LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Maybe it took Bob Huggins to bring out the best in Kansas.
Kansas State's controversial and highly successful new coach certainly seemed to energize a raucous Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night and pump new life into a long rivalry that had gone slightly stale.
In his first trip to Allen, Huggins was subjected to jeers and insults from 16,300 rambunctious fans, and the Jayhawks (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today; No. 9 AP) unveiled one of their best games of the season in a 97-70 rout that halted the Wildcats' seven-game winning streak.
"I don't think Bob Huggins had anything to do with us playing well," said Bill Self, whose Jayhawks (20-4 overall, 7-2 Big 12) were coming off a 69-66 loss to No. 6 Texas A&M.
"We were playing K-State. We would have been excited no matter what. I will say this -- since I've been here this is the first time we've played well against K-State in this building. Really well."
Huggins exchanged heated words with a fan as he entered the locker room after the game. But he insisted the crowd had no bearing on him or his team.
"I don't know. How could it?" he said. "I just don't buy into that. They have a great atmosphere and it ought to be fun. We should have enjoyed it and embraced it."
Brandon Rush scored 18 points to lead five Jayhawks in double figures. Kansas shot 56 percent, outrebounded the Wildcats (17-7, 6-3) 46-24, ended the first half on a 14-5 run and began the second 10-0.
"They're better than us," Huggins said. "I don't know what you want me to tell you. They're better than we are. They have better players. They're bigger, they're faster, their longer, they're better shooters. They're just better than we are."
Early in the second half as the lead zoomed past 20 points, fans began chanting, "DUI," a reference to Huggins' driving under the influence conviction in 2004 while coaching at Cincinnati. Before the game, Kansas State officials were furious about a two-page color layout in the student paper that depicted Huggins behind prison bars and was entitled "Hugs and Thugs."
"I do think his arrival has created enough hype where people around him get excited," Self said. "But I think our guys would have been excited to play anybody after (the A&M loss)."
The Wildcats, whose seven-game winning streak was their longest in 19 years, got 26 points from senior Jermaine Maybank -- 24 above his season average.
"I just try to do the intangibles that coach Huggins wants, and be a spark off the bench," Maybank said. "Unfortunately, it probably wasn't enough tonight."
The Jayhawks have beaten their instate rivals 33 times in their last 34 meetings, and did not take all their starters off the floor until 3:28 remained and they led 89-60. Huggins and the Wildcats will no doubt remember that when they host Kansas in a rematch on Feb. 19 at Bramlage Coliseum, where Kansas has never lost.
"Yeah, we'd like to hold them to less and score more," Huggins deadpanned.
Kansas State did not get its first field goal of the second half until Maybank hit with 14:03 left. By then, Kansas led 60-39 and the rout was on.
"I didn't expect this at all," Rush said. "I thought it was going to be a come-down-to-the-wire game. They came in and weren't making too many shots and everything was falling for us."
Darnell Jackson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas, which outrebounded Kansas State 28-9 in the second half.
"That's not real," Self said. "We had some things go our way tonight, the ball bounce our way. I do think we attacked the ball better tonight."
David Hoskins had 13 points for Kansas State. The Wildcats, who made a season-high 14 3-pointers while beating Texas on Saturday, missed 11 of their first 13 tries from behind the arc and wound up 4-for-22.
Russell Robinson's bucket got Kansas rolling on a 10-0 run to begin the second half and give the Jayhawks a 57-35 bulge. Rush's 3-pointer made it 60-37 and moments later Collins stole the ball at midcourt and glided in for a layup that put Kansas up 66-43.
"We definitely played well tonight," Self said. "Tonight we weren't just pretty good. We did a very poor job on Maybank. He did a great job driving the ball."
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