Maybe in Kansas City at the Big 12 Championships Kansas State can get Kansas, but it was not to be Wednesday night in Allen Fieldhouse where the Jayhawks spanked K-State, 82-65, to secure the outright regular season conference title.
The win was KU's 59th in a row at home and a victory over the highest ranked team in No. 5 K-State that the Jayhawks had played this season. The game was knotted at 45-all at the 17:06 mark, when Brady Morningstar hit a trey, and so did Tyrel Reed to spark a 9-0 Kansas run that the Wildcats could not match.
K-State did trim the difference to four, 57-53, at the 11:48 mark, but from then on it was all Kansas.
"We kind of succumbed to the pressure," said K-State coach Frank Martin. "We had four assists for the game, and it's hard to win with four assists. Kansas did a heckuva job of guarding us, and because of foul trouble, we had some lineups in there that made it difficult to score."
And, K-State didn't score making only a dozen points in the last 11:48 of the game.
"We got some looks, but they just didn't go in," Pullen said of K-State's two field goals in the last 11:49 of the game.
"We couldn't get stops and our defense leads to our offense. We didn't do a good job of turning stops into scores. It's tough to score when you have to set up against a big team that guards the way they do.
"They did a great job of guarding and we had some mental breakdowns," Pullen said of the turn of events. "Whether it wasn't boxing out or not rotating, we had lapses and we paid for them."
Defensively, K-State went zone for the majority of the game the "…we were bad with our man-to-man defense. We're not a zone team, so all the zone did was put a mask on our defensive deficiencies for a while, but eventually they were able to get the shots that they wanted and they made them. The zone eventually caught up with us, then offensively we were just bad. We never passed the ball and we never completed our plays, but they had a lot to do with that."
It was a wild opening to the second half as K-State scored the first seven points to knot the game at 45-all on a Denis Clemente trey at the 17:06 mark.
KU responded with a 12-2 run to go up 57-47, only to have Kansas State score the next six points to make it 57-53 at the 11:48 mark on a Clemente 3-ball.
That, however, is where the fun ended for K-State.
Kansas went on an 18-4 surge to make it 75-57, holding K-State without a field goal until the 3:34 mark, or more than eight minutes, to put the game away. During the stretch, KSU went 0-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from the line.
"We had the game in a position to win it, but we let it slip away," Pullen said of KU's run. All of the trends K-State had going fell apart in this one.
Averaging 34 points in the first half and 44 in the second in the last half-dozen Big 12 games, K-State went 38 and 27 in this one.
The ‘Cats had not made 50 percent in a Big 12 first half this year, but they shot 50 percent in the first half, but slipped to 29 percent in the second for a game total of 40 percent.
Now heading into Saturday's regular-season finale against Iowa State, Martin said, "We've been a good team all year, and this doesn't change anything. We lost to the best team in the country, so we don't have anything to hang our heads about."