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No. 23 Kansas completes Sunflower Showdown sweep with 59-41 victory over K-State

Arne Green
Salina Journal
Kansas guard Christian Braun drives against Kansas State's Nijel Pack during the first half on Wednesday night's Sunflower Showdown game at Bramlage Coliseum.

MANHATTAN — Kansas State coach Bruce Weber's worst fears were realized.

While his Wildcats frustrated No. 23-ranked Kansas defensively well into the second half, they simply couldn't make the Jayhawks pay at the other end.

The Jayhawks, on the other hand, used a series of defensive stops to trigger a decisive second-half run that propelled them to a season sweep of the Sunflower Showdown series with a 59-41 victory Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

It was the fourth straight victory for the Jayhawks, who improved to 16-7 overall and 10-5 in the Big 12. It also extended their streak against K-State to five games.

K-State, meanwhile, dropped its 13th straight game to fall to 5-18 with a 1-13 conference record. The Wildcats now have lost 13 of 14 to KU.

Kansas led 26-17 at halftime, but K-State closed within four, 30-26, on a Nijel Pack jumper early in the second period. That's when the Jayhawks took over, putting together a 14-3 run and never looking back.

Mitch Lightfoot started it and two straight K-State turnovers led to Jayhawk runouts by Bryce Thompson and Ochai Agbaji that pushed it to 10. After Luke Kasubke's 3-pointer — K-State's first of the game — temporarily stopped the bleeding, Lightfoot, Thompson, David McCormack and Christian Braun scored in succession and suddenly it was 44-29.

KU led by as many as 24 points before K-State hit a pair of 3-pointers to close the game.

Marcus Garrett led a balanced KU attack with 14 points, while Jalen Wilson had 11, all in the first half. Agbaji added nine points and McCormack had six of his eight in the second period.

The Jayhawks shot 50% in the second half.

DaJuan Gordon was the only K-State player in double figures, coming off the bench to score 12 after missing the previous four games with a foot injury. No other Wildcat had more than six points.

The Wildcats shot just 31% for the game. They missed their first 19 3-point attempts and finished 3 for 24.

K-State outrebounded Kansas, 36-35, with Davion Bradford grabbing seven. Wilson had nine for KU.

Kansas outscored K-State 8-2 in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the first half to lead by nine at the break.

Wilson's 3-pointer at the 1:23 mark — the only one by either team in the period — started the run. Agbaji was then fouled with 1:01 left and Weber picked up a technical foul arguing the call.

Christian Braun hit one of the technical free throws and Agbaji tacked on two more for a 24-15 Jayhawk advantage. After Gordon scored for K-State, Marcus Garrett closed the half with a driving layup.

KU never trailed in the half, breaking an early 2-2 tie with an eight-point run bookended by a Wilson's runner in the lane and two free throws.

K-State reeled off five straight points to close it to 14-11 on Pack's basket. Antonio Gordon's lob dunk from Pack with 2:33 left in the period again cut it to three, 18-15, before KU's run to end the half.

Wilson led all scorers in the half with 11 points for KU, with Garrett adding six. DaJuan Gordon had 10 in the half for K-State.

KU shot 40% from the field in the half and outscored K-State from the free-throw line, 9-1. The Wildcats shot just 28.6% and missed all 12 of their 3-point attempts.

K-State did hold an 18-16 rebounding advantage in the half, led by Davion Bradford's five.