*Editors Note: We wanted to apologize to our loyal readers for not getting a recap out of Tuesday night’s K-State victory. Unfortunately, #RealLife got in the way for our staff and we were unable to make things happen for you. We’ll do better.
Thanks for continuing to stick around here at Bring on the Cats!
Despite sloppy first-half play, and playing against one of the best defenses in the country, your Kansas State Wildcats found a way to persevere and come through for an 65-57 victory over Oklahoma State on Tuesday night in front of a raucous crowd in Bramlage, their fourth-straight victory to open conference play and ninth-straight overall. The 4-0 start to Big 12 play matches the best start to conference play since 2007-08, when Michael Beasley led the Cats to five-straight to open conference play, including the win over KU in Manhattan on January 30th. The Wildcats 15-1 overall start is the best since the 1958-59 season, a year the Bob Boozer-led Cats went on to finish 25-2, losing to Oscar Robertson’s Cincinnati Bearcats in the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament (Elite Eight).
The highlight of the otherwise ugly game came in the closing seconds. With the game still in question at 60-57, Markquis Nowell fought through consecutive double-teams to loft a high-arching pass towards the basket, that Keyontae Johnson snagged with just his right hand and threw down for a monstrous dunk that effectively ended the game. It was incredible to behold, one of those plays that’s going to live on the highlight reel for eternity. Heck, it’s already gotten the full D. Scott long-form treatment. In the postgame press conference, even Coach Tang was taken aback, and said he had to do pushups in the locker room after the game because he cursed after the dunk because he was so impressed.
The dunk itself was impressive, and K-State hasn’t had a guy like Keyontae Johnson that could have made that catch and slam in a long time, but the man that made the assist is hands-down the best player on the court right now for K-State, arguably the best player in the Big 12 right now, and one of the best in the whole country. Markquis Nowell is doing things on the court right now that haven’t been done in at least the last 25 years. He’s playing elite basketball right now, and is a huge part of his team’s current run. Prior to Tuesday night’s game, Nowell was honored by the USBWA as it’s Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week, making him the consensus national PotW prior to another incredible effort.
Next up for the TangCats is a Saturday afternoon contest with TCU in Fort Worth, which will be aired on ESPN2.
Things are not quite as happy over on the other side of the Ice Family Basketball Training Facility, as the MittieCats never could quite catch up with No 15/15 Iowa State in Ames last night, falling 65-56 to drop to 12-5 overall and 1-3 in Big 12 play. The Cats were led by sophomore guard Jaelyn Glenn, who notched her second-straight double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and even forced six steals in the effort. But she was the lone Wildcat in double figures in any category, including sharp-shooter Gabby Gregory, who managed just 9 points.
The MittieCats will return home this weekend to face Texas Tech, who is also just 1-3 in Big 12 play, and fell to Oklahoma 89-79 in Lubbock last night. That game will be on ESPN+.
The football Cats also got some very welcome news on Tuesday, as Florida State-transfer running back Treshaun Ward picked the Wildcats over a bevy of P5 offers. The 5’10” 190lbs back originally walked-on at Florida State despite having offers to some Big 10, SEC, other ACC, and AAC schools. Ward redshirt the 2019 season after appearing in just two games, then appeared in two again in 2020 before breaking out for 515 yards on 81 carries plus 185 yards on 21 receptions in 2021 while appearing in every game. He gathered 628 rushing yards this season, with 488 of those coming in the first six games of the season before his carries were severely limited. But he showed back up in FSU’s 35-32 win over OU in the Cheez-It Bowl, where he went off for 81 yards and two TDs on 10 carries.
Ward should provide the lightning to DJ Giddens’ thunder for the Wildcats. And with Will Howard back slinging the ball behind an offensive line that returns all five starters, plus season starter Taylor Poitier, the duo could have K-State’s first duo of 1,000yd rushers since 2002, when Darren Sproles and Ell Roberson each eclipsed the mark.
Coach Klieman and the Wildcats have a basically complete 2023 spring roster at this point, with the only spot remaining to be filled being Nose Guard to replace Eli Huggins. And there is one expected to be visiting Manhattan starting today (which may not be great, because it’s cold, windy, and a bit icy today in the Little Apple).
The Voice of the Wildcats Wyatt Thompson has been named as the 2022 Kansas Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. This is the seventh time in his 21-year career in Manhattan that Thompson has been so honored, and puts him in a tie for second all-time among K-State broadcasters in awards and third all-time among broadcasters in the state of Kansas. Thompson was also inducted into the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee this past fall as part of it’s 2022 honoree group.
Announced yesterday, K-State Alumni Association president and CEO Amy Button Renz will retire from the K-State Alumni Association after more than 45 years of service to Kansas State University. Renz has been with the Alumni Association since 1977, and took over as president and CEO in 1994, becoming the first female alumni director in the Big 8/12. Her handprints are all over the University, from fundraising and campaign support to student-centered activities and active support of the K-State marching band. And she chaired the search committees for the last two athletic directors (John Currie and Gene Taylor), as well as current vice president for student life and dean of students, Thomas Lane. Her last day will be at end of the Alumni Association’s fiscal year on June 30.