LAWRENCE, Kan. – He already put to bed the myth that he was too slow to dominate the country’s top teams.
So, of course, it would stand to reason that Khalif Wyatt would have his way against sixth-ranked Kansas here at Allen Fieldhouse.
“A stage like this, this is what you play for,” the Temple guard said after the Owls’ 69-62 setback. “You get a chance to shut all those people up in the crowd.”
And he did exactly that during long stretches on Sunday.
The 6-foot-4 senior finished with a game-high 26 points while making 7 of 7 free throws. Wyatt scored 11 consecutive points during one stretch in the second half. The Norristown product kept drawing contact and making off-balanced shots. At times, it was like he was toying with the Jayhawks (12-1).
This performance came 15 days after the Norristown product scored a game-high 33 points in an 83-79 victory over then third-ranked Syracuse at Madison Square Garden.
“I respect him so much,” Kansas guard Elijah Johnson said of Wyatt. “He has a crafty game and he has an after-effect game.
“For most people, once you crowd them and they are uncomfortable, they can’t make the shot. I feel like that’s when he makes most of his shots. He did a good job creating contact and playing under control. Even when we decided to trap him, he made the right plays.
“He is a good player. I wouldn’t say we underestimated him, because we definitely got the 411 on him, but I respect him.”
Wyatt takes a high-best scoring average of 16.2 points into Thursday’s Atlantic Ten opener at Xavier. The Owls (10-3) are looking to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time this season.