Kansas State Battles Back Late to Down the Sooners in Big 12 Action

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MANHATTAN – The Kansas State Wildcats knocked off No. 25 Oklahoma, 72-66, for their third win of the season against a Top 25 opponent. The win also marks the fifth straight season that the Wildcats have accomplished that feat, the longest in program history.

“When you win a game and you don’t play your best, you have to be happy,” said coach Bruce Weber. “We got enough rebounds when it counted, but (Ryan) Spangler had his way with us.”

The Wildcats (13-4, 3-1 Big 12) were led by Marcus Foster’s 18 points while Shane Southwell had 16. However, the name of the game down the stretch was rebounding as K-State not only out rebounded Oklahoma 42-38 overall, but grabbed 12 of the final 14 rebounds in the game. K-State’s dominance on the boards down the stretch contributed to a 16-4 run that led to the victory.

The Wildcats found themselves with the early momentum as they jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead off of a layup by Marcus Foster before OU would get on the board with a three-pointer at the 17:55 mark of the game.

OU (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) would take the lead 7-6 with 16:00 left in the first half and kept the lead until the Wildcats would connect on five straight three-pointers to take the lead 23-17 with 12:02 left in the first half. K-State would extend their lead to to its largest margin at the 8:47 mark of the first half as Wesley Iwunda would connect with a triple by making it 28-19.

OU would make a run at the end of the half to take the lead with 1:58 left off of a pair of free throws by Spangler. But there was no quit in the ‘Cats as Will Spradling would be fouled on a three point attempt and make all three free throws before half to give the advantage back to K-State, 39-38.

K-State remained in control of the lead in the second half until Spangler would get loose for a layup with 9:04 left to play and give the Sooners a 53-52 advantage. OU would extend their lead to 62-56 off of a pair of Spangler free throws with 5:37 remaining for their biggest lead of the second half.

The Wildcats then shifted gears and made their pivotal 16-4 run over the remaining five minutes of the game. A three by Marcus Foster with 2:23 left gave the lead to the Wildcats for good as they went up 66-63 as the final six points would all come from the charity stripe to secure the K-State victory. For the game the Wildcats shot 19-28 from the line including a 6-8 performance in the final 45 seconds.

In total, there were five Wildcats in double figures on the night with Nino Williams falling one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Southwell grabbed eight boards and while Iwundu and Thomas Gipson had six.  Iwundu finished with 11 points while Spradling finished with 10 to round out the Wildcats in double digits.

Ryan Spangler finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Sooners while Buddy Hield finished with 12.

Kansas State will host West Virginia at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday in Big 12 play. Tip off is set for 12:30 p.m.

K-State Women’s Basketball Defeats Texas Tech for First Big 12 Win

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(This article originally appeared on the SBNation.com site www.bringonthecats.com – Photo via kstatesports.com of Leticia Romero)

LUBBOCK, Texas – Kansas State enjoyed their best shooting performance in over a month as the Wildcats picked up a much needed road victory over Texas Tech, 72-65.  The 27-54 performance from the floor is the first time the Wildcats have eclipsed the 50 percent field goal shooting mark since defeating Tennessee State on December 8th.

“We had a lot of different players make plays and that’s a great sign for this team,” said associate head coach Kamie Ethridge on the postgame radio broadcast. “We ought to walk out of here with a lot more confidence.”

“It’s nice to look down on the stat sheet and see good percentages and know how they are scoring.”

The win also puts an end to a 10 game road-losing streak for the Wildcats (7-9, 1-4 Big 12) and gives them the all-time series edge over Tech, 13-12.

Freshman phenom Leticia Romero led K-State with 21 points while Ashia Woods finished with 14. Katya Leick led the Wildcats on the boards with eight while Woods and Brianna Craig each had six.

Defensively, K-State struggled against the Red Raiders (6-10, 0-5 Big 12) Amber Battle, giving up 32 points on 10-15 shooting from the floor. Battle was also 11-13 from the line.

