January 31, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
The Wildcats kicked off 2014 in style.
From memorable wins to big-time freshmen performances to all-around team victories, January has been an exciting month for K-State Athletics. Here are a few moments K-State Sports Extra has highlighted as January's greatest.
10. Men's basketball takes down No. 25 Oklahoma, 72-66
On Jan. 14, talented freshman guard Marcus Foster led the Wildcats to a 72-66 win over then No. 25 Oklahoma with his game-high 18 points and five assists.
An all-around team effort on the offensive end of the court, four other Wildcats - senior Shane Southwell (16 points), freshman Wesley Iwundu (11 points), senior Will Spradling (10 points) and junior Nino Williams (10 points) - joined Foster in double-digit scoring.
"Obviously, it is a great win for us, a top-25 win," said head coach Bruce Weber. "They are one of the top offensive teams in the country and we held them to 66 points on 33 percent shooting."
9. K-State Athletics recognizes first responders for heroic acts
At the K-State football game against Oklahoma on Nov. 23, Overland Park, Kan., native Bob Bridgham, 67, suffered sudden cardiac arrest, and if it weren't for Wildcat fans Dani Patterson, a certified nurse from Topeka, Kan., Loreen Buccigrossi, a certified nurse from Salina, Kan., and James Bond, K-State event staff and former member of Riley County EMS, Bridgham might not have made the successful recovery he did.
The three were quick to Bridgham's aid working together to provide CPR in Bill Snyder Family Stadium until EMS arrived to the scene. For their heroic acts in saving Bridgham's life, K-State Athletics recognized the group at the men's basketball game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 4.
"It was pretty amazing, everyone gave us a standing ovation," Patterson said. "I probably have never had that before and will probably never have that again. It was pretty awesome. It was a packed crowd for that game. It was amazing."
To read the full story on Bridgham, Patterson, Buccigrossi and Bond, click here.
8. Baseball receives best preseason ranking in program history
For the first time in program history, the K-State baseball team has been ranked in national Top 25 preseason polls, reaching as high as No. 21 in the USA Today preseason Coaches' Poll. K-State has also been ranked No. 22 in both the Baseball America and Perfect Game preseason rankings, which were the previous program-bests for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats have now been placed in four preseason polls entering the 2014 campaign after coming in at No. 28 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason Fab 40, which was released in December. The No. 28 ranking by Collegiate Baseball was the best K-State had been ranked in the publication's preseason poll.
7. Men's Basketball celebrates its 1964 Final Four team
At halftime of the Wildcats' 78-56 win over West Virginia, K-State celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of its greatest basketball teams of all-time. Fourteen members of the 1964 Final Four Wildcats were in attendance and recognized on the court at halftime.
The members of the 1964 Final Four team included Dick Barnard, Larry Berger, Bill Gettler, Joe Gottfrid, Tom Haas, Jim Hoffmann, Max Moss, John Olson, Lou Poma, Sammy Robinson, Jeff Simons, Roger Suttner, Larry Weigel and College Basketball and Naismith Hall of Fame head coach Tex Winter.
6. Track and Field dominates the Wildcat Invitational
On Jan. 18, K-State track and field took on Oklahoma State and Tulsa in the Wildcat Invitational and came out on top with 16 combined first-place finishes and several athletes hitting top-school marks throughout the meet.
First-place finishes included: Erica Twiss in the women's 60m hurdles (8.41), Carlos Rodriguez in the men's 200m (21.51), Jordan Matthews in the women's 200m (25.42), Angela Hart in the women's 400m (57.58), Tia Gamble in the women's 600Y (1:22.25 - eighth in school history), Sonia Gasakin in the women's 800 (2:10.17 - eighth in school history), Jahryl Bowry in the men's long jump (7.64m - seventh in school history), Erica Twiss in the women's long jump (5.94m), Ifeanyichuwku Otuonye in the men's triple jump (14.11m), Alyssa Kelly in the women's triple jump (11.36m), Kyle Wait in the men's pole vault (5.22m), Ryan Hershberger in the men's shot put (18.46m - seventh best in school history), Dani Winters in the women's shot put (15.85m - sixth in school history) and Sara Savatovic in the women's weight throw (20.09m - fourth in school history). Both the men and women's 4x400 teams placed first as well.
