We’ll ignore the abomination in Oklahoma for a minute and give you the good stuff first.
Though in a scene that was eerily reminiscent of that debacle in Norman, your Kansas State Wildcats (15-11, 4-9) dominated the visiting Baylor Bears 87-68 on Wednesday night to pick up their second-straight home win over the Bears (16-9, 7-6) for the first time since running off a streak of four-straight from 1998-2006. What was similar? The Wildcats opened up red-hot from behind the arc, knocking down five of their nine attempts in the first quarter before remaining hot shooting throughout, finishing at a blistering 60% clip from the floor, 45% from behind the arc, and 87% from the free throw line (the Wildcats missed just 3 of their 23 attempts from the charity stripe). The Cats did give away the ball 19 times, though still one less than the Bears, but scoring at that kind of clip can cover up other flaws.
Overall, four Wildcats reached double figures, led by Gabby Gregory with her second double-double of the season with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Gregory was recently named to the Later Season Watch List for the Staley Award, becoming the first Wildcat to even be named to the award’s watch list. Gregory was joined in double figures by the “sophomore trio” of Serena Sundell (20), Brylee Glenn (14), and Jaelyn Glenn (11). All four individually broke 60% from the floor, with Brylee going for a incendiary 71%.
Next up for the MittieCats is a trip to Fort Worth to face off against the last-place Horned Frogs. At 15-11 and 4-9 in Big 12 play, the Wildcats are still bubblicious, and need to pick up a few more wins down the stretch here to keep their foot in the door. But a win over TCU (6-18, 0-13) would essentially guarantee the Cats a spot in the WNIT, because they would lock-in an above-.500 season.
Okay, back to whatever that was in Norman on Tuesday. First up, yes, we’re sorry we didn’t get an official recap up for you. But it was late, and we put in about as much effort trying to write that as the TangCats did trying to defend the 3pt line — or as much as OU fans tried to actually show up to that game (“listed” attendance was 5,167 (seats 11k), but it looked like even less on TV, for a conference game. C’mon Sooners, do better.). Anyway, your Wildcats (19-7, 7-6) fell flat on their face in the second half as the Sooners (13-13, 3-10) ran off with a 79-65 victory to hand K-State their 5th-straight Big 12 road loss, and 6th loss in 8 games overall.
It was actually a tight ballgame in the first half, with the Wildcats holding a four-point lead nearing the end of the period before letting OU crawl back to tie things up before intermission. Unlike the last few games, the Wildcats limited turnovers in the first half, committing just 7 (in fact, they had just 7 in each period for 14 for the game), but couldn’t quite get warmed up from deep, going just 2-12 (both from Markquis Nowell). Things turned dark in the second half, as the Wildcats scoring woes continued, but the Sooners came out firing, shooting an absurd 5-7 (71%) from deep and 11-18 from the floor in the second half to pull away from the Wildcats. The only thing that kept it from being worse was the Sooners frigid shooting from the free throw line, going 18-28 (attempting 13 more than the Cats...) from the stripe. Somewhat surprisingly, the did actually dominate in points in the paint, with a 38-26 advantage, but aside from that and free throw percentage, the Sooners had top marks in every other category.
For the Wildcats, of the six players that scored, four were in double-figures led by Nae’Qwan Tomlin’s 17. Tomlin, despite having a somewhat sloppy game, also collected his second double-double of the season as he also grabbed 10 rebounds. Tomlin was joined in double-figures by Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell, who each had 14, and Abayomi Iyiola who had 11 off the bench. But conversely (taken straight from commenter Maslas on the Discord channel), the Wildcats had 5 players contribute a combined 9 points last night. David, Cam, Ish, Tykei, and Desi were 3-14 in a combined 74 minutes.
Next up for the beleaguered TangCats is a much-needed return to Bramlage, where they will get their rematch with the Cyclones. Iowa State (17-8, 8-5), sits a spot above K-State in the Big 12, but has struggled away from home as much as the Cats — and like K-State won their first two road games before losing the next four trips away from Ames.
Back to positive news. Your 21st-ranked K-State men’s golf team came off their break with a great start, and led by a top-10 individual finish from Will Hopkins, the Cats placed third at 13-under par 839 after the final round of the Hal Williams Collegiate on Tuesday at the Magnolia Grove Golf Club (Mobile, AL). The Cats third-place finish comes behind 5th-ranked Illinois and Arkansas, but K-State held off #49 Southern Mississippi to remain in the top three. Hopkins finished with a 7-under 206 to finish in a tie for 6th, while Tim Tillmanns (-1, 212, T22) and Luke O’Neill (0, 213, T25) joined him in the Top 25 individual leaderboard.
K-State will now be off for the rest of the month before returning to action March 6th and 7th at the Colleton River Collegiate. The tournament, held at the Colleton River Club in Bluffton, SC, is being hosted by Michigan State and features a host of big-name schools, including 6 Big 10 teams, and 3 current and future Big 12 squads among the 12 participants.
It appears that Chris Klieman and Collin Klein have found their new wide receivers coach to replace the departing Thad Ward. Nothing officially official yet, but FootballScoop is reporting that Matthew Middleton will be the next man charged with leading the receivers at K-State. Middleton spent the last 5 seasons at Kent State before heading to South Florida this offseason to join new head coach Alex Golesh. Middleton is no stranger to the midwest and Kansas, having been born and raised in KCK. He also attend college at Ottawa University in Ottawa, KS (where he was three-time All-KCAC receiver), before getting his master’s at Nebraska-Omaha. Middleton actually coached with K-State o-line coach in Omaha, where the two were on staff together for the final two years of the Mavericks program before it was shut down
in a moronic decision by Trev Alberts. He and K-State d-end coach Buddy Wyatt were also together for a season in Lawrence, when Middleton was a GA in 2012.
Also, in case you missed it, K-State TE coach Brian Lepak is also apparently a very talented singer, and showcased his talents singing the National Anthem before the women’s basketball game last night. Clearly he needs to keep doing it if it’s going to result in K-State wins.