The cold-front sweeping the nation made its way into Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night as No. 23 Kansas defeated Kansas State 59-41 in the 295th edition of the Sunflower Showdown. The 41 points were the fewest points K-State has scored inside Bramlage Coliseum, which opened its doors in 1988.
The Wildcats finished the night shooting 31 percent from the floor and a dismal 3-of-24 from three, two of which came in the final two minutes of the game when the starters had been pulled for both teams.
“I thought we had some of the most open shots we’ve had maybe all year and we just couldn’t make them,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said.
The showdown saw the return of sophomore guard DaJuan Gordon, who had missed the last four games due to a foot injury. The Chicago, Illinois, native immediately made an impact and was the leading scorer with 12 points in 28 minutes.
“Obviously, DaJuan, you’ve got to give him a lot of credit,” Weber said. “I didn’t think he would be able to go today, to be honest.”
Gordon only had two practices before being cleared to play the morning of the game.
One of the leading rebounders on the team, Gordon was only able to record one rebound on the night against KU. It was evident that Gordon was taking it a little lighter inside the paint.
“I was not close to 100 percent,” Gordon said. “I hurt my ankle and my foot in less than two months … If I feel like I can play, I can play.”
The Wildcats struggled out of the gate, shooting nine percent from the floor in the first seven minutes. K-State was able to keep the game in check amid shooting 29 percent from the floor though.
The Jayhawks jumped out to an early lead but struggled down the stretch of the first half and finished shooting 40 percent from the floor, led by freshman guard Jalen Wilson who had 11 points. The Jayhawks took a 26-17 lead into the break, which featured an 8-2 run to end the half.
The Wildcats failed to hit a three-point bucket in the first half for the second straight game going 0-of-12 from beyond the arch. The Jayhawks struggled from three as well though and went 1-of-7, which came in the final two minutes of the first half.
The Jayhawks built a 42-29 lead on a 14-3 run midway through the second half to create some significant separation which proved to be the difference as KU cruised after that point. It was the second-lowest scoring game by the Jayhawks this season.
Senior guard Marcus Garrett of KU led all scorers with 14 points as the Jayhawks shot 46 percent from the floor and 25 percent from behind the arch overall.
The Jayhawks punished K-State on turnovers, scoring 29 points off of 18 K-State turnovers. The Wildcats forced 16 turnovers but only got 11 points off of those KU mistakes.
The Wildcats are scheduled to travel to TCU for a matchup with the Horned Frogs on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. on ESPN+.
Led by a 21 point night by junior guard RJ Nembhard, TCU defeated K-State in Manhattan, 67-60 in January.