Kansas freshman forward Silvio de Sousa and his eligibility was the story entering the Sunflower Showdown on Saturday morning, but that became an afterthought with Kansas barely escaping Kansas State 73-72.
K-State held a slight 27-25 edge in rebounding, marking just the seventh time this season better than an opponent on the boards and the second time in Big 12 play. Steals: 5 (Graham 2, Newman 2, Vick). He played actively defensively, but clearly lacked awareness on offense in his first game.
The Wildcats eventually gained some momentum, extending their brief lead to five points. Senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk tied the game going into halftime, however, with a three pointer at the buzzer.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Kansas coach Bill Self insists he hasn't spent any additional time this season working on late-game situations, those pressure-packed moments that are often the difference between victory and defeat. "The little play at the end of the half was huge".
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. His shooting ability was crucial, as he was able to stretch the floor and work efficiently from multiple spots. The Wildcats made 28 of their 37 free throws (75.7 percent) and had a turnover percentage of 10.5 (better than their season average of 14.8). Senior guard Devonte' Graham led all players with 23 points, 15 of which came in the second half, and was joined in double figures by sophomore Udoka Azubuike, who turned in an 18-point effort along with eight rebounds and a career-high five blocks.
After that run, though, the second half was all K-State.
The teams traded the lead in the final 30 seconds, as Sneed converted on a pair of free throws to give the Wildcats a 72-71 with 30 ticks left before Newman knocked down two free throws for the final score.
Kansas State Wildcat number 5, Barry Brown Jr., takes a shot during the basketball game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. on January 13, 2018.
"I should've passed the ball to Dean (Wade)", junior Barry Brown said after the loss. "I didn't want to wait that long". Technical Fouls: None. Fouled Out: None.
Self had little to say about the officiating, saying he thinks over the course of a game and a season, fouls calls even out between teams.
The nail-biting victory isn't anything new for this Kansas team, which has taken games down to the wire several times. Kansas struggled to get the ball inside and eventually went almost 10 minutes with just one field goal.
Devonte Graham led the Jayhawks with 23 points and 5 assists.
Kansas also got 11 points from Mykhailiuk and 10 from Vick, and that balanced scoring was important as the Jayhawks played with essentially a six-man rotation.
"I asked [de Sousa] 'Were you ready for that?' and he said 'No, '" Self said.
"We're going to be fine".
Wade was the leading scorer for K-State in the loss, pouring in 22 points with 11 in each half.
K-State refused to let the game get out of hand though, much due to impressive first-half performances from KSU's Xavier Snead and Dean Wade.
It will be a short turnaround for Kansas, which will face No. 2 West Virginia in Morgantown on Monday at 6:00 p.m. Kansas State will look to bounce back on Tuesday, when the Wildcats will host No. 9 Oklahoma for an 8:00 p.m. tip.