The first edition of the Sunflower Showdown in men’s basketball for 2024 pitted two teams that seemed to be headed in opposite directions. The fourth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks were fresh off their most impressive win of conference play, a thirteen-point win over Houston on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Kansas State Wildcats had lost four in a row and could feel their NCAA Tournament chances slipping away.
But Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum, K-State flipped their season’s narrative on its head.
Tylor Perry scored 26 points, including five straight to give the Wildcats the lead for good, and K-State improved to 6-0 on the season and 11-0 over the last two seasons in overtime games with a 75-70 victory over the Jayhawks.
It was Perry’s circus layup to beat the shot clock that gave K-State a 67-66 lead in the extra period, and a three pointer with 1:54 to play gave the Wildcats some separation. KU would get within a basket on two occasions late, but Perry and Arthur Kaluma combined to go 5-6 at the free throw line in the waning moments to ice the game.
After a tense and tight first 20 minutes that saw KU take a 32-30 lead into the locker room, it looked like the Jayhawks might blow the Wildcats away in the second half. KU went on a 9-0 run in the first 2:37 of the half to take their largest lead of the game at 41-30. That’s when Perry, who had scored just five points in a characteristically quiet first half, got rolling. He hit back-to-back threes as part of an 11-0 Wildcat run that tied the score with 15 minutes remaining. The Wildcats were unable to get over the hump until later in the half, when they scored seven straight points at the free throw line to take their first lead of the second half at 55-52.
The Jayhawks wouldn’t go quietly, putting together a 6-0 run in just over a minute’s time to take a 62-60 lead on a Kevin McCullar basket with 1:42 to play. But K-State scored the next two baskets, second-chance hoops by Perry and Kaluma, to go on top 64-62. Kansas tied the game with a KJ Adams slam with 14 seconds left, and Perry’s last-second shot missed, sending the game to overtime. Where Kansas was playing their first overtime game of the season, K-State was much more accustomed to the extra session, and they showed it, holding KU to 2-9 shooting and going 6-8 at the charity stripe to help secure the much-needed win.
In addition to Perry’s big night, Cam Carter posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds for K-State. Kaluma added 13 points. Hunter Dickinson’s 21 points and 12 rebounds led the Jayhawks, who also got 15 points apiece from Dajuan Harris and McCullar and 13 from Adams. After shooting 69 percent in their win over Houston and their top-ranked defense on Saturday, KU managed just 41 percent (28-68) from the field, their lowest mark in any Big 12 game this season.
The Wildcats improved to 15-8 overall and 5-5 in Big 12 play with the win. Kansas falls to 18-5 and 6-4 in the Big 12. K-State is on the road at #21 BYU this Saturday, while KU returns to Allen Fieldhouse to host #13 Baylor on Saturday.