The Wildcats used a 15-3 run to end the first half to go into the break leading 27-21. K-State would then jump out to a 10-point lead on buckets by Woods and Romero to start the second half but would never extend their lead any further as Texas Tech would battle to keep the game close. With 10:02 left to play in the game the Red Raiders would pull within two before the Wildcats would stretch the lead back to as many as eight several times over the remaining minutes.

While the road victory and Big 12 win were certainly something to cheer for, the Wildcats jubilation ended quickly as Haley Texada went down in the final 20 seconds of the game with an apparent ankle injury, an incident coach Ethridge described to make her “just feel sick for something like that to happen.”

The Wildcats return to Bramlage Colesium on Saturday as they play host to Big 12 opponent Iowa State. Tip off is set for 7 p.m on what is being dubbed “Pack the House” night where admission is just $1 for all to attend.

Kansas State Baseball 2014 Season Preview by Jason Dannelly: Season Starts in One Month.


(This article originally appears on the SBNation.com site “Bring on the Cats” via www.bringonthecats.com)

MANHATTAN – Today marks exactly one month to the day before the Kansas State Wildcats take to the diamond in San Luis Obispo, Calif. to take on Cal Poly in what will start an eight game road trip. The Wildcats not only are looking to defend their Big 12 title, but also make a run at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. after falling just short last season against Oregon State.

The excitement to the start of the season has already been built as the Wildcats were rated No. 28 in Collegiate Baseball’s “Fabulous 40” preseason baseball poll. K-State was one of five conference teams ranked as Oklahoma State (No. 18), TCU (No. 19), Texas (No. 20), and Oklahoma (No. 32) all cracked the poll. Cal State Fullerton checked in as the nation’s top team.

When the Wildcats take to the field next month they’ll be looking to second basemen Ross Kivett and relief pitcher Jake Matthys to continue to step up their game. Both were named Louisville Slugger Preseason All-Americans with Kivett garnering First Team honors. Kivett, a senior from Broadview Heights, Ohio was a .360 hitter last season, led the team in runs scored (57) and hits (94).

Matthys,a sophomore from Spring Lake Park, Minn., had nine wins and nine saves with a 2.05 ERA in 34 appearances last season to lead the Wildcats in each category. His final appearance of last season is surely one that stings as he picked up just his second loss of the season to Oregon State which ended the Wildcats season. In four and a third innings, Matthys gave up two earned runs while errors added two more in his five-strikeout performance against the Beavers.

Also returning to the mound this season is Matt Wivinis, a junior from Downers Grove, Ill., who was 6-2 last season with a 4.72 ERA. Wivinis has the most returning experience on the mound from last season as he threw in 76 and a one-third innings while Nate Williams, a junior from Valley Center, Kan., had 67 and one-third innings on the hill with a team leading 54 strikeouts.

The key to this year’s staff will be to try to repeat what they did last season in the later innings. In 2013, K-State was 33-3 when they had the lead after six innings and a perfect 38-0 when they led after eight innings. Much of the pitching staff’s success came from the Wildcats getting their bats going early as they were 20-2 when scoring runs in the first inning.

The Wildcats infield remains intact with all four regular starters returning. Austin Fisher, a junior from Lenexa, Kan., who led K-State last season with a .361 batting average and 20 doubles last season is back at shortstop along with first basemen Shane Conlon, a junior from Naperville, Ill., who batted .341 last season with 85 hits. At third, RJ Santigate, a senior from Las Vegas, rounds out the infield with a .324 average from last season.

One of the larger question marks this spring will be the outfield of the Wildcats as three of the mainstays from last season are gone. Tanner Witt, Jared King and Jon Davis started a combined 185 games last season. Clayton Dalrymple and Mitch Meyer return with the most starting experience in the outfield with Meyer adding 19 starts as the team’s designated hitter.

Coach Brad Hill enters his 11th season as head coach of the Wildcats with a 756-334-3 overall record, which includes his time at Central Missouri State. After taking the program to their first ever Super Regional last season, Hill will have his program focused on the ultimate prize in Omaha. With nineteen returning players from last season this spring could be another step forward for the once average Wildcat program.

