Coming off of a home loss against Iowa State over the weekend, No. 3 Kansas responded with a close 74-71 road win at rival Kansas State on Monday night.
After the Big 12 went through chaos over the weekend with the Jayhawks, Baylor and West Virginia all losing, Kansas took the first step in figuring things out at the top of the conference race by winning ugly.
It wasn’t the best performance from Kansas (21-3, 9-2) on Monday but they were still able to get it done. Senior guard Frank Mason led the Jayhawks with 21 points while Josh Jackson added 18 points despite battling foul trouble. The Jayhawks looked exhausted and continued to make more unforced turnovers than normal but they got a bit of a boost from the return of forward Carlton Bragg (suspension) as they earned a solid win.
Kansas State (16-8, 5-6) couldn’t follow up the win over Baylor with another top-three win as they fell just short of really making its NCAA tournament case a strong one. Forward Dean Wade led a balanced scoring effort with 20 points as the Wildcats did a great job of pounding the offensive glass — finishing with 20 offensive boards.
Improving its offensive efficiency from shooting 38 percent is important but head coach Bruce Weber has to feel good that his team just went toe-to-toe with two potential No. 1 seeds (Baylor and Kansas) and went 1-and-1 with a one-possession loss. Kansas State gets another crack at a top-15 team in conference play with a road game at West Virginia for its next game.