Having won at least a share of the regular season Big 12 championship each of the last 14 years, Kansas’ streak was in jeopardy in a massive test at home against rival Kansas State. As they have for 14 straight years, the Jayhawks rose to the challenge and shut down a very good Wildcat team. In winning, the Jayhawks move to one game back in the Big 12 with three games left on their schedule.
Kansas still trails Texas Tech and this same Kansas State team by a game and sit in 3rd place in the Big 12. However, a loss tonight would have moved them to three games back and dashed their hopes of a 15th straight Big 12 regular season title.
Takewawys for Kansas State
The Kansas defense had their way with the Wildcats and dominated in the second half. Kansas State isn’t necessarily known for a high powered offense, however, they failed to show up at all in the second half. While they occasionally hit big 3 pointers in the first half to keep the game close, those shots weren’t falling late and Kansas was able to pull away with about 10 minutes to go.
Senior Kamau Stokes led the way for the Wildcat offense with 12 points and was the only Wildcat to reach double digits. Especially considering the Jayhawks are down both Udoka Azubuike and Silvio De Sousa, this was a poor showing for a Kansas State team that many predict to be a force come the tournament.
Takeaways for Kansas
Kansas looked the part of one of the best teams in the nation tonight and kept their bid for a 15th straight season with at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title alive. Dominating the game down low, Kansas forced Kansas State outside and into taking too many contested 3 pointers. Kansas put up a very solid 6 blocks as a team and outrebounded the Wildcats 40-30. The Jayhawks have upcoming games against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Baylor while still sitting a game back of both Kansas State and Texas Tech. Kansas still needs a bit of help to keep the streak alive, but this was about as much of a must-win game as they’ve had all year and they rose to the occasion.
Mitch Lightfoot provided Kansas a much-needed scoring spark off the bench to go along with a team-high 3 blocks. Late in the first, Lightfoot was all over the floor and was crucial in helping to pull Kansas back ahead going into the half. Kansas also saw big nights from Dedric Lawson and Devon Dotson as they scored a combined 34 points on the night. When clicking on both ends like they were tonight, Kansas showed that they are a team that can go toe to toe with any basketball team in the nation.