Third-ranked Kansas won at No. 11 Kansas State to take sole possession of first place in the Big 12 Conference.
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas and Kansas State rarely paint a masterpiece when they meet.
The defensive-minded Jayhawks, with Travis Releford on the perimeter and Jeff Withey in the paint, make life miserable for opposing offenses, while the veteran Wildcats relish the chance to bump, bang and bludgeon opponents on both ends of the court.
Little surprise that they played a rugged game Tuesday night.
Releford scored 12 points, Withey and Ben McLemore each added 11, and the third-ranked Jayhawks held on down the stretch for a 59-55 victory that gave them sole possession of first place in the Big 12 Conference.
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“That game went just as all you predicted, not the most artistic,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, sporting the kind of wry smile that indicated he didn’t mind.
Kansas (17-1 overall, 5-0 Big 12) has won its last 16 games.
Kansas improved to 23-2 at Bramlage Coliseum since its opening in 1987 and has won 45 of the last 48 overall in the series.
“If anything, we look forward to this game,” Withey said.
“It’s a lot of fun, a hostile environment. It’s one of the best crowds we’re going to get, besides our own crowd.”
Shane Southwell scored a career-high 19 points for the No. 11 Wildcats (15-3, 4-1), who made 9 of 30 three-point attempts.
“You’ve got to hit the open ones, then you would make them defend you a little different,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “But we didn’t.”
No. 5 Louisville loses to Villanova
PHILADELPHIA — Achraf Yacoubou made a tiebreaking three-pointer with 3:57 left to help Villanova upset No. 5 Louisville 73-64.
Villanova students packed behind each basket stormed the court after the victory by the Wildcats (12-7, 3-3 Big East), who were listed as 10-point underdogs.
Guard Peyton Siva, a graduate of Franklin High School in Seattle, had 15 points and 13 assists for the Cardinals (16-3, 4-2).
Louisville was 7 of 18 from the free-throw line in the second half.
“We did a lot of things wrong tonight, and they did a lot of things right,” Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. “It was really a simple answer as to why we lost. Our free throws were a turnover. Our foul shooting was despicable. Very simple tonight.”
Louisville, ranked No. 1 in last week’s Associated Press media poll, lost 70-68 to visiting Syracuse on Saturday — ending an 11-game winning streak.
Ryan Arcidiacono scored 15 points for Villanova.
“I didn’t have any doubts we were going to win this game,” he said.