The Streak is Over

Bill Self (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Manhattan — The Streak is over. Kansas State beat Kansas, 84-75, for the first time since 1983 at Manhattan in a sold-out and wild Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night. Wildcats fans stormed the court after the final buzzer.

Four signs the K-State faithful held up all game seemed to tell the story:

“Party Like It’s 1983”
“The Time Is Now”
“25th Times A Charm”
“The Streak Ends 2-Nite.”

Freshman superstar Michael Beasley guaranteed a Wildcat victory, and he delivered. Beasley led all scorers with 25 points, despite being held scoreless for the first 10:38 in the first half. He caught fire to open the second half, scoring KSU’s first nine points after halftime as the Wildcats broke open a 38-all game to lead 57-45 with 10:03 remaining.

“We lost it (game) in the first 10 minutes of the second half,” said KU coach Bill Self.

Kansas (20-1, 5-1) cut the deficit to six points three times in the next 4:12 (K-State led 61-55 with 5:51 left in the game), but could get no closer. Kansas State, quite simply, had more energy, more bounce, and more firepower.

“K-State (15-4, 5-0) was just a better team than we were tonight,” Self said. “We got sped up, it was one of those atmospheres where that could easily occur. I don’t know if you could pinpoint one thing, other than to me, of the 50-50 balls, they got 70 or 80 percent of them. It seemed like they scored an awful lot off loose balls, and that’s something we are usually good at, but we weren’t tonight. ...The biggest thing was how many balls that were on the floor that they came up with that we didn’t come up with.”

KU actually outshot K-State from the field, 48.1 to 42.9 percent. However, the Wildcats made 12 of 26 three-pointers, compared to just 6 of 17 for Kansas. K-State also outmuscled the ‘Hawks on the offensive boards, 16 to 9.

“They wanted it a little bit more than us,” said KU senior center Sasha Kaun. “They played great inside and out.”

Junior guard Mario Chalmers led KU with 19 points, followed by Brandon Rush with 15 (just three points in the second half) and Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur with 12. Arthur played just 17 minutes due to foul trouble.

While Beasley led the way with 25 points, he had plenty of help. Freshman forward Bill Walker scored 22 points (12 in first half), while freshman guard Jacob Pullen added 20 (10-10 FT).  Senior guard Clent Stewart also scored in double figures with 11 points.

For K-State and its fans, this was a game for the ages.

“I knew my team was capable of beating anybody,” Beasley said. “We showed that tonight.”

The Wildcats, who were up 38-36 at halftime, jumped out to an 11-5 lead before KU finally took  a 16-14 advantage with 12:58 remaining in the half. There were five lead changes in the first half with the score tied six times.

Kansas State set the tone with its intense play to open the game.

“The way that game started obviously gave (them) confidence, and also put our team on its heels,” said Self, “because we wanted to be aggressive and they played behind our aggressiveness and made shots. ...You got to give K-State credit. I don’t think we were good, but I think they were a big reason why.”

And the raucous Bramlage crowd also played a factor. Most of the fans were on their feet and cheering the entire game.

“We will not play in an environment like this again this year,” Self said. “This was fabulous. I couldn’t even hear the whistle blow.”

“This was probably one of the loudest I’ve been part of playing in the Big 12,” added Kaun.

K-State head coach Frank Martin praised the Jayhawks after the game.

“They’re so good that every minute of the game is important against them,” Martin said. “I just told Dave Hoskins (injured Wildcat) in the locker room that that is the kind of game that, as a coach, you age 40 years in 40 minutes, and when you win, you get those 40 years back. It’s hard to beat the champion. It’s not easy to beat a champion, and those guys are champions in that locker room over there that represents KU.”

KU now looks to regroup for its next game at Colorado on Saturday and start another streak after winning its first 20 games this season.

And yes, KU’s 24-game winning streak in Manhattan is now history.

“(The loss) didn’t sting because of the streak,” Self said. “It stings because it’s our rival. I could care less about the streak, but I do care about beating our rivals. ...We got a really nice team, we do a lot of good things. We weren’t going to run the table, as much as I wished we could, that wasn’t going to happen. The chance of that happening was very, very remote. This could be a good thing for us in the long run.”

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