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Sunflower Showdown ends in disappointment

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K-State women trounce Oklahoma State

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Sunday Slate is late. Apologies.

Basketball

As the seconds ticked down at Allen Fieldhouse, Barry Brown Jr. had the ball and the game —a much-anticipated win over Kansas in Lawrence—in his hands. But off-balance and with Malik Newman in his face, Brown couldn’t hit the three that would have sealed the victory. The ball bounced off the rim, the Kansas crowd erupted in celebration, and Kansas State fans were once again left wondering why the Wildcats can’t get over the hump in Lawrence.

Kansas State lost to Kansas 73-72 yesterday afternoon. This was the Wildcat’s 21st consecutive loss in Lawrence, and Kansas now leads the all-time series 194-93, with an 89-35 advantage at home. At some point, you have to wonder whether a series this lopsided deserves to be called a rivalry.

Then again, maybe the final seconds of this game don’t tell the whole story. After all, Kansas State actually played well for much of the game. The Wildcats had 72 points off of 49.1 percent shooting, and hit on 8-of-21 shots from beyond the arc. Kansas State even out-rebounded Kansas 27-25, only the seventh time the Wildcats have been better than their opponent in that category.

The Wildcats even had four players in double digits. Dean Wade led the team in scoring with 22 points, including six three-pointers. Xavier Sneed had 14 points, and Brown managed 12 points to go with six assists and five rebounds.

But it was redshirt freshman Cartier Diarra who really sparked the Wildcats’ near-victory. Diarra was good for 18 points, including 7-of-11 field goals and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Then again, it was Diarra who drew the late technical for alleged taunting (which he denies), a call so apparently egregious that Bruce Weber used it as a reason to blame the officiating for the loss.

Even with the questionable technical, Kansas State was in with a chance down just one in the final seconds of the game. Then, the inexplicable happened. Even Bill Self seemed surprised that Kansas State didn’t just drive to the rim at that point.

What happened at the end of this game will remain something of a mystery to fans, to the coaches, and possibly to Barry Brown himself.

Fortunately, it was not all doom-and-gloom for the Wildcats on the hardwood yesterday. The women’s team went wire-to-wire against #20, beating the Cowgirls 80-64, in a game that may not even have been as close as the score suggests. The win ended a three-game home losing streak for the Wildcats.

Kaylee Page led the team with 20 points, with Peyton Williams a close second with 18. Shaelyn Martin had her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Kayla Goth managed yet another double-double in her career with 11 points and 10 assists.

Track

For the first time since 2015, Kansas State won the KU-KSU-WSU-Triangular Trophy event. The men’s and women’s team totaled a combined 230 points, good enough for first place ahead of Kansas (225.5) and Wichita State (174.5).

Sophomore Nina Schultz was the high scorer of the event with 15.25 points. She took first in the women’s 60m hurdles and the high jump. Other winners on the women’s side included Lauren Taubert (800m), A’Keyla Mitchell (200m), Claudette Allen (long jump), Shardia Lawrence (triple jump), Jess St. John (shot put), and Helene Ingvaldsen (weight throw).

For the men, freshman Tejaswin Shankar won his first ever collegiate high jump title, also meeting the national indoor record in India in the process. Other winners include Brett Neely (shot put), Mitch Dixon (weight throw), Terrell Smith (60m; 200m), Lukas Koch (1000m), and Colton Donahue (3000m).

Up next, the track team will be in Iowa City for the Larry Wieczorek Invitational on January 19th.

Miscellany

Ken Corbitt, a longtime Kansas State beat writer, is no longer with the Topeka Capital-Journal. In his nearly 40 years of covering sports in the state, Corbitt has written about high school sports, Kansas State, and Washburn. In the process, he’s earned a lifetime of goodwill and gratitude, from teams, fans, other journalists, and from Bring on the Cats.

Many already know about this, but Texas guard Andrew Jones was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Big 12 teams have rallied around him, sending Jones good wishes and recognizing his struggle during games. (Oklahoma State wore shooting shirts with Jones’ name and number).

Texas has launched an official fundraising site to help Jones and his family with medical costs and other expenses. The site is NCAA-compliant and approved by Jones’ family, so please consider contributing HERE.