"They're all still training at a very high level," track and field head coach Cliff Rovelto said about his team. "They're not rested by any means, so when you consider that, I think it just shows how much they're improving, which is obviously very good."
For a full recap and scores from the Wildcat Invitational, click here.
5. Women's basketball defeats Oklahoma, 86-78
For the first time in a decade, K-Sate women's basketball defeated Oklahoma. On January 29 in Bramlage Coliseum, the Wildcats beat the Sooners, 86-78, and snapped Oklahoma's 13-game winning streak against K-State.
The team was led by freshman Leti Romero who neared a triple-double with a game-high 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Senior Katya Leick put away 22 points with a career-high five three-pointers, and freshman Kindred Wesemann scored a career-high 14 points.
"(I'm) just really proud of our basketball team tonight," K-State head coach Deb Patterson said after the game. "It was K-State fight, K-State intensity, and K-State teamwork. I felt like everyone was dialed in and that was as good as a game I could ask this team to compete. I could not be any happier, just not about the victory but how we competed for 40 minutes."
4. Leti Romero earns Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors
After back-to-back solid performances in K-State's wins over Texas Tech (Jan. 14) and No. 13 Iowa State (Jan. 18), freshman guard Leti Romero earned her second Phillips 66 Big 12 Freshman of the Week honor.
Against Texas Tech, Romero put away 21 points and only upped her effort against Iowa State by scoring a career-high 27 points.
"For me, it's not a big, big deal because I would always rather just get a win," Romero explained after earning the mention again. "Being freshman of the week is something that came, and it makes you happy, but as long as I know I'm helping the team and my play is helping my team to win, that's all I want."
Along with her average of 14.8 points per game, Romero is averaging a team-leading 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 35 steals.
3. Marcus Foster earns Big 12 Rookie of the Week and Tisdale National Freshman of the Week
Freshman guard Marcus Foster opened his Big 12 career with a bang on Jan. 4, as he led the Wildcats with 17 points in the team's 74-71 upset win over Oklahoma State.
His hard work didn't go unnoticed as the following week as was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week and Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week.
"I'm further ahead than I ever expected," Foster said about his progress during his freshman season. "I didn't think that I'd be coming in and making the impact that I am right now."
Foster is averaging a team-leading 13.4 points to go along with his 3.7 rebounds per game and 14 steals.
2. Women's Basketball upsets No. 13 Iowa State, 80-74
Freshman Leti Romero and senior Katya Leick combined for 50 points against the Cyclones on Jan. 18, for the Wildcats' greatest win this season. The game marked the 850th win in the program's history and the eighth-straight season that the Wildcats have defeated a ranked opponent.
Romero finished with a career-high 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, and 8-of-10 from the foul line. Leick was just as good as she notched a career-high 23 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 4-of-8 from the three-point line. She also hauled in five rebounds for the ninth time this season.
"It was thrilling, and it is really rewarding," Leick said after the game. "It was a really good, competitive game and just to get that win is exciting."
1. Men's Basketball defeats No. 6 Oklahoma State, 74-71
After going undefeated in the month of December, K-State tipped off Big 12 Conference play with one of the toughest teams in the league and came out on top.
In front of a sold-out, filled-to-the-brim Bramlage Coliseum, the Wildcats defeated then-No. 6 Oklahoma State, 74-71, with freshman Marcus Foster leading the way with 17 points.
The win was the first against a top-10 opponent since defeating No. 3 Missouri, 78-68, on Feb. 21, 2012, and the first at home since knocking off the seventh-ranked Tigers, 75-59, on Jan. 7, 2012.
"What can you say? It is just a great win - a gusty win by our guys," said head coach Bruce Weber. "They just kept battling. I am not so sure it was pretty at times, (but) we got stops when it counted and that is what you have to do."
K-State's Jevon Thomas and Will Spradling celebrate at the end of the game against Oklahoma State at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on January 4, 2014. (photos by Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)