Rough shooting night results in Wildcats dropping 17th straight game in Lawrence

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Forward David N'Guessan looks for an opening against the Kansas Jayhawks in the Sunflower Showdown on Jan. 31st. K-State lost to the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse, 90-78, bringing the Wildcats' record to 18-4. (Avery Johnson | Collegian Media Group)

For the 17th consecutive game dating back to the 2006-07 season, the Kansas State Wildcats dropped a game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence as they lost to the Kansas Jayhawks, 90-78, on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats finished the season series with a 1-1 record against the Jayhawks, as Kansas is now tied with the Wildcats for second place in the Big 12 along with TCU. TCU currently holds the tiebreaker over both teams as they won the head-to-head matchups against the two clubs earlier in the season.

The biggest culprit behind the Wildcats defeat was a poor shooting night as they shot a season-low 34% from the field. Guard Markquis Nowell and forward Keyontae Johnson both had solid evenings offensively, with Nowell scoring a game-high 23 points and Johnson scoring 22 points.

The game turned in the late stages of the first half as the Jayhawks went on a 13-3 run to take a double-digit lead into the locker room. Even though the Wildcats were able to trim the deficit to single digits at various points during the night, it just wasn’t enough.

“In the first half, Kansas was really locked in,” head coach Jerome Tang said. “They made all the hustle plays and they did a really good job at getting their crowd involved in the game.”

Jalen Wilson was the leader of the Jayhawks attack offensively on Tuesday night, dropping a team-high 20 points for the Jayhawks. The leading scorer in the Big 12 has averaged 29 points per game in the two matchups against the Wildcats this season.

“Kansas plays at a really fast pace offensively,” Nowell said. “They also play really well at home and they started out early by getting turnovers and scoring in transition. By doing that, they got their crowd involved early.”

Another major issue for the Wildcats on Tuesday was foul trouble. Five players had at least three fouls and three players had four. Without key contributors on the floor in critical situations, the Wildcats had to rely on their bench players.

One of those bench players, forward David N’Guessan stepped up and dropped a season high 10 points and collected six rebounds in 20 minutes of action. However, other bench contributors such as guard Cam Carter and forward Ismael Massoud struggled on the night, dropping three and two points, respectively.

Even with the loss, Tang remains optimistic of the team’s chances as they enter the stretch drive of the season.

“I feel good about where our team is currently,” Tang said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best basketball yet, but I think we can keep getting better and I’m really fired about that.”

The Wildcats now sit at 18-4 on the season and will host No. 10 Texas at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum. The Longhorns are coming off a victory over Baylor on Monday and will be looking to avenge their defeat to the Wildcats in Austin earlier this month.

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