SE: K-State Sports Extra Top 10 Moments of January 2016

At the end of every month during the athletic year, K-State Sports Extra glances back at the month’s best plays, victories and moments. From honoring Wildcat legends to record-breaking performances to complete team victories, the past month has been exciting one.

Here are the moments K-State Sports Extra recognizes as January 2016’s best:

10. Men’s Basketball Defeats Ole Miss in Big 12/SEC Challenge
K-State men’s basketball used a monstrous 19-2 second-half run to secure a win over Ole Miss, 69-64, in the third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 30, before a sold-out crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum. 

“It is a good win,” said K-State head coach Bruce Weber after the game. “The last couple of weeks we talked about things we need to get accomplished to win the SEC Challenge, and win at home. It gives us three out of four against SEC teams, and the only loss was at Texas A&M and we pushed them until the end. We are 11-2 overall in non-conference, which is a good showing for our guys.”

The victory was K-State’s second over Ole Miss in the Big 12/SEC Challenge in the past three seasons with the other coming against the Rebels in Manhattan, 61-58, on Dec. 5, 2013. The Wildcats are now 3-1 against four different SEC opponents this season. 

For stats, highlights, quotes and more about the Wildcats’ most recent win, please click here.

9. Men’s, Women’s Basketball Celebrate Legends Weekend
Nearly 45 former women’s basketball players and nearly 30 former men’s basketball players reunited in Manhattan this month for their respective Legends Weekend celebrations. The former men’s players came together and were honored on the court at halftime of K-State’s game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 23, while the former women’s players came together and were celebrated at halftime of the Wildcats’ matchup with Texas on Jan. 30. 

“It’s always great to be back in Manhattan,” said Kelley Edgar, who played with the men’s basketball team in the early 1980s. “It’s great to see old friends and rehash old memories. It’s been a lot of fun; I’m glad that they do this.”

To watch highlights from the Men’s Basketball Legends weekend, please click here. To watch the K-State women’s basketball legends’ halftime introduction, please click here.

8. Track and Field Sweeps DeLoss Dodds Invitational
Hosting its third indoor meet of the season, the No. 4 Kansas State women and 20th-ranked men combined for eight first-place finishes as it swept the DeLoss Dodds Invitational in Ahearn Field House on January 22 and 23.

Both the men’s and women’s sides earned wins against Oklahoma State, North Texas and Tulsa en route to the victory on day two of the meet. During the first day of the meet, senior Akela Jones set a school and Ahearn Field House record in the pentathlon with 4,643 total points.

“We are progressing and that is what is most important,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “We had some good, quality marks today. We had a lot of people off this weekend in anticipation of traveling next weekend. That being said, we are making very good progress.”

For more information on the DeLoss Dodds Invitational, please click here.

7. K-Staters Paint Memphis Purple
K-Staters from far and wide showed up in Memphis, Tennessee, to cheer on K-State as it took on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2015 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. On New Year’s Day, nearly 10,000 purple-clad fans flooded Memphis’ AutoZone Park to celebrate together at this year’s K-State Pep Rally.

For K-StateHD.TV’s video highlights from the pep rally, please click here.

6. Men’s Basketball Downs Oklahoma State
The Wildcat men’s basketball team posted numerous season highs on offense on Jan, 23, as it took down Oklahoma State, 89-73, in Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats’ 89 points were the most points scored by K-State in a Big 12 game in more than five years. 

“I think we were at a magic level,” said Weber after the game. “We hit some good open shots, we shared the ball and we took advantage of their weaknesses on the defense when we were able to. I think the big thing is that we got to the paint. We made those threes, but we got to the paint and that opens things up.”

For stats, highlights and more about the Wildcats’ win over Oklahoma State, please click here

5. Tennis Starts Season Strong 
The Wildcat tennis team opened its spring season with a 7-0 sweep of Missouri State on Jan. 23. All six of the Wildcats’ singles competitors – Sara Castellano (No. 1 position), Carolina Costamagna (No. 2) Ana Garcia Navas (No. 3), Iva Bago (No. 4), Millie Stretton (No. 5) and Liva Cirnu (No. 6) picked up points, while K-State also picked up the doubles point by winning all three of its doubles matches. 

