Sunflower Showdown: Jayhawks face Wildcats seeking elusive back-to-back wins

BY foxsports • February 2, 2016

It's been more than three weeks since Kansas won back-to-back games.

Considering how dominant the No. 7 Jayhawks have been at home, especially against a Kansas State team that hasn't won a Big 12 road game in more than a year, there's a good chance it will happen again in Wednesday night's latest installment of the Sunflower Showdown.

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Kansas (17-4, 5-3) has alternated wins and losses in the six contests that followed a 13-game winning streak. It's not a coincidence the three latest victories came at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks have won 35 straight following a 90-84 overtime victory against then-No. 20 Kentucky on Saturday.

"This was a good step in the right direction," said guard Wayne Selden Jr., who shot 12 of 20 and finished with a career-high 33 points.

The Jayhawks' run at "The Phog" began with an 86-60 win over then-No. 25 Kansas State on Jan. 11, 2014. Though Kansas players and coaches felt the brunt of those Wildcat fans who rushed the floor to celebrate victories in the last two meetings at Manhattan, the Jayhawks have won 20 of 21 at home in the series. They've won the last nine at Allen Fieldhouse by an average of 19.3 points.

"Our guys know the rivalry," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We know it's a big game to people in the state and certainly to our fan base and their fan base and the players as well. So we'll look forward to playing.

"We'll get a great effort from them. We know that."

Perhaps, but it might not be good enough.

Kansas State (13-8, 2-6) has dropped 11 straight Big 12 road games dating to an overtime win at then-No. 16 Oklahoma on Jan. 10 of last year -- its longest such slide since losing 21 in a row to span the 2002-04 league seasons. The Wildcats came close to ending that skid with a three-point loss at Texas on Jan. 5 and a double-overtime defeat to then-No. 13 Baylor on Jan. 20.

However, they shot a season-low 35.1 percent and went 1 for 18 from 3-point range in last Tuesday's 70-55 loss at then-No. 9 West Virginia.

Kansas State regained some confidence by bouncing back with Saturday's 69-64 win over Mississippi.

"I think we should be pretty successful if we keep taking these steps in the right direction," guard Wesley Iwundu said.

The Wildcats can start by containing Selden, who has averaged 21.6 points and shot 16 of 30 from beyond the arc in the last five at home. The junior's stellar effort Saturday pushed him over the 1,000-point mark.

"I've been here for a while. It was going to happen eventually," he said. "I'm excited about it. It's an honor."

Selden totaled nine points and missed all six 3-point attempts in two games at Kansas State, but he's scored 34 while going 6 of 11 from long range in two matchups at home.

Iwundu averages a team-leading 12.2 points, but 5.3 in four games against the Jayhawks.

Freshman backcourt mate Kamau Stokes (9.4 ppg) could miss this contest with a knee injury.

Kansas State has allowed an average of 79.7 points while going 0-6 against Top 25 opponents this season.