The opening rounds of The Basketball Tournament 2019 were at Koch Center in Wichita this weekend, and Purple and Black, Kansas State‘s alumni team, put up a heroic effort in the opening round against Team Colorado.
The most exciting part, however, was very likely the return of erstwhile Wildcats Marcus Foster and Jevon Thomas to the purple, their former teammates, and the state of Kansas. Both players, despite having left the program under a cloud, were treated to a royal welcome by a sizable purple contingent among a crowd of over 7,000. That attendance nearly tripled the largest figure in the history of the TBT. The horde was largely a result of Wichita State‘s team also playing in the regional, but the Wildcat fanbase was well-represented, and probably everyone in the arena had hopes of both Purple and Black and the AfterShocks reaching today’s regional final.
It wasn’t meant to be, however. Purple and Black fell behind badly, trailing by 20 points in the early fourth quarter. But with the Elam Ending in place, there was still a ton of drama left.
The good guys shaved the lead down to 87-73 by the first under-4 timeout, setting the target score at 95. The teams played dead even for a bit, with Colorado bringing the score to 94-80 and just a basket away from victory.
Richard Roby missed a free throw which would have ended it, and Foster went HAM. Marcus drained 13 of Purple and Black’s 20 points during the Elam Ending, including a pair of free throws which — unbelievably — brought the score to 94-93.
And for the rest of eternity, Foster will continue to (correctly) claim that Shannon Sharpe pushed off him to score the winning basket for the Colorado five. Foster finished with 36 points, while Justin Edwards and Stephen Hurt added 18 and 10 respectively. Other former Cats in the lineup: D.J. Johnson, Martavious Irving, Shane Southwell, and the big guy himself, Thomas Gipson.
Even had the ex-Wildcats pulled off the upset, the dream matchup against the AfterShocks wouldn’t have happened. Although Conner Frankamp and Cleanthony Early led the former Shockers to a victory over Iowa United on Friday, they fell to Sideline Cancer yesterday. Sideline Cancer will take on the G Eagles from Marquette this afternoon at 3:00 on ESPN for the Wichita Regional title.
Full details and quotes over at the Star courtesy of Kellis Robinett, who also has his weekly Q&A over at the Eagle where he discusses K-State’s non-conference schedule for 2019-20 now that Alabama has been added to it.
Track and Field
Lauren Taubert is in 14th place after day one of the heptathlon at the 2019 U.S. Track and Field Championships. She’ll get back at it starting at 2:30 this afternoon. Taylor Latimer will be competing in the women’s shot put at 6:20. At 5:14, former Wildcat A’Keyla Mitchell will run in the semi-finals of the women’s 200m after qualifying in the heats yesterday, and would possibly run in the final at 7:43. Another former Cat, Janee Kassanavoid, took fifth place in the women’s hammer throw yesterday.
Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman pre-ranks all 75 Big 12 games this season. K-State comes in at 17, 20, 28, 30, 34, 36, 39, 42, 45, 50, 62, and 69. Nice!
Andrew Doughty of Hero Sports offers up his Big 12 team of the decade. Wildcats featured: Tyler Lockett, Dalton Risner, Jordan Willis, and Arthur Brown.