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Kansas State nearly sweeps the weekend

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Milestone celebrations and a narrow missed marked the holiday for the Wildcats

NCAA Football: Kansas at Kansas State
Thank you, Coach!
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Sunflower Showdown? More like Sunflower Letdown.

It’s always great to beat Kansas. So why did it all feel just a bit off? Was it because Kansas State built up a lead and then sat on it instead of really pouring it on as usual against Kansas? Was it because Alex Barnes, Jesse Ertz and even Joe Hubener had to leave the game at one point? Or was it just simply that ugly of a win?

I’m not sure what happened in the second half of this game, but it felt like waking up from a dream where you’re fairly certain something pleasant happened but you have no idea what it was.

That might be a microcosm of the entire season, actually.

Football

Kansas State beat Kansas to take the Governor’s Cup for the eighth consecutive time, and it was mostly business as usual.

The Wildcats ran all over the Jayhawks, racking up 160 yards in the first half alone and over 300 yards total. Barnes led the team with 10 carries for 103 yards and Ertz called his own number 12 times for 99 yards.

The defense made a strong showing as well, with Donny Starks scoring on an interception in the first half, and the defensive line generally making life difficult for Kansas’ Carter Stanley.

So what did we learn from this game? Jon Morse had mostly good things to say in his recap: Kansas State 34 Kansas 19. As wins go, it was fine.

But more important than the win was the milestone achieved yesterday, as Bill Snyder won his 200th game as head coach.

The above graphic is a great illustration of Snyder’s achievements in Kansas State football. No praise is really effusive enough, but TB expresses gratitude for the man’s efforts: Thanks, Coach.

Snyder’s contributions in Manhattan go well beyond mere football wins though. It’s probably difficult for those outside the Kansas State community to even understand what the coach has mean to the fans, the university, the city, and the fanbase at large. But 200 is more than just a number here, and this piece from Derek Smith probably speaks for all of us: The Miracle in Manhattan hits a milestone.

There are paeans a plenty to Snyder right now. ESPN gave him a helmet sticker, an honor usually reserved for players. Tom Keegan, from the perspective of a Jayhawk writer, praised Snyder’s stoicism in victory and suggested that it may be the thing programs are built on.

But for the man himself, it was nearly just another day. He was petulant and annoyed about the way his team played and not especially inclined to celebrate afterwards. But he did take a few minutes to acknowledge the milestone and to thank those involved.

Two hundred’s a number. It stands for a lot of wonderful young people who have come through this program.

In other words, tomorrow is another day, and there’s another game on Saturday.

Men’s Basketball

In the school’s lone black spot of the weekend, Kansas State dropped a game to No. 25 Maryland by the narrowest of margins, losing the Barclays Center Classic final 69-68. The Wildcats led 68-65 with 1:35 to go in the game when Maryland’s Melo Trimble had a steal and a layup to narrow the margin to just one point, and a missed free throw from Wesley Iwundu led to a final sequence where Trimble drove up to the basket with just six seconds to go, and scored the game-winning layup.

The loss spoiled a near-perfect early season for the Wildcats who now sit at 5-1. It also spoiled D.J. Johnson’s scoring party. He had a career-high 26 points on 10-of-18 field goals to go with eight rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes. Iwundu got his fifth career double-double with 16 points a career-high 11 rebounds. Barry Brown and Stokes had 13 and 11 points respectively.

There is little time for the Wildcats to wallow in the loss, as they’re back on court on Wednesday. Kansas State will take on Green Bay at 7 PM CST at Bramlage Coliseum.

Women’s Basketball

Kansas State won the Island division of the 2016 Paradise Jam with a 61-40 win over UTEP yesterday. The team has improved to 6-0, the third such start for Jeff Mittie in Manhattan.

Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann combined for 40 points, with Lewis scoring 21 points to go with eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals, while Wesemann had 19 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Lewis was named to the 2016 Paradise Jam Island Division All-Tournament Team and Wesemann was the Island Division MVP.

The Wildcats are back in action on Thursday in Bramlage Coliseum as Kansas State hosts Auburn in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 PM.

Volleyball

Yesterday was senior day for the VolleyCats as well, and they celebrated by sweeping Texas Tech including yesterday’s 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-17) victory.

Fittingly, the seniors had a great game yesterday. Brooke Sassin (12 kills), Katie Reininger (.667 hitting percentage), Kersten Kober (12 digs) and Katie Brand (39 assists, 7 blocks) each led the team in various statistical categories. The team also played great defense holding Texas Tech to just .084 hitting and never hit above .120.

The team hit the 20-win mark for the 11th time in Susie Fritz’s 16-year tenure in Manhattan. The Wildcats have also qualified for the post-season on 11 occasions and will find out if that string continues tonight when teams are selected for the NCAA Tournament.

Happy weekend, all!