K-State at KU: 8 p.m. ESPN

Bruce Weber hopes early shootaround helps Wildcats against Jayhawks

Updated: 2013-02-12T03:36:40Z

By KELLIS ROBINETT

The Kansas City Star

Kansas State’s last few trips to Allen Fieldhouse have been ugly. Since beating Kansas 59-55 in 2006 under Jim Wooldridge, the Wildcats have lost six straight in Lawrence by an average of 19.3 points.

The main reason for those lopsided scores: Terrible starts.

Under former coach Frank Martin, it took K-State until midway through the first half to get going. To their credit, the Wildcats usually mounted a strong enough comeback to make things interesting in the second half, but that took up all their energy. In the end, Kansas was able to pull away for double-digit victories.

In an attempt to end that trend, K-State arrived in Lawrence earlier than usual last night and had a shootaround at Allen Fieldhouse.

“Initially we thought of just coming over this morning, but with all the hype for the game we just felt we needed to get the guys away,” Weber said during the Big 12′s weekly teleconference on Monday. “Some of them expressed an interest in shooting at Allen Fieldhouse. We did a quick walk-through yesterday and ate dinner. Then we came over to Lawrence and shot a little bit and got the guys focused on the task at hand.”

Tonight’s “Big Monday” Sunflower Showdown will be a crucial game for both teams. K-State, ranked 10th in the latest AP Top 25 poll, has a one-game lead in the Big 12 standings. A victory over its in-state rival will strengthen its position at the top.

Kansas, now ranked 14th, has lost three-straight games and is in need of something to snap out of its tailspin. Both teams have plenty to play for.

“We have labored big time the last week, but we still have good players and we have got a good team,” Kansas coach Bill Self said Monday. “We are playing a team that is the hottest team in our league, without question. They have had a terrific year and I’m sure they are playing with as much confidence as possible. I would like to see us play with freedom.”

Weber would like to see K-State get off to a fast start, but he won’t emphasize that over any other area of the game.

“It’s a long game tonight,” Weber said. “We have to keep our poise and stay the course.”

To reach Kellis Robinett, send email to krobinett@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/KellisRobinett.

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