It hadn’t happened since 2006. Countless times the Wildcats have came into Allen Fieldhouse and countless times have left with a loss since that game in 2006.
This game felt different. It looked like the Cats would finally pull one out. But then “Svi” Mykhailiuk dribbled down the court and sunk a layup as time expired and just like that it was over.
To many it was apparent the junior forward, Mykhailiuk, traveled on the game-winner, but the referees missed it and Kansas State left with a 90-88 heartbreaking loss Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.
“We battled our hearts out,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said. “I thought we came very prepared, very focused … We got a great look and we got the rebound, we just didn’t make the play at the end.”
The game followed a different script from the start than past losses in Lawrence. K-State started out hot, early threes from four different Wildcats had the Cats up 24-17 at the second media timeout.
K-State was up 32-31 with just 6:20 left in the half, but then the Jayhawks got hot and the Wildcats were unable to keep up. Senior forward DJ Johnson picked up his second foul and went to the bench for much of the half and the Wildcats were unable to cope. The Jayhawks went on a 21-10 run to end the half.
Kansas freshman Josh Jackson caused problems for K-State; he scored 16 points on seven of eight shooting to go along with five rebounds and three assists in the half and finished with 22 points. A three before the halftime buzzer put Kansas up 52-42 at the half.
“This is why they win here, they turn it up at a certain point,” Weber said. “We didn’t deal very well with it in the first half, we got a little stagnant. The second half obviously we settled down.”
The Wildcats started the second half quickly. K-State went on a 7-0 run early in the half with the help of a technical foul picked up by Jackson and then five straight points from senior forward Wesley Iwundu to put the Cats down by three 56-53.
From there it was back-and-forth. K-State never pulled ahead but stayed within an earshot. Finally, after trailing the entire half, the Cats were able to tie up the game at 84 with less than two minutes remaining.
The teams exchanged baskets until eventually the Wildcats had the ball with just under 20 seconds left with the game tied at 88. Sophomore forward Dean Wade had an open shot with the clock winding down but the shot would just miss and Iwundu fumbled the ball out of bounds leading to Mykhailiuk’s winning shot.
Wade and Iwundu carried the Wildcats Tuesday night. Wade finished with 20 points and Iwundu with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
“It was a tough loss,” Iwundu said. “(It was) my last time playing here, you know I wanted to make it special. But they made a play in the end to win the game and we’ll see them again later down the road, so we’re past this and looking forward to the next game.”
The Wildcats will next host Oklahoma Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.