By MIKE McCURRY Coming off a rare home loss to Iowa State on Saturday, No. 3 Kansas was in danger of undergoing its first single-season losing streak since the 2013-2014 campaign on Monday while paying a visit to in-state rival Kansas State.The Jayhawks exhibited championship-level resiliency, however, overcoming a career night from Dean Wade, a lackluster showing on the glass, and a hostile Bramlage Coliseum environment en route to a 74-71 victory. Frank Mason went for 21 points—his 13th 20-plus point game this year—giving it his all until the final buzzer despite battling fatigue throughout.
“I was very tired,” Mason, a leading candidate to win National Player of the Year, told ESPN’s Holly Rowe afterward. “I was exhausted, but I had to stay on the court and make plays for my team.” Josh Jackson added 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in only 25 minutes. The freshman, currently projected as the No. 3 overall pick this June per DraftExpress, is averaging 19.6 over his last five games thanks to drastically improved three-point accuracy. He is 11-of-19 from deep during this stretch, after going 11-of-43 behind the arc thru his initial 19 collegiate contests. Wade, who Jackson battled with all evening, matched his career-high with 20 points to lead the Wildcats. Kansas State enjoyed a 44-33 advantage on the boards, leading to a 21-8 advantage in second-chance points. With the win, Kansas improved to 54-5 versus their Sunflower State counterparts dating back to February of 1994. That includes a 2-0 record this season, with Svi Mykhailiuk’s controversial and well-traveled buzzer-beater providing the difference in a 90-88 triumph back on January 3. Still, the 88-mile trek to Manhattan has given the Jayhawks fits recently, culminating in losses both in 2013-14 and 2014-15. That makes Monday’s survival even sweeter for Mason and company. “It’s always a challenge coming in here and playing K-State,” Mason said. “The fans are unbelievable. The energy is so amazing, and they’re into every play. It just took a great effort to come here and get a win.” Photo: @KUHoops Follow Mike on Twitter Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And like ZAGS on Facebook
Frank Mason emerges from the fourth row to make one of the best steals I've seen this season. pic.twitter.com/qydHYZP26s— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) February 7, 2017