The Feature Bout
The game was ugly enough. The finish was needlessly hideous, thanks to some childish, tough-guy conduct.
Kansas State (8-10, 1-5 Big 12) fell, 81-60, to the Kansas Jayhawks (15-3, 5-1) Tuesday in Lawrence. And though the game itself featured some headline-worthy performances, talk of the evening will undoubtedly coalesce around a pointless scrum under K-State’s basket with a single second on the clock.
With the game winding down, DaJuan Gordon stole the ball from KU’s Silvio De Sousa and attacked the basket. KU’s Silvio De Sousa blocked the shot, then stood over a prone Gordon to Jaw-hawk at him about the awesomeness of his feat. K-State’s David Sloan and Antonio Gordon (no relation) took exception, then De Sousa took exception to them taking exception. Then, mayhem ensued.
The benches cleared. Like most basket-brawls, it was mostly tall guys pushing and shoving behind the basket (though, strangely, nearly all of the uniformed players behind the basket were KU players). DeSousa did appear to throw a couple of ineffectual punches, (as most basketball players seem to do, in these “fights.”) Then, he picked up a stool and started advancing on someone (perhaps injured K-State post player, James Love) with apparently malicious intent. No telling what he might have done had others not held his arm back and dispossessed him of the stool.
No uniformed K-State players appear to have thrown any punches, James Love—if, indeed, that is who it was—could fairly be counted as an instigator and may have been the focus of De Sousa’s ire. After about a minute, some semblance of order was restored, and the teams left the floor. The entirety of both benches were ejected for leaving the bench area.
Though it appeared time had expired, the officials determined that a second was left. De Sousa was ejected, and the players who were on the floor at the time of the lunacy had to return. Pierson McAtee made one of the two technical free throws. K-State in-bounded, and the game finally ended.
Suspensions are coming. Perhaps for both sides. Certainly for De Sousa, who may be done for good, after all the controversy over his recruitment and all the effort KU expended to regain his eligibility. That’s all speculation, of course. The Big 12 office will let us know in due time.
This has been your first-ever fight coverage on Bring on the Cats, brought to you by ego, chest-thumping and temper tantrums, produced by frustration and lack of self-control.
About the game: Not much to tell from the K-State side. The Wildcats survived the initial minutes of the game—often the segment during which the contest has been decided in the past—and were tied with KU, 7-7, at the first media timeout. After that, sloppy K-State ball security allowed the Jayhawks to run off a 19-2 burst, putting K-State in a 26-9 hole midway through the half. The Cats settled down and hit some shots, keeping the margin at 16 heading into halftime, 39-23.
Key to KU’s first half dominance was capitalizing on 11 K-State turnovers and converting them to 18 points. Also helpful: nine second-chance points.
After the break, KU extended its lead to 22 before K-State point guard David Sloan sparked a run with a driving lay-up and a jumper, and Cartier Diarra and DaJuan Gordon joined in to cut the lead to 13, at 49-36 with twelve minutes to play. A missed lay-up by Mawien could have made it an eleven point game and heightened the interest, but he short-armed it.
From that point, Kansas reasserted itself and went on a 13-3 run to establish an insurmountable lead that the Wildcats would not meaningfully threaten again.
Sloan led K-State with a career-high 17 points on 7-11 shooting. He also had four rebounds and five assists, and was the most effective Wildcat on the floor, despite also having four turnovers. Xavier Sneed dropped in 16, to go along with four rebounds. He also committed three turnovers. Makol Mawien scored 11 and collected five rebounds, but was a mere 5-14 from the floor.
KU had three reach double figures: Christian Braun had 20, on 7-15 (6-10) shooting. Devon Dotson scored 18, and Udoka Azubuike had 10, on only five shots.
Three in the Key
- Wow. Everything about that was ugly. Coach Weber said before the game that the one thing the team could not afford to do was to turn the ball over and give up a big run, which would ignite the crowd and make a comeback that much harder. But after the Wildcats scored the game’s first bucket off a KU turnover, they did not manage another point-off-turnover in the first half, while the Jayhawks made their living running after steals. After weathering the first four minutes, you would expect the Cats to settle in to the game. Instead, they got sloppy, then they got rattled, then they got run out of the gym. Then, the fight. Which was even dumber than most sports fights, given that the game itself had been decided, really, since early in the first half.
- Maybe we should nickname Cartier Diarra “The Enigma.” Against West Virginia on Saturday, he was at once terrific (25 points) and terrible (7 turnovers). Tonight, he shot an early airball and heard it from KU fans the rest of the night. Though he did knock down a later three-pointer, he finished with only seven points on 3-9 marksmanship. He also led the team with six rebounds and two steals. But in 36 minutes of play, the Cats need him to maximize his abilities, especially in games with athletic rosters like KU’s.
- A single KU freshman (Braun, 20 points, four rebounds, two steals) outplayed K-State’s talented young trio of DaJuan Gordon, Antonio Gordon and Montavious Murphy (8 points combined, four rebounds, two steals, two blocks). It was the K-State players’ first trip to Allen Fieldhouse, of course. And, thanks to the shenanigans at the end, they won’t forget it. Braun played well. He jumped up and made shots that materialized because K-State had to focus so much attention on Azubuike, Dotson, and the rest of the talented KU line-up. All credit to him. The K-State young guns need to bank the experience, steel their will, and plan to team up with next year’s class to work toward ending the Allen losing streak that extends back to the days of Cartier Martin and Clent Stewart. They should have a real chance to do it, eventually. Tonight was always going to be a longshot.
K-State hits the road for the conference-interruptus game against Alabama (10-7, 7-1 home) at 5:00 Central. Let’s hope the Big 12 renders an uncharacteristically just-to-K-State decision, and the Cats will have their full roster for that game.