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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Tang criticizes effort in blowout loss in Allen Fieldhouse

Wildcats fall in devastating 90-68 loss to Kansas in needed victory
Avery Johnson
Head coach Jerome Tang shouts at his players during the game against KU. Tang criticized the Wildcats’ effort in the 90-68 loss.

Kansas State men’s basketball suffered a blowout 90-68 loss to the No. 14 Kansas Jayhawks on its senior night. The loss puts a strain on K-State’s NCAA tournament chances after already being listed as the 11th best team to miss the tournament by bracketologist before the game.

“There’s more Quad 1 opportunities for us there [Big 12 tournament],” head coach Jerome Tang said. “There’s a lot of basketball left in the season.

For Tang, one difference stuck out in the game.

“When the other team runs faster than you on every possession and cuts harder than you on every possession, has a little bit more fight and want to then you do, these are the kind of results you have,” Tang said, placing emphasis on the team’s effort.

Tang mentioned multiple times in his postgame press conference about a lack of effort from his team.

“Our effort didn’t match what our fans deserve,” Tang said. “The results may not always come through. … To put on a K-State uniform, to wear the purple – you take on this ownership that I’m gonna be the hardest working, most competitive, gritty group of people that anyone will ever come in contact with.”

K-State gained momentum in back-to-back wins in late February thanks to the play of guard Tylor Perry. The star of many second halves never found his rhythm, shooting 0-6 from the field and scoring only two points.

“Walk around here like I’m the man I got to be the man,” Perry said about his performance.

K-State’s other lead contributor, forward Arthur Kaluma, started off strong, scoring nine points in the first seven minutes. Kaluma never regained steam, finishing with only 10 points on the night.

“They started denying me the ball, I guess, but I didn’t feel like I was getting locked down,” Kaluma said.

Guard Cam Carter also struggled, shooting 1-7 for three points.

“He’s a fighter,” Tang said about Carter and his recent struggles. “We’ll figure it out because we need Cam to be good.”

The Perry-Kaluma-Carter trio never sank a shot past the first eight minutes.

Guard Cam Carter dribbles at the edge of the 3-point line against KU. Carter had 3 points on the night in the 90-68 loss. (Avery Johnson)

K-State still kept the game close early on. The first half ended with Kansas up less than 10 at 41-33, despite the Wildcats struggling from the free throw line, going 7-13 in the first half compared to the Jayhawks’ 16-18. 

That difference only grew as the Jayhawk lead swelled up in the second half, with Kansas finishing 28-31 (90.3%) from the charity stripe and K-State 10-21 (47.6%). 

“Just missed,” Perry said when asked if the free throw shooting correlated with the effort. “Just happens.”

After outrebounding the best rebounding team in the Big 12 in Cincinnati by 10, K-State was outrebounded by Kansas 40-30. Jayhawk center Hunter Dickinson dominated on the boards with his 20 rebounds complementing his 15 points.

Alongside Dickinson, four Jayhawks joined him in double-figures, led by guard Kevin McCullar Jr. with 19. Fellow Jayhawk guard Nicolas Timberlake had his career-high for Kansas on his senior night, knocking down four 3-pointers to grab 19 points.

Battling Dickinson for much of the night was Wildcat center Will McNair Jr. In the blowout loss, McNair still managed to grab his first double-double for the Wildcats with 17 points and 10 rebounds. 

Center Will McNair Jr. passes the ball against KU. In the blowout loss, McNair had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. (Avery Johnson)

Tang said that despite McNair’s night, the only number he paid attention to was two offensive rebounds for the team in the game.

K-State moves on with a 17-13 record to its senior night against Iowa State at 1 p.m. Saturday before Big 12 tournament play begins.

“We go win at home, that’s what we do” Tang said when asked about the mentality in the final game. “Senior night. Have a greater care factor. You saw how much these guys [Kansas] cared about winning in these red uniforms on senior night.”

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About the Contributors
Luke Lazarczyk, sports writer
Sports editor for 2023-24. Previously sports editor for 2022-23 and writer for 2021-22.
Avery Johnson, multimedia editor
Multimedia editor for 2023-24. Previously photographer for spring 2023.
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