MANHATTAN, Kan. — Just a few days ago, Kansas State lived by the 3-pointer in a win over Oklahoma.
On Tuesday night, the outside shot cost the Wildcats against bitter rival Kansas.
Unable to get into the lane all night against the Jayhawks’ dominant center Jeff Withey, the Wildcats resorted to taking 30 3-point attempts, making just nine. A couple more makes and the outcome may have been different in No. 11 Kansas State’ 59-55 loss to the third-ranked Jayhawks.
“You’ve got to hit the open ones, then you would make them defend you a little different,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “But we didn’t.”
Travis Releford scored 12 points, and Withey and Ben McLemore added 11 each for the Jayhawks (17-1, 5-0 Big 12), who pushed their nation-leading winning streak to 16 games — matching the third-longest under coach Bill Self — and ended the Wildcats’ 12-game home winning streak.
“To Kansas’ credit, they make plays,” Weber said. “They don’t get rattled.”
The Wildcats kept the game close by getting Withey into foul trouble with 13 minutes left, and by limiting the Jayhawks to six fast-break points, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Kansas State’s 35.1 percent shooting.
Shane Southwell, who scored a career-high 19 points, got Kansas State (15-3, 4-1) within 56-53 with a scooping layup with 38.2 seconds left. But after Naadir Tharpe made two foul shots to restore the Jayhawks’ five-point lead, the Wildcats’ Rodney McGruder misfired from beyond the arc at the other end.
McLemore was fouled and missed his free throw, and McGruder made two to get Kansas State within 58-55 with 5 seconds left. But Elijah Johnson’s free throw put the game away.
McGruder finished with 13 points and Angel Rodriguez had 12, all in the first half, as the Wildcats lost for the 45th time in 48 games against their bitter in-state rival.
They also fell to 2-23 against Kansas at Bramlage Coliseum.