It’s time for the sequel to the “Walk Chalk Jayhawk” game.
To refresh the memory … that’s the Sunflower Showdown contest on Jan. 3 at Allen Fieldhouse in which Kansas edged Kansas State 90-88 on a buzzer-beating layup by Svi Mykhailiuk, who, according to the replay, took an extra step or two before completing a drive to the goal.
“We’ll see, but probably,” said Mykhailiuk, KU’s junior shooting guard from Ukraine, when asked if K-State fans at Monday’s 8 p.m. KU-Kansas State game at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan will try to throw him off his game with signs and/or verbal insults.
When he was asked if he plays better when fans get on him, Mykhailiuk replied: “I really don’t know. I just try to stay in my lane and play how I play.”
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Mykhailiuk’s game-winning bucket against the Wildcats attracted a lot of attention on social media.
“There was some funny stuff about my shot … my travel,” Mykhailiuk said.
Some of the Kansas State players reacted, including senior Wesley Iwundu, who Tweeted, “You know.”
Also, sophomore Barry Brown, who wrote, “We all know.”
And a more serious line from Dean Wade, who Tweeted, “We showed we belong. Thanks K-State nation for your support.”
Wade, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound sophomore from St. John, Kan., scored 12 points and had six rebounds in Saturday’s shocking 56-54 victory at No. 2 Baylor. He tied a career high with 20 points in the first meeting against KU.
“K-State is a really good team. Right now, they just beat Baylor, one of the best teams. It’s going to be a fun game,” Mykhailiuk said.
The Wildcats on Saturday improved to 16-7 overall and 5-5 in Big 12 games. KU enters 20-3 overall and 8-2 in the league.
“It’s really tough (to play at K-State). They have a really good home-court advantage. They are always pumped up to play against us,” Mykhailiuk added.
Mykhailiuk has a 1-1 record at Bramlage, with the Jayhawks winning 72-63 a year ago, after losing 70-63 his freshman season.
“Anything can happen,” Mykhailiuk said of games in an ultra-competitive, balanced Big 12.
The Jayhawks enter having lost two of their last three Big 12 games, including Saturday’s 92-89 overtime home loss to Iowa State.
“We are just trying to win every possible game,” Mykhailiuk said. “We just need to be focused the whole time, the whole game.”
Asked if the Jayhawks are “mad or sad” after Saturday’s loss — a game in which KU led by as many as 15 points — Mykhailiuk said, “I think both mad and sad because we lost here. It’s our first loss. (We’re) just trying to bounce back. We’ll need to refocus, try not to make it two.”
KU guard Frank Mason, who is coming off a career-high 32-point outing, said: “This gives us a chance to get back and respond to this loss at home. It gives us another chance to get out and prepare for when it really matters.”
Kansas and K-State both had five double-digit scorers in the first meeting.
For KU, Josh Jackson scored 22 points with nine rebounds and six assists; Landen Lucas had 18 points and 12 boards; Frank Mason had 15 points, four assists and five turnovers; Devonté Graham got 13 points, six assists and one turnover; and Mykhailiuk scored 11 points.
For K-State, Wade hit 6 of 12 shots, including 8 of 9 free throws, while Iwundu had 17 points, seven boards and four assists; Kamau Stokes had 13 points, seven assists, three turnovers; Brown got 13 points and four boards; and D.J. Johnson had 10 points and five rebounds. KU hit 11 three-pointers in 22 tries; KSU was 7 of 21 from three.
“It’s a rivalry game. I knew they were going to fight and not give up at any point in time,” Lucas said of a game that could have been a K-State victory had a Wade three fallen late. That shot preceded Mykhailiuk’s game-winning dash to the bucket and winning layup.
“They kept fighting. A lot was on us. We never put together multiple stops,” Lucas added.
KU coach Bill Self said Kansas State, “always plays hard from our vantage point. We only see them twice. In those particular games, we always get a team that plays hard until the last possession.”
Self has a team that could be battling fatigue Monday night. Mykhailiuk played 43 minutes against Iowa State. Lucas, Mason and Graham played 41 minutes, Jackson played 33, Lagerald Vick was in for 21 minutes and Mitch Lightfoot played 5.
“When you’re playing six guys, I think short turnarounds (Saturday/Monday) are hard, to be honest with you,” Self said. “So I can’t say that it’s good, but I’m not going to say that it’s bad, either.
“We will see how we react going over to Manhattan, which I’m sure will be a good atmosphere, but (Saturday) we didn’t handle it. We had control of the game and gave them (Cyclones) confidence, and then down the stretch they really performed well.”
Graham said it should be another fun Sunflower Showdown.
“There definitely will be motivation on both sides,” he said. “It’s an in-state rival. That pumps it up even more. It’s on the road. I love playing on the road. It tells you how tough your team is. Coming off a loss we have to be mentally tough and prepared.”
▪ Self said in a text message Sunday that suspended forward Carlton Bragg made the trip with the team to Manhattan. No word yet on whether Bragg will play in the game.