Wildcats take first round of Dillons Sunflower Showdown, 74-67

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A 21-14 closing run from K-State proved to be the difference as the Wildcats took down the No. 13/14 Kansas Jayhawks, 74-67, Tuesday night inside Bramlage Coliseum. Redshirt-junior Dedric Lawson led the Jayhawks with 18 points and nine rebounds, but 23 KU turnovers, along with some key Wildcat 3-pointers over the final five minutes of regulation, snapped an eight-game Kansas winning streak against its in-state rivals.
The loss moved the Jayhawks to 17-6 on the year and 6-4 in the Big 12, while KSU’s victory moved it to 17-6 and 7-2 in league play.
The Wildcats started out the game on a torrid pace, jumping out to a quick 8-1 lead with the help from a pair of threes in the first two minutes to feed the already frenzied Bramlage Coliseum crowd. The KSU defense was also fired up in the opening minutes, holding the Jayhawks to just a single field goal over the first 4:47 of the contest.
After back-to-back lay-ups from KSU’s Xavier Sneed and Barry Brown Jr., Jayhawk head coach Bill Self used his first timeout with his team facing a 14-6 deficit at the 16:30 mark on the clock. Self’s team made a key defensive adjustment coming out of that timeout, moving to a zone defense, which turned the tables on the Wildcats over the remainder of the first frame.
The new scheme held Kansas State to just 6-of-24 shooting (25 percent) for the rest of the opening half, all while the Kansas offensive found its footing on the other end. Mitch Lightfoot and Devon Dotson scored Kansas’ next eight points over a 3:30 span to help the momentum begin to shift in the way of the Jayhawks.
Kamau Stokes connected on KSU’s fourth 3-pointer of the first frame at the 10:40 mark, getting the Wildcat lead back to eight points; however, that would be one of only three field goals for the home side for the remainder of the half as KSU couldn’t solve the KU zone.
Redshirt-sophomore Charlie Moore swished a 3-pointer of his own at the 8:33 mark and kick-started a 15-4 KU run to close the first half. Lawson converted on four free throws over the final 3:27 before the break and helped the Jayhawks turn an eight-point first-half deficit into a 33-30 halftime lead.
KSU began the second half much like it did the first, outscoring Kansas 14-5 in the six minutes following the restart. The early second half spurt helped the Wildcats regain the lead at 44-38, still with 14:00 left in regulation.
After back-to-back Wildcats triples from Sneed and Cartier Diarra, and K-State ahead by eight points, KU again began to dig itself out of the hole. Freshman Ochai Agbaji and Lawson each contributed four points on a 10-3 Jayhawk spurt that pulled them to within a point, 53-52, with 7:09 to play.
But the KU turnovers, which totaled 23 on the night, began to mount. The Jayhawks gave it away five times over the final eight minutes of regulation. KSU took advantage on the other end, getting to the free throw line on seven occasions in that span and going 9-of-14 from the charity stripe to help extend its lead over the final minutes.
A Lagerald Vick 3-pointer, followed by Devon Dotson lay-up, got KU within three points, 64-61, with 1:42 to play, but Sneed responded 30 seconds later with his third 3-pointer of the night. From there the Wildcats had enough cushion to close out the Jayhawks once and for all, claiming the 74-67 win.
Lawson ended the night with a team-high 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting, while Dotson was the only other Jayhawk to score in double figures, posting 13 of his own. Moore ended his night with eight points with Quentin Grimes, Agbaji and Lightfoot each adding six points apiece.
The story of the night though was KU’s 23 turnovers, just one shy of its season high. The Wildcats turned those 23 giveaways into 22 points.
QUOTES – Full Quotes
Head coach Bill Self
Opening Statement:
“We weren’t ready to play from the beginning. I don’t think our young kids had any idea of what was getting ready to hit them, because that was pretty evident by the start (of the game). Our freshmen had never been in a situation like that and they felt it. Devon (Dotson) was really the only one who did some things from an aggressiveness standpoint … We didn’t execute, but that’s on me, as a coach. When the pressure hits, they say, ‘Pressure busts the pipe’ and the pipe was getting ready to explode all night. We dodged some bullets, but in the end, they were just better than us tonight.”
On what triggered the decision to play zone defense tonight:
“We’ve actually won games over here, in the past, playing zone. We did last year. We thought maybe they wouldn’t be quite as prepared for it. I don’t know if they were or weren’t, but their offense got a little stale then. I could be wrong, Greg, but I think they had like 26 points with nine minutes left in the first half and I think they only got to 30. I think they only scored like four points in the last eight or nine minutes (of the first half). So, it (the zone) did what it was supposed to do.”
NOTABLES – Full Notes

  • The loss ended a Kansas eight-game winning streak against Kansas State.
  • The loss also made the KU-KSU series 196-94 in favor of the Jayhawks, including a 78-48 record in meetings in Manhattan and 26-5 in Bramlage Coliseum 
  • After Kansas State jumped out to an early 14-6 lead with 16:10 remaining in the first half, the Jayhawks went to a 2-3 zone, bringing the Wildcat offense to a hault. KU outscored K-State 27-16 in the first half after switching to the zone. That included a stretch where the Jayhawks went on a 13-0 run, holding K-State to a 1-of-12 mark from the field.
  • The Jayhawks took a 35-30 lead early in the second half, but the Wildcats responded on a 13-3 run, taking a 43-38 lead with 14:08 to play. Kansas would be unable to regain the lead.
  • The Jayhawks led 33-30 at the half marking the 14th game this season KU has had the advantage at the break, KU is now 11-3 in those games. Kansas is 379-31 in the Bill Self era when leading at the half.
  • Kansas trailed at the 5:00 mark for just the fifth time this season, the Jayhawks are now 1-4 in those contests with a 33-82 record in the Bill Self era.
  • KU outrebounded K-State 36-30, the 13th game this season the Jayhawks have outrebounded its opponent. Kansas is 10-3 in those meetings, 344-42 in the Self era.
  • Kansas’ 67 points marked the sixth time the Jayhawks have been held to 60-69 points this season, Kansas is now 1-5 in those contests.
  • KU’s 23 turnovers were its second-most this season (24 at Iowa State).
  • Kansas State outscored KU 44-34 in the second half, marking the fourth-straight game the Jayhawks have been outscored in the second half.
  • Kansas outshot the Wildcats 46.2 percent to 43.1 percent, Kansas is now 15-3 when KU has a better shooting percentage than its opponent on the season, 432-37 in the Self era.

Kansas will face off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Lawrence on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 11 a.m. (CT) on ESPN2. KU will look to avenge last season’s regular-season sweep at the hands of the Cowboys, the first by a league opponent during the Bill Self era. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series with OSU 114-59, which includes a 62-12 edge in Lawrence and a 47-10 advantage in Allen Fieldhouse.




KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.