Kansas City, Mo — Jim Wooldridge didn't want his first season as Kansas State University basketball coach to end this way.
Wooldridge wanted to go out on a wave of momentum. Instead, the Wildcats finished like they were walking to the elephants' graveyard.
"I don't know if I've been any more disappointed in a game than I was in this one," Wooldridge said following Friday night's 94-63 shellacking by Kansas in the Big 12 Conference tournament. "We've got to go forward."
Wooldridge and the 10th-seeded 'Cats were feeling flush after Thursday night's 62-58 win over No. 7 seed Nebraska, but the Jayhawks brought them down to earth quickly.
"We were just dismantled," Wooldridge said. "Kansas took us out of everything we wanted to do. Their pressure bothered every one of our players. We didn't have a format. It's disappointing, but you have to give credit to Kansas."
After the first eight minutes, K-State lagged by just four points, but then the 'Cats went an agonizing 81/2 minutes without scoring while Kansas counted 20. Start the bus.
"It's embarrassing for our team," junior forward Travis Reynolds said. "It's disappointing to go out like this. I thought we'd compete better than we did. They had us on our heels and we never responded."
Kansas State shot a dismal 22 percent in the first half (7 of 32) while digging a 41-21 hole.
"I truly think justice was not served with the way the season ended," KSU forward Matt Siebrandt said. "We didn't play our game tonight and they took it to us."
In the second half, the 'Cats had stretches in which they seemed like they wanted to make K-State's football team proud of them. Siebrandt, for example, delivered a forearm shiver to KU's Brett Ballard with 7:50 remaining that was whistled as an intentional foul. Earlier, Ballard had been elbowed to the floor by KSU's Ivan Sulic.
Also, just a minute into the second half, KU's Kenny Gregory was flattened by the 'Cats' Larry Reid an incident that led to a short jawing match between several of the participants.
"They were trying to protect their players and we were trying to protect our players," KSU's Reynolds said. "Those things happen."
On the surface, the frustration of losing 22 straight games to natural rival Kansas precipitated the jawing and shoving. Even Wooldridge wasn't immune. With 8:50 remaining, referee Frank Bosone tooted the KSU coach, apparently for being on the floor.
"I knew it was a tall order for us to come in and win back-to-back games," Wooldridge said. "This tarnishes a little bit of what we accomplished last night."
KU made Reid, who had scored 21 points in the Nebraska victory, a non-factor. Reid took a team-high 13 shots, but made only four.
"They took him out of the game," Wooldridge said. "They denied him. That's all you can say."
Kansas State wound up with an 11-18 record and, of course, lengthened the long losing streak against the Jayhawks.
"We don't ever talk about the streak," Wooldridge said. "I don't think it would be very healthy to look back on the streak whatever it is and dwell on it."