“I am pretty pleased with our showing considering it is our first match,” explained K-State head coach Danielle Steinberg. “You always want to get those first match jitters out of the way and I am hoping we did just that today.”

To read more about the Wildcats’ exciting opening weekend, please click here.

4. Women’s Basketball Wins Four-in-a-Row
Beginning with a 47-44 victory over Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 13, K-State women’s basketball won four-consecutive Big 12 contests in January. Along with the win over Oklahoma State, it also defeated TCU, 58-49, at home and Kansas (59-46) and Texas Tech (65-53) on the road. 

“I think our defense is the obvious answer,” said K-State head coach Jeff Mittie after the Texas Tech win. “We’re doing a better job there. Then, offensively, I think those things go hand in hand. We’re playing at a better tempo, not only for our offense to be more efficient but for our defense to be more efficient.”

While the Wildcats’ winning streak was snapped with a tough 66-51 loss to No. 6 Texas on Jan. 30, K-State isn’t hanging its head and will be back in action on Wednesday with a trip to Waco, Texas, to take on the Baylor Bears. 

For the Wildcat women’s basketball full schedule, please click here.

3. Men’s Basketball Takes Part in Coaches vs. Cancer
Every year, K-State head coach Bruce Weber takes part in Coaches vs. Cancer. On Jan. 19, the coach invited K-State students to the Ice Family Basketball Center to shoot buckets and raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer. For each shot a student made, Weber donated to the cause – $1 for every student who showed up, $10 for every free throw made, $25 for every three-pointer made, $100 for a half court shot made, and, if a student made all three, Weber donated an extra $1,000. On Jan. 30, before K-State tipped off against Ole Miss, Weber’s wife, Megan, donated a check for $10,000 to the American Cancer Society.

Along with the shooting challenge, K-State Athletics sold T-shirts for fans to stripe Bramlage Coliseum with purple and white during the Wildcats’ game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 23. The money made on the shirts went toward Coaches vs. Cancer’s efforts. 

The Wildcat coaching staff also helped raise awareness about the fight against cancer by taking part in Suits vs. Sneakers on Jan. 30. This year’s sneakers were specially designed with ‘Princess Lacey’s Laces’ to honor Lacey Holsworth and her love of basketball. 

2. Akela Jones Impresses in January 
It’s hard to beat the month Akela Jones had. At the DeLoss Dodds Invitational on Jan. 22, she broke the Ahearn Field House and the K-State track and field record as she scored 4,643 points in the heptathlon. The week prior to the DeLoss Dodds Invitational, Jones was named the high point scorer at the KSU-KU-WSU Showdown as she racked up 21 points for her performances in the high jump, the 60-meter hurdles, the shot put and the 200-meter dash. 

At the Wildcat Invitational on Jan. 9, Jones set a personal best and broke the Wildcat Invitational and the Ahearn Field House record in the 60-meter hurdles recording a quick 8.17.

For her performances this month Jones earned USTFCCCA Division I Female Athlete of the Week (Jan. 12), USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week (Jan. 27), Big 12 Female Athlete of the Week (Jan. 27) and was placed on the 2016 Bowerman Trophy Preseason Watch List.

Jones was also highlighted in Sports Illustrated magazine this month as one a part of its “Faces in the Crowd” feature – and her year is only just beginning.

1. Ten New Faces Inducted into K-State Athletics Hall of Fame 
K-State Athletics honored a group of 10 outstanding individuals on Jan. 29, as it inducted a new class into its Hall of Fame.

The 2016 Hall of Fame class included former student-athletes Steve Anson (baseball), Michael Bishop (football), Dawn Cady (volleyball), Martin Gramatica (football), Max Moss (men’s basketball), Nicole Ohlde (women’s basketball), Sean Snyder (football), Connie Teaberry (track and field) and Kendra Wecker (women’s basketball) as well as former Voice of the Wildcats Mitch Holthus. 

“It’s amazing,” said Bishop. “To come back here and be a part of a great organization, a part of a great university, to be inducted into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame really says a lot. It was unexpected, and it’s made me really reminisce over the good times I had here.”

For video highlights from K-StateHD.TV from the Hall of Fame weekend, please click here.