By Danny Clinkscale
While half the game was a visual mirage for many of the people in the city, we have another Sunflower Showdown in the books, and while the outcome was what was expected, there were ceratinly many interesting storylines that came out of the game.
As many of you didn't watch, the first half of the game more resembled sumo wrestling than basketball. "Let 'em play" would be a polite description of the first twenty minutes as two physical teams were only called for thirteen fouls total, with Kansas not even getting into the bonus. That hardscrabble D was handled better by Kansas, but only slightly. K-State show a polar 22 percent, and that made KU's 38 look tropical by comparison. KU's looks were better, but they didn't make enough, and so they were only up 10 at the break, when perhaps the game should have been over.
You can say many things about K-State, but quitter is certainly not one of them. Despite the dreadful experience of the first half, the Cats came out with fire and passion and actually took a lead. And I tell you what, maybe the Cats don't capitalize on it enough, but Bramledge Coliseum should be one of the great home advantages in the country. When K-State grabbed a 1-point lead, the Octagon was as loud as any building I have ever been in. "Sandstorm" and the students absolutely going nuts.
That is why it is even more of a compliment that Kansas calmly took that shot from KSU, and quickly restored order. Or should I say Tyshawn Taylor did. On a night where eventually he would have Kansas fans postulating as to whether he should be taken out of games late, (preposterous, by the way Taylor put on a virtuous three minutes that turned a Wildcat lead into a ten point deficit with three pointers, a roaring baseline dunk, and a hard to believe running hook over 7-foot Jordan Henriquez.
This all to the chagrin of the KSU fans behind me on the baseline, who were doing a great job of showing why the derivation of the word fan is fanatic. They were in full throat, screaming at the officiating crew that their 'Cats were getting screwed. At the time that I tweeted about it, with about eight minutes left in a alley brawl of a game, KSU had only been called for nine fouls to Kansas 14. Even after fouling intentionally several times at the end of the game, the 'Cats were called for less fouls. But that's why fans are great. I can tell you now that I was blind enough to be at Allen Fieldhouse as a student shriekingin just the same fashion that KU was getting the shaft.
After Taylor's heroics, the dye was cast. Kansas was going to survive a foul troubled night from Thomas Robinson because of Taylor and another monster night from Jeff Withey (who is worth a blog all by himself). Enough mistakes were made by KU down the stretch to keep the drama alive, but the Jayhawks got the roadie they needed to make it a mindblowing 44 of 47 in the series. They control their own destiny in the league. For the downcast 'Cats, they just didn't have anough skill to match their fight. It's bubble time again for Frank Martin's crew.
The Jayhawks still rule the Sunflower State, but you get the idea with the Border War ending, the instate rivalry is about to start cooking even hotter, and soon.