Basketball and more Basketball
If it seems like very little is happening outside of basketball right now, well, you’d be right. There is literally nothing else happening in the K-State sportsverse right now until the KSU-KU-WSU Triangular on Friday (well, at least that is scheduled to happen).
Last night the Kansas State women nearly pulled of the second upset of a Top 10 team in a little over a week, but a last scoring burst from Iowa State was enough to put the Cyclones ahead for the final seconds, handing K-State it’s first loss of 2022, 73-70. The Wildcats led 35-24 at halftime, and 54-47 headed into the final frame, but a 16-26 4th quarter was enough for the Cyclones to gain the advantage, despite being held to 10 points below their season scoring average for the game.
Ayoka Lee had a monster game on the big stage, scoring a school record (conference game) 38 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds for her 40th career double-double to put her all alone in second place in school history. But Lee was the lone Wildcat in double figures, and struggled to get help from scoring on the perimeter (the Cats shot a frigid 4-16 (25%) from deep, and no player made more than one) that would have taken some pressure off of the All-American. The biggest surprise for Lee is that she probably should have had more points, as she went just 2-5 from the free throw line for one of her worst marks in her career, and missed several shots near the rim (she still shot 62% on 18-29 shooting). Freshman guard Serena Sundell dished 11 assists, mostly to Lee, but could only muster 4 points after going off for 21 against WVU on Saturday. Sundell also committed five costly turnovers, including an in-bounds pass in the closing seconds that sailed over Lee’s head and out of bounds, ending K-State’s last good scoring opportunity.
The Cats fall to 13-3, and 3-1 in conference play, which drops them to second, behind the Cyclones, in Big 12 play. Next up for K-State is a trip down to Lubbock, as the MittieCats and Red Raiders are set to square off Saturday the 15th at 2pm, and that game will be aired on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
Over on the men’s side, the WeberCats will face off against TCU tonight in Bramlage, with the winner becoming only the second-worst team in the conference standings. Both the Wildcats and Horned Frogs are winless in conference play, though the Frogs played just their first game since before Christmas this past weekend when they hosted #1 Baylor, falling 76-64 to the defending champs. Despite the break, TCU is 10-2 on the season, with their best wins coming in a three game stretch in early December when they beat Utah, Texas A&M, and Georgetown in consecutive games.
As was the case against Texas last week, the K-State men’s team is looking for program win number 400 in Bramlage (as well as any win in 2022). But at least the Wildcats should have a fuller compliment of players tonight, as well as the return of Bruce Weber and Chris Lowery to the sideline. At this time, the only missing persons expected are coach Shane Southwell and senior guard Mike McGuirl, who both missed the trip to Morgantown this past weekend but didn’t go into the COVID protocols until after the Texas game last week (so they’d still be in the 10-day window). Tonight’s game tips at 8:05pm CST and can be seen on ESPNU.