No. 3 Kansas 74, Kansas St. 65
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)—Kansas State scored 65 points. So did Kansas’ trio of Wayne Simien, Keith Langford and J.R. Giddens.
Toss in nine points from four teammates and the third-ranked Jayhawks had a 74-65 victory Wednesday night, stretching their winning streak against their frustrated state rivals to 29 games.
Even more improbable is the 22-game winning streak the Jayhawks have strung together on the Wildcats’ home court. Kansas has not lost in Manhattan since 1983.
“It’s one of the most unbelievable things we have in sports,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “You just don’t have this away from home. A lot of lucky bounces and a lot of good teams, and tonight we were fortunate to have both.”
A sellout crowd—the first at Bramlage Coliseum since Kansas was here in 2003—carried anti-Kansas signs and put up a roar through most of the game. Someone even managed to throw a live chicken under the Kansas bench shortly before tipoff.
But the Jayhawks (19-1, 9-0 Big 12) never trailed and withstood a late rally to win their fifth in a row since playing poorly in their only loss of the season at Villanova.
“We played pretty well for the most part but we got some lucky breaks, too,” Self. said
“It’s going to end. There’s no doubt it’s going to end,” he said of the streak. “I certainly hope we can extend it as long as possible.”
The Wildcats (13-7, 3-6) uncorked a 14-2 run late in the game that included Fred Peete’s 3-pointer followed by five straight points by Jeremiah Massey. Cartier Martin’s jumper brought the crowd to its feet and sliced the lead to 58-54 with 4:21 to go.
But then Simien made a free throw and Langford broke Kansas State’s zone defense by driving the lane for a layup at the shot-clock buzzer. A moment later when the Wildcats threatened again, Giddens hit a 3-pointer from deep in the corner that Self said was the biggest basket of the game.
“After we win, it’s fun to look into the stands with a little grin on my face,” Giddens said. “The trash talk from the fans motivates me.”
With 1:16 left, Peete hit a 3-pointer to answer one by Giddens and make it 64-59.
Simien made two free throws and increased the lead to 73-64 with less than a minute left.
Simien had 23 points and 13 rebounds—his 30th career double-double— Langford had 24 points and Giddens added 18, including 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. The senior-dominated Jayhawks shot 53 percent and held Kansas State, which has only one senior among its top six players, to 38 percent.
Peete and Massey each had 20 points for Kansas State, which has lost three in a row overall.
“They’ve got an awfully good basketball team,” Kansas State coach Jim Wooldridge said. “They can move it from spot to spot and there is always a weapon waiting on it.”
The loss left Wooldridge 0-10 in five seasons against his school’s most hated rival. He is 64-72 since taking over a program that had sunk to the depths of the Big 12 under Tom Asbury.
“I kind of feel bad for Jim to be honest with you because it’s not fair to put (the streak) all on him,” Self said. “I know there’s a lot of people who would be very disappointed in our team if we don’t come over here and be successful.”
In one of the longest streaks of any rivalry in college basketball in recent years, Kansas State has not beaten Kansas since upsetting the top-ranked Jayhawks 68-64 at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994.
Kansas, which last lost in Manhattan on Jan. 29, 1983, closed out the first half on a 9-2 run for a 35-25 lead.