K-State head coach Jerome Tang gets his first shot to beat the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night in the Sunflower Showdown. His team no-showed against TCU on Saturday, losing 82-68. Not an opportune time to play your worst basketball of the season with KU coming up next. We will see if that game was an anomaly on an otherwise great season thus far and if they can quickly snap out of their funk.
Since 1990, K-State has beaten Kansas in basketball only eight times. That’s not something to hang your hat on, for sure. Each of those eight wins has been memorable for outstanding player performances. Perhaps it’s easy to remember all of them since there are so few times it has happened. Anyway, I thought I would revisit those eight victories by ranking them based on entertainment value and what the win meant for the Wildcat program at the time.
Here is my ranking of the eight K-State basketball wins in the Sunflower Showdown since 1990.
8.) February 10, 2014, K-State 85 Kansas 82
Freshman Marcus scored 20 points and Will Spradling added 15 in this overtime victory over the seventh-ranked Jayhawks. It was Bruce Weber’s first victory of three against Kansas.
7.) February 5, 2019, K-State 74 Kansas 67
Barry Brown led the Wildcats with 18 points as K-State beat Kansas for the first time in four years. The end of the game was highlighted by a steal and windmill dunk by Cartier Diarra. It was also the last time that the Wildcats have beaten the Jayhawks. They’ve lost seven straight since this game.
6.) February 23, 2015, K-State 70 Kansas 63
Nigel Johnson had 20 points off the bench, Nino Williams scored 15, and Thomas Gipson had 12 in this victory against the 8th-ranked Jayhawks. It was K-State’s second straight victory at home against Kansas, which hadn’t happened since 1983.
5.) January 14, 2006, K-State 59 Kansas 55
This win against the Jayhawks broke a 31-game losing streak going back to 1994. Clent Stewart led the Wildcats with 15 points, Cartier Martin had 14, and Dramane Diarra added eight.
4.) March 13, 1993, K-State 74 Kansas 67
Dana Altman led the Wildcats to his first victory over Kansas as head coach. The game was tied at 65 with 1:37 to go when K-State point guard Anthony Beane hit a three-point shot to give K-State the lead. KU guard Rex Walters tried to answer and couldn’t, and Beane grabbed the rebound and was fouled. The game became a free-throw shooting contest after that. Guard Vince Jackson had 25 points to lead the Wildcats in scoring. It was the first win for K-State over KU since March 10, 1989, breaking an eight-game skid.
3.) January 17, 1994, K-State 68 Kansas 64
Anthony Beane hit a shot with 12 seconds left to give K-State a two-point lead, and K-State held on for the victory against number one Kansas in Lawrence. It was K-State’s first victory in Allen Field House since 1989.
2.) February 14, 2011, K-State 84 Kansas 68
Jacob Pullen torched number one-ranked Kansas with a career-high 38 points. It was K-State’s first victory over Kansas in a little over three years.
1.) January 30, 2008, K-State 84 Kansas 75
K-State snapped a 24-year home-court losing streak to Kansas as Micheal Beasley scored 25 points, Bill Walker added 22, and Jacob Pullen scored 20 points in this victory over number two-ranked Kansas. The court storming and celebration at the end of the game was legendary as the streak finally came to an end. It was K-State’s first win in Manhattan over Kansas since 1983.
Can Jerome Tang, Marquis Nowell, Keyontae Johnson, Nae’Qwan Tomlin, and the gang add to this list on Tuesday night? It will be a difficult task, but I like their chances.