Kansas Points vs. Kansas State: No. 13 Wildcats Stun No. 2 Jayhawks in OT, ending consecutive Sunflower showdown

Kansas State He took his stellar turnaround season to new heights on Tuesday as the No. 13-ranked Wildcats finished in second place Kansas 83-82 in overtime at Bramlage Coliseum. The result snapped a seven-game losing streak for K-State at the Sunflower Showdown as first year head coach Jerome Tang’s lineup improved to 16-2 (5-1 Big 12) in his first taste of in-state competition.

Wildcats winger Keyontae Johnson caught a break from Markquis Nowell and made a touchdown with 25 seconds left to put K-State ahead. With a chance to tie or take the lead in the dying seconds on the ensuing possession, Kansas committed a game-ending turnover. Moments later, the Kansas State students stormed the field to celebrate a massive victory for a program that had come off three straight losing seasons before Tang arrived.

The win was particularly impressive because it came on a quiet night for star guard Marques Noel, who scored a season-low four points. former Arkansas And Arkansas State Guard Desi Seals moved up 24 points off the bench, and Johnson added 24 as well.

None were more important to Johnson and the Wildcats than the spurting of the highlight reel in the last minute, especially as it came on Kansas star Jalen Wilson, who scored 38 points in a losing effort. Wilson scored eight of KU’s 10 points in the extra period, but were unable to seal the win for his team in a thrilling encounter.

Keyontae Johnson gets redemption

Johnson had a chance to win it in the dying seconds of regulation after Nyquan Tomlin forced a Kansas changeup that led to a breakup attempt, but Johnson’s shot hit the backboard just before time expired. The Wildcats wanted to foul on Kansas big man Zuby Ejiofor, who objected to the shot. But in a game that featured 49 foul calls and a total of 67 free throw attempts, there was no whistle in play.

In the end, Johnson got his salvation with a go-ahead rush in overtime. The Big Dunk stands out as the greatest standout moment yet in Johnson’s comeback from an on-court meltdown in December 2020 that threatened his career. Johnson was playing for Florida at the time and was not medically cleared for the rest of the 2020-21 season, and he didn’t play last season either because he adapted to a pseudo coaching role with the Gators.

As it turns out, Johnson has a lot left in the tank as a player. He entered Tuesday’s game averaging 18.4 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Wildcats and turned in another Sterling performance. Johnson finished 7 of 17 from the floor and 8 of 9 from the free throw line.

Legalization of Kansas

Kansas entered as the No. 1 projected seed into the NCAA Tournament, according to CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm, and the Jayhawks will still be on the No. 1 projected starting streak for now. Kansas State entered as a projected No. 4 seed and only added more cred to an already impressive resume.

The Wildcats entered with a stellar 4-1 record in Quad 1 games, but the win over Kansas stands out above any other victory to date for several reasons. First, it came against a despised in-state rival who had dominated the series in recent seasons. But it should also silence some lingering skeptics who wonder if Kansas State will remain relevant nationally under a first-year coach amid the rigors of Big 12 play.

K-State suffered its second loss of the season Saturday when it went down 82-68 at TCU, giving some ammunition to those who had assumed the Wildcats would start to fade after an amazing 4-0 start to the league. But after Tuesday night’s win against the Jayhawks, losing the road to the Horned Frogs seems like nothing more than the cost of doing business in what appears to be the ruggedest conference in the country.

Kansas down late appetizers

Wilson’s performance stood out for the Jayhawks as he finished 12-of-25 from the floor and 11-of-12 from the free throw line. He added nine rebounds and two blocks for good measure in a performance that will only cement his status as a front-runner for the Big 12 Player of the Year. But his heroics for Kuwait University were necessarily more than intentional.

Kansas winger Kevin McCullar fouled with 5:47 remaining after holding scoreless for the first time this season. Then, KU center KJ Adams fouled with 1:43 remaining after scoring 17 points, leaving the Jayhawks down two starters in the closing stretch of regulation.

Finally, freshman star Grady Dick fouled with 1:31 left in overtime. The takedown combination left the Jayhawks without three of their top four scorers on the floor during the final 1:31 of overtime. Having three backup players on the floor with the game on the line in a top-15 road battle was far from ideal.

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