K-State Falls at 9/11 Kansas, 68-57


LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas State was unable to overcome a poor first half of shooting, falling to No. 9/11 Kansas, 68-57, on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 16,300 at Allen Fieldhouse.

K-State (12-10, 5-4) hit only 6 of its 35 attempts from the field in the first half. The 17.1 percent success rate tied for the fourth-lowest field goal percentage in a half in school history.

The second half saw the Wildcats fare much better, scoring 40 points on 56 percent shooting (14-of-25) but Kansas (18-3, 7-1) was able to limit the overall damage, using its 16-point first half lead en route to a comfortable 11-point victory. The Jayhawks were good on 12 of their 24 attempts of the floor in the second half, not allowing K-State to cut the lead to single digits at any point during the contest’s final 20 minutes.

Individually, K-State was buoyed by Thomas Gipson and Marcus Foster, who both collected a game-high 19 points. Gipson, who notched his 55th career game with double-digit scoring, was 7-of-13 from the field and tacked on a team-leading 7 rebounds in the process. Foster, meanwhile, collected his team-best 18th game in double-figure scoring this season.   

The Basics
Final Score: 9/11 Kansas 68, Kansas State 57
Records: Kansas State (12-9, 5-3 Big 12); 9/11 Kansas (17-3, 6-1 Big 12)
Attendance: 16,300 (paid)
Next Game: Wednesday, Feb. 4 \\ at Texas Tech (11-10, 1-7 Big 12) \\ 8 p.m. CT \\ ESPNU

The Short Story
•    Despite outscoring the Jayhawks 40-to-35 in the final 20 minutes of the contest, the Wildcats could not dig themselves out of a season-worst first half of shooting. Hitting only 17.1 percent of its shots (6-of-35), K-State faced a season-high 16-point deficit heading into the halfway mark down 33-17. The Jayhawks used the cushion to secure their ninth-straight win over the Wildcats at Allen Field House.
•    The first half shooting performance by K-State was tied for the fourth-worst in school history and lowest since shooting 16.1 percent (5-of-31) at Michigan State on Dec. 21, 1996. And the Wildcats’ 17 points scored were the second-lowest output of the season, behind only the first half against Georgia that saw K-State notch 12 points on Dec. 31, 2014.
•    K-State was able to finish the game strong, hitting 14-of-25 from the field for a 56 percent success rate, including 5-of-7 from deep. The second half-surge marked the 12th time this season and fourth time in the past five games that the Wildcats have shot 50 percent or better in the second half.
•    Thomas Gipson broke out of a recent stretch that saw him score only 14 total points in his past two games, to record 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-7 from the line. Gipson, who played 30 or more minutes for a fifth-consecutive game, notched double-digit points for the fourth time in conference play and the 19 points are his highest scoring effort since also cashing 19 against Georgia on New Year’s Eve. The senior also led the Wildcats in rebounding with 7 total, a team-leading seventh time he has led the team in boards this season.
•    Marcus Foster matched Gipson’s total, also scoring a game-high 19 points, while also pitching in 6 rebounds. Foster was 7-of-18 from the field for the game, but improved drastically in the contest’s second half. The sophomore was 5-of-7 in the second half, including 3-of-4 from three. He has been a steadying force for the Wildcat offense, scoring double-digits in eighth-straight conference games this season.

How It Happened  |  First Half
•    The Jayhawks got off to a hot start on offense, hitting five of its first six shots from the field to take an early 10-4 lead four minutes into the contest.
•    On the flip side, the Wildcats saw themselves only convert one of their first 11 tries, allowing Kansas to balloon its advantage to 15, 20-5, at the 11:59 mark. The Jayhawks were 9-of-12 during that opening stretch.
•    K-State eventually righted the ship on the defensive end, allowing KU to score 13 total points the rest of the half. It was a solid answer defensively, as the Jayhawks went only 5-of-22 from the field with five turnovers.  
•    The Wildcats were unable to make up any considerable ground on the offensive end though, continuing their dismal shooting. K-State hit 5 of its 24 attempts in the final 12 of the half, including going 0 for its last 7.  
•    Mustering only 17 points, the ‘Cats trailed the Jayhawks 33-17 after the first 20 minutes – K-State’s second lowest scoring output in the first half this season, bettered by only its 12-point first half against Georgia on Dec. 31, 2014.
•    Shooting aside, KU’s dominance in the paint played a major role in its 16-point advantage, as the Jayhawks pumped out 22 points in the painted area compared to 10 for the Wildcats. Junior Jayhawk Perry Ellis finished the half with a double-double on 13 points and 10 boards.
•    K-State was able to outshoot the Jayhawks, 35-to-34, but saw only six (17.1 percent) of its attempts fall compared to 14 (41.2 percent) for KU. Thomas Gipson was one of only three Wildcats to record points, leading K-State with seven points.

How It Happened  |  Second Half
•    The second half got off to a much better start for the Wildcats offensively, as they opened true on 5-of-7 from the field to pick up a quick nine points. The Jayhawks though were able to match baskets, keeping the scoring at 40-26 after the early Wildcat scoring barrage.
•    The contest would remain a back-and-forth affair, with both teams scoring 18 points apiece in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
•    With the score at 51-35, K-State briefly took advantage of a Brannen Greene turnover, scoring five-straight points all via Foster, including a three at the 9:03 mark, to cut the Jayhawk lead to 11 points. The deficit would shrink no less for the rest of the contest though, as Greene made up for his earlier miscue by answering Foster’s three to make the score 54-40 KU with 8:28 remaining.
•    From there, both teams matched baskets with the Wildcats briefly cutting the lead to 11 points thanks to back-to-back threes from Stephen Hurt with 40 seconds remaining. Wayne Selden, Jr., would go onto to close out the scoring, hitting a free throw with six seconds left to make the game a final at 68-57.
•    As mentioned before, K-State rebounded from a tough first half of shooting, finishing the game’s final 20 hitting 14-of-25 from the field (56 percent) to outscore KU 40-to-35.

Beyond the Boxscore
•    Kansas now leads the all-time series, 188-92, including 86-35 at home. The Jayhawks have now won 40 of the 44 match-ups in the Big 12 era, including 9 in a row at Allen Fieldhouse. The last K-State win came by a score of 59-55 on Jan. 14, 2006.
•    Today’s game marked the fifth-straight opponent K-State has faced that is either ranked or receiving votes, including the second Top 10 foe. The Wildcats are now 2-4 against the top 25 and 0-2 against schools in the Top 10.
•    The Wildcats were held to their third-lowest field goal percentage (33.3 percent/20-of-60) and their lowest in Big 12 play. They connected on 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from 3-point range and have connected on at least one try from deep in 229 consecutive games.
•    The 16-point first half deficit was the Wildcats’ largest this season. K-State is now 9-24 under head coach Bruce Weber when trailing at the half, including 3-8 this season.

•    “I was very disappointed in our competitive spirit on the defensive end at the start of the game… We’re a good defensive team, we talked about staying in character and doing what we do, but we let them get layup after layup to start the game.” said head coach Bruce Weber. “Our guys didn’t quit. They kept battling. When we were able to get it to Thomas (Gipson), he was very effective, I thought Marcus (Foster) settled down in the second half and did a better job, but we didn’t get much off the bench.”

Up Next
•    K-State continues its road swing on Wednesday, as the Wildcats travel to Lubbock, Texas to play Texas Tech (11-10, 1-7 Big 12) at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The squad will return home on Saturday, Feb. 7 to host 19/20 Texas (14-6, 3-4 Big 12) at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN.