Allen Fieldhouse has long been the house of horrors for K-State men’s basketball. Since 1990, K-State is just 2-23 in the historic venue, with the last win coming in 2006.
The Wildcats entered Saturday’s 280th edition of the Sunflower Showdown confident they could snap that eight-game losing streak. No. 9 Kansas, however, had other ideas.
The home team took advantage of a poor shooting performance by K-State (12-10, 5-4), cruising to a 68-57 win in the season’s first installment of the in-state rivalry.
The Wildcats are now 2-24 at Allen Fieldhouse since the turn of the century.
“We’ve been to Iowa State, we’ve been to Oklahoma, we’ve played so focused and guarded. Then we came here and we weren’t ready to guard them the way you need to guard them,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said after the game. “Bill (Self) does a good job, they’ve got versatile parts. You’ve got to be ready.”
Led by sophomore Marcus Foster and senior Thomas Gipson, K-State cut as much as a 17-point deficit down to 11 points with nine minutes to play in the second half. In the final 31 minutes alone, K-State outscored the Jayhawks 51-48.
Kansas (18-3, 7-1) was able to answer each run, though, with dagger after dagger, including a 3-pointer from Brannen Greene in the corner to extend the lead back to 14 points. Greene’s trey was one of six makes from behind the arc in the ballgame.
“That’s your one chance,” Weber said. “I think we cut it back to 12, but they (Kansas) were just patient and smart. They had some spectacular plays, some blocks and dunks, but they just out-grinded us.”
Foster finished with 19 points after a dismal first half shooting the ball. Gipson added another 19 points on 7-13 shooting. K-State’s remaining 13 players who saw the court Saturday combined for just 19 points on 6-29 shooting (21 percent).
Defensively, the Wildcats were gashed under the basket, often caught out of position attempting to double-team Kansas’ post players.
“We knew they were going to score,” Foster said. “I think in the first half, when they scored, we let them keep scoring. The second half, when they scored, we stopped them the next couple times including in transition.”
Kansas finished with four players in double-figures, led by Perry Ellis’ 16 points and 12 rebounds. Greene finished with 11 points on 3-4 shooting from deep.
Overall, it was a dominant performance for the Jayhawks. Kansas shot 9-14 from the field to open the game, including a 14-1 run spanning five minutes to take a 20-5 lead with 12 minutes on the clock.
“The last two years here, when they make a little run, and they will make a run because they’re a good team — they’re always a good team — you have to keep your poise and guard,” Weber said.
Meanwhile, K-State struggled to finish shots. The Wildcats started 1-11 from the field and trailed by as much as 17 points before heading into the locker room at the intermission facing a 16-point deficit.
Foster, who Tuesday said K-State needed to jump out to a quick start, was just 2-11 from the field in the first half, including 0-6 from behind the arc. As a team, K-State finished 6-35 (17 percent) shooting in the opening half, the fourth-worst percentage in a half in program history.
“He (Foster) didn’t let the game come to him,” Weber said. “That’s what we talked about in preparation: let the game come to you, be ready to guard, worry about how you’re going to stop your opponent. He’s a scorer, he’s going to get shots, we go to him. He took too many quick ones and tough ones. We probably wish we were a little more patient in the first half.”
Up next for K-State is a road trip in Lubbock, Texas against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.