LAWRENCE — The first chapter of this season’s Sunflower Showdown has gone to Kansas, but it proved to be quite the page-turner.
The No. 12-ranked Jayhawks survived a 40-minute test from in-state rival Kansas State, 73-72, on Saturday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, sweating out a victory that ended only when Wildcat junior guard Barry Brown missed a deep 3-pointer as time expired.
Devonte’ Graham had a game-high 23 points for the Jayhawks (14-3, 4-1 Big 12), who also got double-digit scoring performances by Udoka Azubuike (18 points), Svi Mykhailiuk (11) and Lagerald Vick (10). Malik Newman’s pair of free-throw makes with 15.2 left put KU in front, and the Wildcats (12-5, 2-3) couldn’t get a good look off on their final possession.
Kansas native Dean Wade paced K-State with a team-high 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting, hitting a 3-pointer over Azubuike that gave the Wildcats a three-point lead with 3:30 to play, but Vick answered with his own 3 at the other end for one of the game’s 12 ties. Cartier Diarra (18 points), Xavier Sneed (14) and Brown (12) rounded out the double-digit scorers for K-State, which trailed by as many as 11 in the second half.
The teams entered halftime locked at 34-all after Mykhailiuk hit a pair of 3-pointers in the period’s final 37 seconds to salvage the push for the Jayhawks.
K-State, which trailed by as many as nine in the first half, rallied back to take a five-point lead on the strength of a 16-3 run. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Jayhawks by four in the opening period and took a six-point lead on a Diarra layup. Mykhailiuk, though, responded with two of his first-half treys, including one from NBA range as the clock expired.
An 11-0 run gave the Jayhawks an 11-point lead midway through the second half, with Graham scoring or assisting on all 11 points, but Diarra scored 11 straight team points for the Wildcats in a 17-6 run that got K-State back into the contest.
Check back later for more coverage of Saturday afternoon’s game.