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No. 7 K-State falls at No. 8 Kansas, 90-78

Time to reset and get ready for the back side of the Big 12 race.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Kansas
The KC Chiefs’ all-universe tight end, Travis Kelce, was at the game in Lawrence. That’s about the only good thing that happened this evening.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We will keep this short, because it’s a familiar movie that we have seen before and there is no sense reliving every crummy scene.

The Kansas Jayhawks used aggressive defense, capitalized on K-State mistakes, and shot lights out early to build a big lead, ultimately beating the Wildcats 90-78 in Lawrence Tuesday night.

Kansas State hung around in the early minutes of the game and was down 13-11 seven minutes in, only to turn the ball over repeatedly, giving up a 9-2 run to fall behind 22-13.

Later in the half, K-State ran off a 10-point run of its own to get back within 3 at 32-29, but Kansas stretched the margin back to 49-37 at the half. K-State cleaned up the turnover problems in the second half but missed at least half a dozen shots near the rim and could never get any closer than 8 points behind.

The officials acted as if they were getting paid by the whistle, calling 22 fouls on the Jayhawks and 24 on the Wildcats. K-State (18-4, 6-3 Big 12) shot 36 free throws, making 31. Kansas (18-4, 6-3) shot 35, making 25.

Bright spots? Okay. But offsetting asterisks abound.

Four Cats reached double figures in scoring, led by Markquis Nowell, who had 23. But he only made 5-18 shots, only had 4 assists, and committed 5 turnovers — all in the first half — when the game essentially got away.

Keyontae Johnson put up his second consecutive double-double, with 22 points and 12 boards. He was 7-19 from the field. All of his rebounds came on the defensive end of the floor.

Nae’Qwan Tomlin scored 11 and collected 8 rebounds, David N’Guessan scored 10, with 6 of those points coming on 8 free throw attempts. Desi Sills took the initiative for a stretch of the second half and finished with 7 points — all from the line.

It was that kind of game. K-State did not play well enough to win. Kansas did Kansas things for enough bursts that it was never really in doubt after the 10th minute or so, and the Wildcats will have to try next year to end what is now a 17-game losing streak in the creaky old barn.

The Wildcats and Jayhawks have identical 18-4 records and are tied for second in the Big 12 race, with both teams at 6-3 and trailing (what’s this?) the Texas Longhorns, who come to Manhattan Saturday looking to avenge the 116-103 pasting Tang’s Gang put on them January 3rd in Austin.

Three Jayhawks scored in double figures. We won’t say who because I have work to do and have neither the time nor the desire to look up their first names.