What Went Wrong for the Jayhawks in Manhattan?

As the Jayhawks fell to Kansas State, the Big 12 title became uncertain, the court was stormed, and everything became much more complicated.

Once upon a time, the Kansas Jayhawks seemed to be a lock for Big 12 Champions.

The way the Jayhawks ran through their conference foes at the beginning of the season, starting 8-1, it seemed like an 11th consecutive Big 12 title was destiny once again. After a few mistakes and a trip up here and there, Kansas watched their conference lead dwindle. But by winning in Manhattan against Kansas State, assuming KU would then go on to win all its home games, they would clinch at least a share of the Big 12 title.

But it was not to be.

The game started off well enough, as Perry Ellis went on a run and singlehandedly scored KU’s first 9 points. The first half was back and forth, with Ellis looking like a man on a mission, scoring almost at will. The half ended with K-State taking a 1 point lead at half on free throws earned by a (questionable) foul called on Landen Lucas going up for a rebound with 1.2 seconds left. Perry Ellis was clearly the go-to guy in the first half, shooting 7-10 from the field while the rest of the team shot 6-21.  Despite that, there didn’t seem to be much reason to worry.

The second half was similar. Both teams kept in the game with several lead changes. KU went on a 9-0 run to take a 41-33 lead with 16:31 left to play in the game. K-State came back to tie it with 11:22 remaining. Both teams continued back in forth until K-State went on an 8-0 run to take a 60-54 lead with just over 6 minutes remaining. That was the nail in the coffin, as KU’s offense was nonexistent late in the game. KU finished the game by hitting 2 of their last 14 shots and going 1 of 10 in the last 9:30. They made two field goals in the last 11 minutes.

K-State’s Nigel Johnson had an absolute monster of a night, going off for a career high 20 points on 8-11 shooting, 4-5 from three.

Kansas’ Perry Ellis finished with 24 points on 10-16 shooting in 38 minutes. He also seemed much more aggressive, going for a few dunks in this game, including a missed alley oop. This is very good news for KU fans as his newfound aggressiveness bodes well for the future.

“[Ellis] was going to be aggressive playing K-State,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “He likes to play K-State. It obviously means a lot to him, and we did a good job getting him the ball, and he finished for us.”

Kelly Oubre was the only other Kansas player who scored in double digits, finishing with 14 points in 28 minutes while shooting 5-13 from the field.

Yet what became the big story in this Sunflower Showdown matchup was not anything that happened during the game, but rather what happened immediately after.

The calm before the (court) storm. Photo by Ryan Landreth, 2/23/15.

As expected after the upset, K-State fans rushed the court.

Now. It’s really hard not to get wrapped up in hyperbole, but K-State fans mobbed Kansas coaches and players, with Bruce Weber doing his best to protect Bill Self.

After the game Weber said, “Finally I just said ‘the heck with it.’ I started pushing people out of the way. Which is sad.”

There was also a K-State fan who hip-checked Jamari Traylor off the court at the end of the game, then appeared to be restrained by someone on KU’s coaching staff.

“I wasn’t nervous for me,” Self said. “There were several students that hit our players. … This has got to stop.”

Seth Davis, a college basketball writer for SI.com, has voiced displeasure over court-storming before on Twitter, and it was no different after Monday’s contest.

Kansas has lost the lead in the Big 12 title race, and the streak is in question now more than ever.

NOTES:

– Ellis: 24 points on 10-16 shooting and 9 rebounds.

– Oubre: 14 points and 7 rebounds.

– Selden: 7 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

– Greene: 7 points, with a surprising 0-4 from three.

– Cliff Alexander had 4 rebounds, 4 fouls, a steal, and a block in 10 minutes.

–  Kansas only shot 2-14 from three: 15.4%. – I’m going to maintain my view of the blue jerseys being the reason KU actually loses, as opposed to whatever performance they turn out.

– Now seems like a good time to bring up that Nigel Johnson had 2 points in the last 3 games before exploding for 20 tonight.

– There were three objectionable foul calls on Cliff Alexander.

– The three centers for Kansas tonight (Alexander, Lucas, and Traylor) combined for 0 field goals. Someone would have to look it up, but I doubt that’s ever happened before with a Self-led KU team.

– K-State’s air ball chant sounds really angry. It might be the fastest air ball chant I’ve ever heard.

– Frank Mason is either very, very strong or Thomas Gipson is very weak.

– Brent Musburger: “I don’t know of a better student body in the country,” as KSU students chant “F— KU!”

– Ex-Missouri guard Kim English tweeted, praising Traylor and Self.

Next up: Home on Saturday against the Texas Longhorns.

Dylan King

Staff writer for Rock Chalk Blog. http://twitter.com/_DK22