MANHATTAN, Kan. — The 295th edition of the Sunflower Showdown was not one of grace or beauty. In the first half, Kansas mustered just 8/20 shooting for 40%. Shockingly, that figure was still enough to earn a 26-17 lead at the break, due to Kansas State’s abysmal 8/28 mark. The Wildcats went 0-for-12 from three in the opening 20 minutes, yet weren’t exactly out of it, either.
“I don’t really feel like we get down on ourselves,” said Antonio Gordon. “I feel like we’re a little disappointed we didn’t hit the shots, but I feel like the energy was still there on the defensive end.”
“It’s pretty simple. You go 0-for-19 from three before you hit one, I thought we had some of the most open shots we’ve had maybe all year and we just couldn’t make them.”
On February 2nd, K-State shot just 34% and KU certainly made them pay. In that game, Kansas worked over K-State 74-51 in Allen Fieldhouse.
Wednesday night would be no different.
Kansas would leave the door wide open all night, almost daring K-State to walk back into the game, but stubbornly the Wildcats refused.
K-State would even get to within 30-26 with 14 minutes left, but Kansas would go on a 14-3 run over the next 3 minutes to grab a 15 point lead, their largest of the game to that point and all but decide the outcome.
It’s worth noting that over that same stretch, K-State’s Luke Kasubke would get a three-pointer to roll in off the rim, ending the Wildcats’ streak of consecutive misses from deep.
“We just weren’t making shots,” said Antonio Gordon, simply put. “We had a few turnovers that got us out of rhythm, but we just weren’t making shots.”
One of the few lifts K-State did get offensively on the night came from an unlikely source. Dajuan Gordon missed a considerable chunk of time with an injury, but made his return against Kansas, scoring 12 points in 28 minutes.
“I’m not close to 100 percent. I hurt both ankles in less than two months. I mean my ankle and my foot, but it’s no excuse to play the way we played," said Dajuan Gordon. "We played hard but just got to make shots. It doesn't matter about whatever, as long as I can come out there and play I’m going to play. If I feel like I can play I’m going to play.”
K-State would fight to within 11, but out of the under 8 timeout, Kansas would finally put the Wildcats away for the final time, and balloon the score out to its 59-41 final score.
“I don’t know. We haven’t been good shooting all year, but we’ve been better than that and obviously Nijel has been pretty good. On one end of the court, you’re asking them to be intense and ready and playing on their toes," said Weber. "I thought we did a lot of good things on that end. On the other end, you have to be relaxed and confident and have poise. Maybe the adrenaline and wanting it so bad, somehow you’ve gotta take that relaxation and that makes a big difference in the game.”
The 41 points the Wildcats mustered registered the fewest points scored by K-State in the history of Bramlage Coliseum, adding to the laundry list of negative records hoisted by Bruce Weber’s team in 2020-2021.
Kansas State falls to 5-18 on the season and 1-13 in Big 12 play, while #23 Kansas improved to 16-7 and 10-5 in the league, their fourth-straight win.
Kansas State will travel to Fort Worth on Saturday to take on TCU at 4 p.m..
Featured image courtesy of Scott Weaver, K-State Athletics