‘Cats walk the walk
KU's Manhattan mastery halted
Points by which K-State outscored KU in free throws
Points by which K-State outscored KU on three-pointers
Minutes played by KU’s foul-plagued Darrell Arthur
Minutes played by suspended KSU starter Andre Gilbert
FG shooting for KSU’s Bill Walker and Michael Beasley (each)
Points for Walker (22) and Beasley (25) combined
FG shooting for KU’s Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson combined
Points for Arthur (12) and Jackson (7) combined
Manhattan ? The Streak is dead.
Long live The Streak.
“It’s tough to take a loss here. It’s tough to take a loss when we own a streak like that. It’s really tough. Things happen,” KU junior Brandon Rush said after the Jayhawks’ 84-75 loss to Kansas State on Wednesday night at crazed Bramlage Coliseum.
The loss, of course, snapped KU’s 24-game win streak in Manhattan – second longest on an opponent’s home floor in Div. I history behind UCLA’s 25-game sizz at Cal-Berkeley from 1961 to ’85.
“I’ll be real honest with you. It doesn’t sting because of The Streak. It stings because it’s our rival. I could care less about the streak,” KU coach Bill Self said after his No. 2-ranked team fell to 20-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12; No. 22 KSU improved to 15-4 and grabbed first place in the conference at 5-0.
“I do care about beating our rival. It stings more than most would sting,” Self said.
“We’ve got a real nice team. We do a lot of good things. We weren’t going to run the table. As much as I wish we could, that wasn’t going to happen. Chances of that happening were very, very remote. It could be good for us in the long run, (but) certainly it stings.”
Kansas State, which was led by freshman stars Michael Beasley (25 points, six rebounds) and Bill Walker (22 points), as well as unsung freshman guard Jacob Pullen (20 points, 10-of-10 from line), as one sign in the crowd said, “Celebrated like it was 1983” – at the final horn.
More than 1,000 fans stormed the court. The only casualty one of the refs who was accidentally clipped in the throat and had to be helped off by security. Beasley stood on press row waving wildly to fans savoring the Wildcats’ first home victory over KU since Jan. 29, 1983.
Beasley was still in the arena in full uniform 45 minutes after the game and posed for a photo with his USA Basketball Under 19 team buddy, KU’s Darrell Arthur, before Arthur headed to the team bus.
“I remember going on those Catbacker Tours, listening to all those people in Garden City, Kan., and all I those places I went (last summer). All they wanted was to beat KU,” KSU’s Walker said after hitting nine of 18 shots with four turnovers, an assist and steal in 25 minutes.
He and Arthur both picked up their third fouls in the first half and didn’t even start the second. Arthur finished with 12 points and seven boards in 17 minutes.
“I felt like Mike promising (guaranteeing) a win, we had nothing to lose. They were undefeated, No. 2 team in the country. I think we came out and played looser,” Walker added.
The Jayhawks, who trailed 11-5 early to the delight of the fans, managed early on to survive the incredibly loud crowd – “I couldn’t even hear the whistle blow. It’s the loudest place I’ve been in,” Self said – and trailed just 38-36 at halftime.
But KSU, which led, 47-45, with 13:13 left, grabbed the game by the throat in a 10-0 spurt that upped the margin to 57-45 at 9:59. KU would cut it to six with 5:51 left, but threes by Clent Stewart and Beasley kept the Cats in charge, 67-57, at 4:17.
“We got sped up, though it was one of those atmospheres where that could happen,” Self said after his team snatched a season-low three steals. “Our guards probably didn’t communicate with guys as well or possibly get everybody on the same page. But we can’t blame that.
“We simplified it enough and got the ball where it needed to be for the most part. They were just better.”
KU won the hustle points.
“To me, of the 50-50 balls, they got 70 to 80 percent of them. We had some individuals, they would be the first to tell you, when things are not going well, that’s when you have to rely on each other to get back in it. We had guys trying to do the right things, but they weren’t percentage plays,” Self said.
KU, which had some trouble with KSU’s surprisingly quick guards, suffered 16 turnovers to KSU’s 13. Foul-plagued Mario Chalmers did hit for 19 points, while Sherron Collins had 12. Lead guard Russell Robinson scored six off 1-of-8 shooting.
KU hit 48.1 percent of its shots to KSU’s 42.9. The Cats did cash 12 costly threes in 26 attempts to KU’s six in 17 tries. Beasley, who is 6-foot-10, made four threes in four tries.
“He’s a great player,” KU said KU senior Sasha Kaun, sporting a black right eye because of physical play. “He had 25 points. Inside and out, he’s really good.”
So good were the three Wildcat freshmen the Jayhawks headed to the team bus downed in Manhattan for the first time since a one-point loss before they were born.
“I mean, to us the streak isn’t what we think about. I’ve been here three years,” Kaun said. “It’s just tough to lose. They played better than us today. We can learn from it, get a tighter huddle on the road. Good can come from this, but it’s tough to lose.”