Big 12 Basketball

Three Thoughts on Kansas’ 90-78 Win Over Kansas State

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Kansas

The Kansas Jayhawks beat the Kansas State Wildcats, 90-78, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan., on Tuesday. Here are three thoughts on this Big 12 Conference game.

No. 7 Kansas State (18-4, 6-3 in Big 12) sought to sweep the Jayhawks for the first time since the 1982-83 season. Instead, they fell out of a share for first place in the Big 12.

No. 8 Kansas (18-4, 6-3) has now beaten Kansas State in Allen Fieldhouse 17 straight times. Kansas State hasn’t won in Lawrence since 2006.


How Kansas Won

The Jayhawks took a big lead at halftime, 49-37, and never gave it up. You can credit their first-half defense for helping them build that lead. The Jayhawks forced 10 first-half turnovers and scored 10 points off those miscues. By the game’s end, Kansas had a 21-12 edge there.

But, more than anything, Kansas found balance offensively. In the first meeting, it was a lot of Jalen Wilson and not much else. In this game, Bill Self integrated his bench into the game early. Kansas played nine players and all of them scored, even though three of them got into foul trouble. They found a way to play through it.

If Kansas can achieve this kind of balance and depth moving forward, that will put them in position to be better prepared for March.


Jalen Wilson finished with 20 points. He has scored 133 points in his last five games, the most of any Kansas player in a five-game stretch in the Big 12 era. Who needs 38 points to impact a game? I’m sure Wilson will take the win. Guard DaJuan Harris Jr had a big game, scoring 18 points and proving to be more of a scorer than a passer on this night.

In the first meeting with Kansas State, McCullar had no points and fouled out. He now has three straight double-doubles, as he scored 16 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds on Tuesday. He did, however, foul out. But he had already made his impact.


How Kansas State Lost

The early turnovers didn’t help, especially the way that Kansas was able to convert those turnovers into points. But, there were other areas where Kansas had the edge, too. Kansas had a slight rebounding edge, 44-42, and a 13-9 edge on the offensive glass. Kansas had a 28-20 edge for points in the paint. Kansas also had nine blocks to Kansas State’s two.

With 6:53 left in the first half, Kansas State was down 32-29. From there, Kansas outscored Kansas State 17-8. The Wildcats really didn’t threaten Kansas after that.

More than anything, it was Kansas State’s shooting that hurt them. The Wildcats shot just 34 percent from the floor, 33 percent from the 3-point line and 86 percent from the free-throw line. Kansas made four more 3-pointers than Kansas State.

Still, Kansas State had four players in double figures. Guard Markquis Nowell had a much better game this time around, scoring 23 points. But he only had four assists, which underscores the fact that the team didn’t shoot as well as it usually does. Keyontae Johnson had 22 points and 12 rebounds. Nae’Qwan Tomlin had 11 points and David N’Guessan had 10 points.


Bill Self’s Schedule Rant is Right

Before Tuesday’s game, we published a story about Bill Self talking about the fact that Kansas and Kansas State were playing each other twice in two weeks.

“I don’t understand why the league does it, to be real honest with you,” Self said. “We’re playing two teams twice before we play Texas once. I know other teams in the league do the same thing so I don’t understand that.”

Some of you are probably saying, “Stop your whining, Bill.” The thing is, he has a point. Kansas and Kansas State each played three games between their meetings.

They’re not the only ones.

TCU and West Virginia played on Tuesday night, too. Same thing. Each has played three games since their matchup in Morgantown.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State play their second Bedlam game on Wednesday. Yep, three games between meetings, too.

It’s been a fixture of the schedule for years and it happens on the women’s side too.

The Big 12 needs to get more equitable about that and it needs to happen next season.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

To Top