In the year prior to taking over the program the Wildcats were just 15-37 overall, winning only five Big 12 conference games.  Since taking over, Hill’s teams have had 26 or more wins in every season and are coming off a school record 45-19 season including their first ever Big 12 title. K-State’s 16-8 record in conference play is also an all-time record.

In the offseason, K-State added seven true freshmen and seven transfers to the roster including Manhattan, Kan. native Brooks DeBord who joins his first team All-Big 12 standout brother Blair Debord on the roster as a catcher.

Keep an eye out for transfers Max Brown, Nate Hale and Cater Yagi who all put up good numbers last season at their JUCOs. With holes left due to graduation in the outfield the Wildcats will need to have someone emerge this season as a leader.

The Wildcats open their 2014 home schedule on February 28 in a three game home stand against UW-Milwaukee at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State Turnovers Too Much To Overcome, Oklahoma State Defeats Wildcats in Big 12 Women’s Action

MANHATTAN – The Kansas State women’s basketball team tried everything in their might to catch No. 15/16 Oklahoma State in a trap game at Bramlage Coliseum, but the Cowgirls took advantage of several key second half turnovers to come away on top 58-51.

“This is a disappointing loss but an improvement from our basketball team,” said K-State head coach Deb Patterson. “To an extent I am really pleased with the growth that I saw from us competitively.”

“We went through a segment where we got sloppy and got a little indecisive and when we got that way it leads to turnovers that make you scratch your head. You can see it coming. I liked that we recovered from it, but we recovered too late and unfortunately for us they ended up with 13 points off of turnovers and that can be a game changer in a tight basketball game”

Much of the first half of K-State women’s basketball was a feeling out process for what they could get accomplished against Oklahoma State (13-1, 2-1 Big 12). The Wildcats played aggressive defensively forcing seven turnovers that they converted to five points. The Cowgirls inside presence of Kendra Suttles finished the game with 11 points but the Wildcats found ways to push her away from the basket and hold the senior from Lawton, Okla. scoreless in the first half and outscored OSU 16-12 in the paint.

“Coach Patterson always has her teams so well prepared defensively that it is no mystery why she has won so many games here,” said OSU coach Jim Littell. “I thought they did a great job defensively and kept us out of sync on some things”

After a 27-23 lead at the half by Oklahoma State, the Wildcats started the second half on fire with an 8-0 run after threes by Haley Texada and Woods as well as a layup by Katya Leick to put the Wildcats up 31-27 with 16:45 left in the game. The threes by Leick and Texada were two of the four K-State would hit on the night, as the Wildcats would finish just four of 23 from behind the arc.

“We have been working hard at practice and we talked about it at half time about coming out hard in the second half,” said senior forward Chantay Caron. “We just have to work a little bit harder and not have as many turnovers in the second half, and we will be there.

Those turnovers would be part of the momentum shift at the 14:23 mark of the second half when Leticia Romero picked up her third foul and went to the bench. Up to that point Romero had been keeping OSU on their heels with dribble penetration and the ability to move the ball quickly in the offense. Oklahoma State countered the Romero exit from the game with a 15-2 run and never allowed K-State (6-7, 0-2 Big12) closer than seven points despite a few opportunities inside the final ninety seconds for the Wildcats to draw the game closer

“I think part of it with Oklahoma State is the longer that you struggle offensively, the more you have some empty possessions and the more you have turnovers in the second half and that led to them gaining confidence,” said Patterson. “Turnovers lead to a lot of pressure on your defense”

Ashia Woods was the only Wildcat in double figures on the night with 17 points while Katya Leick and Leticia Romero added eight points.

Romero and Leick led the Wildcats on the boards with six rebounds each.

K-State will travel to Norman to take on Oklahoma Saturday. The Sooners (10-6, 1-2 Big 12) lost to Texas 79-74 in overtime despite leading by 12 at halftime. The Wildcats will face the task of getting their first victory over OU since January 31, 2004.