Fast starting Jayhawks outlast Wildcats
AN EXCELLENT first half performance has set up the Kansas Jayhawks for an impressive victory over the Kansas State Wildcats, despite being seeded one spot lower.
It was touted as a blockbuster seventh-versus-eighth matchup, but it was seed number eight that took the chocolates as the Jayhawks burst out of the gates in the first half, and held on to claim a 12-point triumph on Tuesday night.
The two sides clashed a couple of weeks ago, and it was Kansas State that got the job done in tense fashion, snatching an overtime win. However, it was the Jayhawks that got the last laugh, finishing with a 90-78 win.
Jalen Wilson top-scored for the winning side with 20 points and eight rebounds, doing most of his damage at the charity stripe, where he shot 6/8. Also playing a big role was Kevin McCullar Jr., who had a big double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Dajuan Harris Jr. also performed well in the backcourt with 18 points on 7/12 shooting.
For the Wildcats, it was the duo of Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson that kept Kansas State in the game. Nowell had 23 points on 10/11 shooting from the free throw line, making sure to punish the opposition for slacking off defending him. Johnson was not far behind with 22 points of his own to go with 12 rebounds, all of which were defensive.
The Jayhawks burst out of the gates in the first half, taking control of the match with a 16-7 run that stunned the Wildcats. When their lead got to 32-19, Kansas State’s bench was hit with a tech and things were starting to spiral.
The Wildcats bit back and brought themselves within five points, but the Jayhawks nailed a trio of threes on the eve of half time and led 49-37 at the main change.
Kansas State tried valiantly in the second half to claw its way back into the game, and although the deficit was reduced to just six points, the result seemed certain the whole time. The victors pushed away late in the game and cruised home.
The result sees the two teams hold identical records of 18 wins and four losses, and echoed the strength of the Jayhawks at home, as they move to 11-1 on this court. The motivation from the result earlier in the year clearly motivated the victors, who got revenge for the overtime loss, which saw Kansas City fans storm the court. This time however, the tables were turned.