LAWRENCE | Newtonian physics reigned at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night, as two bitter rivals battled in front of 16,300 fans.
The Kansas Jayhawks, who scored the game’s first 18 points, discovered that Isaac Newton was right when he theorized that “what goes up must come down.” Kansas State, of course, deserves much of the credit. The Wildcats trimmed KU’s lead to three points early in the second half using guts more than gravity.
But the Jayhawks made the game’s final push, opening Big 12 play with a 87-71 victory over a scrappy K-State team still looking for its first league win.
The leveling factor on a roller-coaster night was KU freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor, who had 20 points, four rebounds and three assists. The Jayhawks, 12-4 and 1-0 in the Big 12, had been looking for someone other than Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich to fill up the stat sheet, and Taylor stepped forward. For a four-minute stretch late in the second half, KU was Taylor’s team, as Collins and Aldrich sat with four fouls each.
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Despite battling foul trouble for most of the night, Collins led all scorers with 24 points and added five rebounds and four assists. Aldrich came through with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Judging by the first six minutes of the game, it didn’t look like the Jayhawks would have to work at all. The Jayhawks jumped all over the Wildcats in the Sunflower Showdown, shocking K-State with an 18-0 run that took advantage of poor K-State offense.
For KU, Cole Aldrich hit a short jumper, Tyshawn Taylor nailed a three, Aldrich hit two free throws, Aldrich scored on a putback and Mario Little scored his first field goal as a Jayhawk on a layup. It was 11-0, and K-State coach Frank Martin called his first timeout.
The Jayhawks weren’t done, though. Sherron Collins hit a runner in the lane, then swished in a three. Tyrel Reed put the exclamation point with a rip of K-State guard Jacob Pullen and a layup on the other end. Martin called another timeout, and K-State finally scored on a Darren Kent 3-pointer.
K-State clawed back into the game thanks to a nice effort from big man Luis Colon, who had 12 points and six rebounds. Colon fouled out with 12 minutes left, and the Wildcats’ comeback attempt fizzled.
The Jayhawks got a glimpse of the talents of junior transfer guard Mario Little for the first time this season. Little started and scored eight points.
Little, playing in his fourth game, made four of six shots. Little could have taken a medical hardship year after battling multiple injuries but decided Tuesday morning to play this season for the good of the team.