By KELLIS ROBINETT
The Kansas City Star
• Key play: Shane Southwell made a three-pointer that gave K-State its first lead at 19-18.
• Key stat: The Wildcats went four of 16 from beyond the arc.
• Key play: Jeff Withey hit a turnaround shot in the pain and put Kansas ahead 56-49 with less than 4 minutes remaining.
• Key stat: K-States Angel Rodriguez was held scoreless.
Bramlage Coliseum was rocking Tuesday night.
Fans began camping out for seats early in the morning, and the student section was packed full an hour before tipoff. The crowd was loud throughout and gave K-State a noticeable boost.
It was a nice change from early games, when the Wildcats played in front of rows of empty seats.
Those days seem to be in the past, though. With football season over, classes back in session and K-State ranked in the top 15 it should play in front of big crowds the rest of the way.
KU coach Bill Self was certainly glad to leave the environment with a victory.
Anytime you win over here you feel very fortunate, Self said.
• K-State junior guard Shane Southwell, who joined the starting lineup last month by moving to a hybrid forward position, is quickly becoming a go-to player for the Wildcats.
He scored 17 points and came up with a game-saving block against West Virginia two weeks ago and scored a season-high 19 points on Tuesday. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
It was a much different performance against the Jayhawks than last season, when Kansas schemed around him.
He would have to get my vote for the most improved player in our league, Self said. Last year we played triangle-and-two and the guy we didnt guard was Shane. He was probably their best offensive threat tonight.
Southwell said he thought he played well but could have easily connected on more than five three-pointers he made.
Losing meant he couldnt enjoy the impressive individual effort.
They win all the time, Southwell said. We have got to start getting some wins against them.
• Bruce Weber used K-States final timeout with 3:46 remaining. Not an ideal situation for any coach, but with Kansas leading down the stretch he didnt want the game to get away. So he wasnt shy about calling a timeout and talking strategy with his players.
The move almost worked, with K-State pulling to within 56-53 in the final minute, but Kansas had multiple timeouts and fouls to play with to maintain the lead.