Kansas vs. Kansas State score, takeaways: No. 8 Jayhawks get revenge on No. 7 Wildcats in top-10 showdown

Two weeks after falling in overtime during this season's first Sunflower Showdown, No. 8 Kansas secured revenge Tuesday with a 90-78 win over No. 7 Kansas State behind another huge night from Jalen Wilson. The Jayhawks' star forward reached the 20-point mark for a fifth straight game as he finished finished with 20 to lift KU (18-4, 6-3 Big 12) into a tie for second place in the league standings with the Wildcats (18-4, 6-3).

Wilson helped Kansas build its lead while defense helped the Jayhawks sustain it as they limited K-State to a season-worst 33.9% shooting from the floor. Star guards Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson combined for 45 points for Kansas State but made just 5 of 18 attempts from the floor in the second half. While Wilson stood out again, nine different players scored for Kansas with point guard Dajuan Harris tying his career-high with 18.

A win for Kansas State would have earned the Wildcats their first season sweep of the Jayhawks since the 1962-63 season and their first victory at Allen Fieldhouse since 2006. But Kansas continued to show that its stunning 83-60 home loss to TCU on Jan. 21 was only an aberration. That defeat was part of a three-game losing streak for Kansas which came to an end in a win at Kentucky on Saturday. 

With back-to-back wins now over Kentucky and Kansas State, Kansas officially appears to be back on track as the reigning national champions build toward another postseason run.

Bracketology Implications

When Kansas State beat Kansas in the first meeting, it helped the Wildcats legitimize their resume. Shortly thereafter, they rose to a projected No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament in Jerry Palm's Bracketology. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks slipped off the projected No. 1 seed line amid their losing streak. But with Tuesday's win, the Jayhawks are returning to the projected No. seed 1 line and K-State is falling to the No. 2 line, according to Palm. 

There are still several weeks before Selection Sunday, but the Jayhawks are 9-4 in Quad 1 games now while Kansas State is 5-3 in Quad 1 opportunities. The Wildcats are 3-3 over their last six games and host No. 10 Texas on Saturday.

Harris' big night

Entering the season, it appeared a larger offensive role could be in store for Harris, who averaged 5.4 points per game as a pass-first point guard during KU's national title run last season. But entering Tuesday's contest, Harris was averaging just 6.4 points in league games and looking hesitant to pursue baskets for himself. Over a four-game January stretch, Harris scored a total of five points on 2-of-18 shooting as the Jayhawks lost three of those four games.

Against Kentucky, however, Harris bounced out of his funk with eight points, including a pair of huge early 3-pointers to help the Jayhawks get back in the win column. He took it to another level against K-State, especially in the second half as the trio of Wilson, Gradey Dick and Kevin McCullar combined to shoot 3 of 14 from the field. The primary options struggling, Harris took it upon himself to help out and scored 12 in the second half alone.

Bench contributions 

Kansas entered the game ranked 346th nationally in bench minutes, per kenpom.com. But the Jayhawks received substantive contributions from their reserves, even as backup center Zuby Ejiofor missed the game due to a foot injury. Bobby Pettiford, Joseph Yesufu, Zach Clemence and Ernest Udeh Jr. each logged between 10 and 15 minutes off the bench, and all of them hit shots from the field as KU outscored Kansas State's bench 19-9.

As the Jayhawks mount their title defense and plod through the grind of Big 12 play, receiving steady contributions from the bench will be a necessity. Tuesday's game marked a step in the right direction in that regard. 

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@KUHoops via Twitter
February 1, 2023, 4:13 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 1, 2023, 3:08 AM

Kansas cold

The Jayhawks have been pretty feast or famine tonight and are in another stretch of 3+ minutes without a bucket as Kansas State hovers within 10 at the u4 timeout. This one isn't over just yet as both teams are now in the double bonus. K-State may be able to muck this up just enough down the stretch to stay within striking distance.

February 1, 2023, 3:01 AM

Jayhawks in command

Kansas State is shooting just 33% from the floor now and trails by 15 as Kansas takes a 76-61 edge into the u8 timeout. This second half hasn't been beautiful, but KU is stifling the Wildcats. Nowell and Johnson are a combined 2 for 10 from the floor in the half. Desi Sills is trying to pick up the slack by attacking the basket, but the Wildcats are gonna need to get hot from 3 to get back in this thing.

February 1, 2023, 2:50 AM

Danger zone

Kansas State has been unable to string together scores or stops and is in a danger zone here still trailing by double digits midway through the second half. They're never totally out of it with two elite scorers in Nowell and Johnson, but it feels important that K-State get this thing to 10 or less by the u8 timeout.

February 1, 2023, 2:43 AM

Foul carnage

Nowell, N'Guessan, Johnson and Sills each with 3 for Kansas State. For KU, Udeh has 4, Adams has 3 and Dick has 3. Jayhawks in command at the u 12 timeout up 66-54. Neither team shooting well in the second half, but the Wildcats are already in the bonus. Kansas may have 40 free throw attempts before this is over.

February 1, 2023, 2:36 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 1, 2023, 2:35 AM

Kansas State on a run

It's a 6-0 spurt for the Wildcats as we hit the u16 media timeout. Keyontae Johnson has three fouls for K-State but Udeh and Adams are racking up fouls for KU, which will force Self to keep the bench involved in the front court. Wildcats just hanging around after KU briefly extended the lead to 14 out of the break. Kansas is 0 for 3 from deep early in the half.

February 1, 2023, 2:25 AM

Free-throw prowess

Markquis Nowell scored 11 points on just six attempts from the field in the first half in large part because he made 5 of 5 free throws. He's an excellent FT shooter and can salvage bad possessions by drawing fouls. Jayhawks are 13 of 17 from the line, though, and keeping pace in that regard as K-State was whistled for 12 fouls in the first half.

February 1, 2023, 2:10 AM

Second half storylines

Can Kansas State cut back on turnovers after coughing it up 10 times in the first half? Those miscues led to 15 Kansas points. Also, can KU start out from deep? Six different players made 3-pointers for KU in the half, which is pretty wild for a team that doesn't get a ton from its bench on most nights. Udeh and Adams both have two fouls for KU, so if Kansas State is aggressive in attacking the paint, it could force Self into playing Zach Clemence more minutes.

February 1, 2023, 2:00 AM

Approaching half

Kansas was lights out from beyond the arc in the first half and won the turnover battle. The Jayhawks also got a lot of points off those turnovers. Kansas State withstood all that to remain within striking distance. The Wildcats face an uphill climb, but if they take care of the basketball and KU cools off, then we'll have a ball game in the second half.

February 1, 2023, 1:55 AM
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