K-State wanted it more. KU was the more talented team. It’s a story Wildcat fans are becoming accustomed to hearing, and played out again Tuesday night as Kansas was able to escape the Octagon of Doom, 59-55. It actually wasn’t that the Jayhawks were that much more physically dominant, faster, or flashier – tonight, they were just better shooters. K-State’s constant ball movement opened up several nice looks throughout the game but couldn’t seem to get the shots to fall. They finished the game with 35 percent shooting, hitting 30 percent from behind the arc.
I was jotting notes during the first half, and went into halftime with the following:
Rodriguez taking charges, creating fast breaks. Hit a layup over the 7 foot Withey by tossing the ball in a crazy loop about 15 feet into the air. He’s doing everything tonight.
K-State hustling way more – diving for loose balls. Several nice open shots given all the ball movement, they just won’t fall.
Withey is a beast, K-State still doing a good job of neutralizing him. Jordan Henriquez is showing up tonight.
McGruder off to a very slow start. He’s also spent some time on the bench resting. Hopefully he’ll be fresh and ready 2nd half.
KU definitely forcing K-State to be a perimeter team. Seeing some drives by the guards, but most possessions there’s just too much size to attack. Gipson not very athletic, but size issues make him a valuable commodity tonight. K-State starting four guards is tough in this match up.
KU’s Kevin Young seems like the most versatile defender on the team. I’d never heard of him before this game. I also don’t follow KU basketball.
K-State has 12 transition points – KU has 2.
K-State has taken three charges I’ve seen. Nasty. Hustle. They want it more, willing to sacrifice for the win.
Did they seriously miss 12 threes in the first half? That’s gotta change.
These notes applied to the entire game, but with an addendum: Rodney McGruder finally hit shots in the second half. He went 1-4 in the first half, as the 12 points from Angel Rodriguez and nine from Shane Southwell carried the team to open the game. There’s no question that K-State was outhustling KU. And they exhibited incredible ball control, only turning it over three times in the first 20 minutes. But one key stat tells everything: ten minutes into the second half, both teams had made five shots. KU had taken six, K-State 17. The Wildcats simply couldn’t find the net.
Jordan Henriguez performed admirably, logging 24 minutes while keeping Jeff Withey in check. KU’s center was also flustered the entire night, turning the ball over three times and committing three fouls while not recording a block for the first time all season (he was averaging almost five per game). Shane Southwell led the Wildcats in scoring, netting 19 while securing seven rebounds. He finished the night 5-11 from three point range while the rest of his time only hit 4-19. K-State falls to 4-1 in conference play and 15-3 overall, with a chance to exact revenge February 11 in the rematch against the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse.