Despite 31 percent shooting from the field, 22 percent from 3-point range, and only 64 percent from the foul stripe, Kansas State’s defense kept the Wildcats in the game until the end Monday night in the Sunflower Showdown.
That Purple “D” held KU to just 39 percent shooting, but it was enough for the Jayhawks to secure their 22nd win in 24 tries in Bramlage Coliseum, 59-53.
“We were pretty good on defense, but offensively when you have open shots you have to make them,” said K-State coach Frank Martin. “When you do get a clean look you have to make those, but we didn’t get it done.”
In the first half only three Wildcats scored points and only two – Jamar Samuels and Rodney McGruder – scoring until Thomas Gipson scored on a 12-foot jumper at the 2:13 mark.
Samuels netted 11 first-half points and McGruder five as the Wildcats were outscored 28-18 in a half where the Wildcats made just 22 percent from the field. The Wildcats netted just three field goals in the last 11:53 of the first half.
“When you’re 7-of-31 from the field and have eight turnovers (in the first half), you have no chance to win,” said Martin of K-State’s early play.
The victim of what Martin called “haymakers” thrown by Texas on Saturday, K-State did some swinging of its own to open the second half hitting Kansas with a 16-6 run to knot the game at 34-all at the 14:05 mark, and eventually take the lead at 37-36 with 11:49 remaining.
Samuels netted two treys during the run, while Will Spradling had a couple buckets and Jordan Henriquez two baskets.
While K-State hit KU with a 19-8 run over eight-plus minutes, Kansas had the answer with a 9-zip run, which included two treys by Tyshawn Taylor on consecutive possessions, and later adding a deuce for eight of his game-high 20 points.
“At that segment of the game it became grown men playing against little boys,” said Martin. “It’s a maturity process that we have to continue to fight to get through.”
While K-State was guilty of only 11 turnovers in the game, Martin was quick to point out that “… eight of them let directly to break-away dunks. They were just bad turnovers. Our turnovers continue to be bad turnovers.”
For the record, KU did win the fast-break portion of the game, 14-2.
The 59 points were the sixth fewest by a K-State team in Bramlage Coliseum history, and the 59 points were the fewest scored by the winning team in the KSU-KU series since Jim Wooldridge’s Wildcats defeated Kansas, 59-55, in Lawrence in 2006.
Jeff Withey starred for KU with 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots in 36 minutes, while Taylor netted 20 points.
Martin is now 42-3 in all-time games where K-State’s opposition has scored fewer than 60 points.
PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Jamar Samuels, a 23 percent 3-point shooter, netted 4-of-6 from long distance against the Jayhawks on his way to a 20-point game. Only twice this season had Samuels netted two 3-balls in the same game this year.
“All year Jamar has been phenomenal,” said Martin. “I’ve probably done a disservice for him in that I haven’t run a lot of offense for him. Jamar wears that uniform every day for the same reason Luis Colon wore it, Chris Merriewether wore it, and guys like Jacob Pullen wore it. He’s been a treat to coach.”
Unusual is the fact that Samuels has had at least one game of 20 points in each of his four seasons – one as a freshman, three as a sophomore, two as a junior and now one as a senior.
K-State won the rebounding game 45-39, which helped them shoot 22 more shots from the field. The Wildcats netted just 20-of-65 field goals, which included 4-of-18 from long range; the Jayhawks were 21-of-53, which included only 4-of-13 from 3-point range.
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOK:
• K-State’s 18 first-half points were the fewest in a single half in Bramlage Coliseum history. The Cats also scored 18 against Colorado on March 4, 1995.
• Jeff Withey’s nine blocked shots against K-State was a Bramlage Coliseum record breaking the mark of eight swatted away by Jason Bennett against Chicago State on Jan, 22, 2007. It also is the most blocks by a KSU opponent breaking the mark of seven by Kimani Ffriend of Nebraska in 2001.
• Jordan Henriquez’s six blocked shots tied a K-State record in a Big 12 game. Curtis Kelly had six blocks against Texas A&M last year.
• Will Spradling had a string of 17 consecutive free throws made snapped on his first attempt in the second half.
• Rodney McGruder (12) and Will Spradling (10) scored in double figures, but on a collective 9-of-28 from the field and 0-of-7 from 3-point range.
• Jordan Henriquez got his first start in eight games. He responded with four points, four rebounds and six blocked shots in 26 minutes.
• KSU secured a whopping 21 offensive rebounds.
• The Wildcats managed to score just 102 points in the two games against KU this year. That’s a 67-49 loss at KU, and Monday’s 59-53 loss at Bramlage Coliseum.
• It was a rugged night for Angel Rodriguez who was 0-of-8 from the field, plus had seven turnovers.
• K-State’s bench scored seven points … all by Thomas Gipson. KU’s bench had only two points.
DOWN THE HOME STRETCH:
K-State’s remaining schedule includes games at Baylor on Feb. 18, at Missouri on Feb. 21, Iowa State on Feb. 25, at Texas A&M on Feb. 28 and Oklahoma