It was a near thing for a while, but Kansas ultimately pulled away from Kansas State 72-63 at Bramlage Coliseum last night. This was the first series sweep for Kansas since 2013.
Kansas State had an early lead in the first half that was wiped away by a 12-0 run for the Jayhawks, thanks in part to Svi Mykhailiuk coming off the bench and hitting 3-of-4 from three-point range (Gary Bedore, KUSports). Things got interesting late in the second half when the Wildcats had closed the lead to five points, and Kansas had lost Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas to foul trouble and Perry Ellis to injury. But Hunter Mickelson deflected a D.J. Johnson ball (with maybe some help from Big 12 officials) that probably sealed the Wildcats' fate (Matt Galloway, Topeka Capital-Journal).
So where does Kansas State go from here? The comeback was furious but fell short, and tournament hopes for the season are probably dead (Avery Osen, K-State Collegian). In the end, Bill Self was more creative than Bruce Weber and it showed (Kevin Haskin, Capital-Journal).
Speaking of Weber, the jury is probably still out, but the Wildcats are behind schedule and are beginning to look like a perennial NIT team instead of a tournament regular. Is a talent gap to blame? Weber's teams have lost more conference games in every season since 2013, and it's not clear the situation will improve next season. If the 2016-17 season doesn't produce fireworks, is it the end for Weber in Manhattan? (Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star).
In the end, all the talk around court-storming, unsportsmanlike dunking, and the like was moot. Maybe Kansas State's players should have spent more time practicing basketball and less time expressing outrage over Brannen Green's dunk or encouraging fans to storm the court (Bob Lutz, Wichita Eagle). In the end, Kansas State's passive-aggressive attempt to police fan behavior (including a text sent using the emergency alert service) was as unnecessary as it was fruitless (Grant Guggisburg, Manhattan Mercury). The team gave Kansas State fans no reason to storm the court anyway, but the infamous profanity-laced chant was in loud evidence, and even Sandstorm made a muted comeback.
On the other hand, the two teams were so chippy during pre-game warmups that it's almost certain this is now a "real" rivalry. Even Self thinks so:
To be real honest, we need it heated. It’s good for our state, it’s good for our league, it’s good for everybody to have a rivalry game, and in my mind, I’ve always thought it was. And our players do too.
Kansas State will take on Texas Tech today at Bramlage Coliesum in the Play4Kay initiative. Tip off is at 2 PM and the first 4000 fans will receive a pink Kansas State basketball T-shirt. The game can be watched live on FCS Central and also on KStateHD.tv.
The Wildcats are coming off a loss to Texas but held the Longhorns to just 36.4 percent shooting. Kansas State will look for a strong defensive effort against Texas Tech as well, along with a great performance from the team's scoring and rebound leader Breanna Lewis. She is the first since Brittany Chambers to have more than 400 points and more than 175 rebounds on the season.
The baseball team could not keep the momentum of opening day going and dropped last night's game to UC-Riverside 6-3.
Tyler Moore and Jake Scudder contributed runs late in the game, but it was a rough pitching day for new starter Parker Rigler, who gave up three runs over six innings despite also notching three strikeouts and no walks. Reliever Nick Jones did a nice job preventing runs late in the game. In his K-State debut, he managed a groundout and a strikeout in the seventh inning.
The teams will meet again today at 3 PM for the third game in the four-game series. Senior RHP Levi MaVorhis will start for Kansas State.
The men's golf team tees off for the spring season at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate in Alabama tomorrow. This is team's first event since October 2015 and the golfers are eager to get out and compete. Andrew Beckler, Trent Evans, Matt Green, Jack Rickabaugh and Kyle Weldon will play for the Wildcats.
Meanwhile, the women's team is in Arizona competing in the Westbrook Invitational. Madison Talley, Katherine Gravel-Coursol, Connie Jaffrey, Chloe Weir and Paige Nelson make up the team. The women will be looking to bounce back from a slow start at last week's Florida State Match-up. Talley led the team to a 23rd place finish last season.