By Matt Galloway
Posted at 10:23 PM Updated at 10:30 PM
MANHATTAN — The Big 12 still goes through Kansas — at least for another week.
The No. 7-ranked Jayhawks downed in-state rival Kansas State 70-56 on Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum, racing out to a huge advantage and holding on during the Wildcats’ only true push early in the second half. The victory ensured a Sunflower Showdown season sweep for KU, which will retain at least a share of the conference lead when the week’s action is finished.
Svi Mykhailiuk had a game-high 22 points for the Jayhawks, while Devonte’ Graham (16 points, 11 assists) and Malik Newman (13 points, 10 rebounds) finished with double-doubles. Dean Wade had a team-high 20 points for the Wildcats, who entered the game in a four-way logjam for second place at one game behind KU.
Lights-out shooting lifted the Jayhawks (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) to a 13-point lead at the half.
KU made 12 of its first 14 field-goal attempts and six of its first seven shots from beyond the arc en route to a 31-16 advantage with 7:47 left in the opening period. The Wildcats (16-6, 5-4) got back into it on the strength of an 11-1 run but shot 25.7 percent from the field and made just 2 of 15 3-point attempts in the first half, while KU shot 70 percent.
A Lagerald Vick dunk on a Graham lob ended the K-State run and kick-started an 8-0 finish to the half that gave KU its 40-27 edge at the break. Graham had seven assists in the opening period, helping KU offset a 12-2 turnover deficit. Mykhailiuk led KU in the first half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting and had a highlight chase-down block of Xavier Sneed on a breakaway dunk attempt.
The Jayhawks outscored the Wildcats 13-0 in transition in the first half, exposing a K-State squad that had been allowing just 7.9 transition points per game, the fewest in the Big 12, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
As hot as the KU shooting was in the first half, it was ice cold to start the second, giving K-State a window to get back into the contest.
The Jayhawks missed their first 11 field-goal attempts to start the period, allowing the Wildcats to claw back within five on the strength of an 8-0 rally. But K-State committed back-to-back turnovers after that, including one forced by a trap out of a KU timeout, and Mykhailiuk’s 3-pointer with 12:53 to play represented his team’s first bucket of the half and again built the Jayhawk lead to 10, where it hovered the rest of the way.
Mykhailiuk’s fifth and final 3 gave KU a 14-point advantage with just over three minutes to play, effectively icing the team’s third straight victory at the “Octagon of Doom.” Vick had 11 points to round out KU’s double-digit scorers, while Sneed had 10 to do the same for K-State. Wildcat guard Barry Brown, who entered second in Big 12 play in scoring, finished with nine points on 4-for-16 shooting.
KU returns to action at 11 a.m. Saturday with a home contest against Oklahoma State, while K-State will next play 3 p.m. Saturday at No. 15 West Virginia.