Ahearn Fieldhouse).
  • Made Self 347-75 while at Kansas, 24-5 against Kansas State (23-5 at Kansas) and 554-180 overall.
  • Made KU 2,148-828 all-time.


  • The Jayhawks trailed at halftime (31-30) for the 10th time this season. Including Nino Williams’ pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining, KU allowed the Wildcats to lead three times in the first half (8-7, 29-28, 31-30) for a total of 94 seconds. For the game, Kansas led for a total of 27:03. Kansas State led for 10:32.
  • Kansas is now 5-5 when trailing at halftime this season.
  • During Kansas State’s 8-0 run in the second half, the Jayhawks missed six-straight shots on their way to a 60-54 deficit, their largest of the night until the final score.
  • The best three-point shooting team in the Big 12 at 40.9 percent heading into Monday’s contest, Kansas shot a season-low 15.4 percent (2-for-13) from three-point range.
  • KU tied a season-low with two blocks and was outscored 30-16 in the bench points column, the second-largest margin of the season (-22 vs. Kentucky).
  • Kansas was 0-for-8 from three-point range in the second half, the worst mark in a half this season. The previous was an 0-for-5 three-point performance against UC Santa Barbara in the second half of the season opener.
  • The Jayhawks started the second half shooting 80 percent (4-for-5), but made just five of their last 20 shots to finish the night.


  • Junior F Perry Ellis totaled 24 points on Monday to push his career total to 1,081, passing Otto Schnellbacher (43rd, 1,062), Rex Walters (42nd, 1,064) and is one shy of Charlie Black (41st, 1,082) on KU’s all-time scoring list.
  • The only Kansas native in either starting lineup, Ellis always has a major impact on the Sunflower Showdown. Monday’s performance makes Ellis 36-for-59 (61 percent) from the floor for 91 points (13.0 ppg) and 48 rebounds (6.9 rpg) in his career versus Kansas State.
  • Ellis scored the first points for the Jayhawks for the 11th time this season. This particular time came from behind the three-point line. In fact, Ellis had the team’s first nine points and was in double-figures in just 12 minutes and 24 seconds.
  • Ellis led all players at halftime with 15 points, marking the third-straight game the Jayhawk forward chalked up 15 points in a half. For the season, Ellis has tallied double-figures in a single half an impressive 17 times.
  • Added to his 23 points against TCU (2/21), that marks the second time in his career that Ellis recorded back-to-back 20+ point performances. The previous occurring with 24 against Duke (11/12/13) and 21 against Iona (11/19/13).
  • Ellis’ 10 field goals are the most by any Jayhawk this season.
  • Aside from Julian Wright in consecutive games in 2006, Ellis is now the second Jayhawk since the 1988-89 season to make 90 percent of his field goals in a game (minimum of 10 attempts) and then follow that performance by shooting above 60 percent in the following contest (minimum 10 attempts).
  • Ellis is the first Jayhawk since Andrew Wiggins last year to score 20 or more points in two consecutive games. Wiggins posted 41, 30 and 22 points in three-straight contests on March 8, 13 and 14 of 2014.
  • In terms of scoring efficiency on field goals only – excluding points scored from the free throw line – in a two-game stretch with 10 or more shot attempts in both games, Ellis’ back-to-back contests yields him with highest point production on the highest field goal percentage since 1988-89 on shots from the field. Ellis has shot 73 percent and scored 39 points on field goals alone over the previous pair of games.
  • Freshman F Kelly Oubre, Jr., posted 14 points, the 11th time he has been in double-figures this season. His seven rebounds were second only to Ellis’ nine.
  • Sophomore F Frank Mason III scored a season-low four points. His three steals tied for his most in Big 12 play this season (3 at Oklahoma State).
  • Sophomore G Brannen Greene and sophomore F Landen Lucas went a combined 5-for-5 from the line and lead KU in Big 12-only free throw percentage at 85 percent. Greene is 23-for-27 in Big 12 games, while Lucas is 17-for-20. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.