K-State wins in front of Wildcat legends


K-State legend weekend started off with a wild game as the K-State men’s basketball team defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 77-72 in Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday night.

K-State, (20-9, 8-6 Big 12 Conference) which is coming off a tough loss to Missouri on Wednesday, came out strong offensively and jumped on the Cornhuskers 11-4 early in the first half.

Nebraska (16-11, 6-8 Big 12) would then go on a 7-0 run to tie the game with 12:36 left in the half. Both teams would trade baskets the rest of the half, but the Cornhuskers would take a 32-30 lead into halftime on a Ryan Anderson 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“We knew Doc Sadler would have his guys ready to go,” head coach Frank Martin said. “There isn’t anyone in the country that can get players to play better and harder together than he does.”

The second half was much like the first half — neither team was able to take control of the game. K-State would go on a scoring run and then the Cornhuskers would counter with a run of their own.

But when K-State needed a spark, it came from an unlikely source — Buchi Awaji.

The Wildcats were down 49-50 with 10:58 left in the game when Martin switched defensive strategies to full-court pressure. On the ensuing Cornhusker possession, K-State knocked the ball loose and senior forward Darren Kent ended up with the ball on the floor.

He was able to find Awaji under the basket and Awaji slammed the ball home.

“When I got the ball, all I saw was the rim,” Awaji said. “I knew I could get up there and put it down.”

The dunk sparked a Wildcat 9-0 run, which kept Nebraska at bay until the end of the game. But Awaji was there once again to save the day.

With 19 seconds left in the game, K-State was up 71-67. Nebraska’s Cookie Miller drove the lane and had a wide-open lay-up but Awaji came across the lane and blocked Miller’s shot.

“I felt like I just had to get up and get it,” Awaji said.

K-State would then hit eight consecutive free throws to seal the victory.

Jacob Pullen led K-State with 18 points. Denis Clemente and Darren Kent had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Awaji ended the game with 10 points — seven in the second half.

Nebraska was led by Ryan Anderson who had 19 points. Ade Dagunduro and Miller each scored in the double digits with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

K-State is scheduled to travel to Stillwater, Okla., to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.