USA TODAY Sports
Thanks to a strong defensive effort, Kansas defeated their in-state rivals in Manhattan to remain undefeated in Big 12 play.
No. 11 Kansas State succeeded in making its game against No. 3 Kansas a grueling, half-court defensive battle, but the Jayhawks proved they could win with their defense on Tuesday, leaving Manhattan with an 59-55 victory.
Bill Self's high-powered offense was held mostly in check, with none of the Jayhawks putting up more than 12 points. However, outside of a 19-point effort from Shane Southwell, the Wildcats couldn't get anything going, as they shot only 35 percent from the floor.
Travis Releford, the Jayhawks' fifth-year senior guard, was the key on both ends of the floor. He was their leading scorer while also playing lockdown defense on Rodney McGruder, who shot only 4-12 despite using a blizzard of screens in Bruce Weber's half-court offense.
Neither team had lost in Big 12 play, which is going through a bit of a down stretch outside of the Sunflower State. As a result, Kansas went a long way toward clinching its ninth consecutive conference title, as Kansas State will likely need to defeat them at the Allen Fieldhouse to make it a race again.