Diarra out due to injury, date of return unknown

Sophomore guard Cartier Diarra shoots and makes a layup to score for the Wildcats against KU. The Wildcats faced off against the Jayhawks at Bramlage Coliseum and won 74-67 on Feb. 5, 2019. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

It was a sad day for Kansas State men’s basketball fans as K-State Athletics announced early Tuesday morning that sophomore guard Cartier Diarra was not able to travel to Austin, Texas, with the team due to a sustained hand injury that will require him to undergo surgery.

The injury came at an unfortunate time for the Wildcats, who faced the Texas Longhorns — then a team with a record of 14-10 overall, 6-5 in the Big 12 Conference.

Cartier Diarra takes a break at the game against Denver University. The Wildcats beat Denver 64-56. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

K-State head coach Bruce Weber confirmed that the surgery will cause Diarra to be out for an undetermined period of time.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed for Cartier and his family,” Weber said. “He has worked hard on the court this year, and I know he will work equally hard to come back strong. Our team has faced adversity many times this season, and this is just another hurdle they must climb.”

Diarra has played in all 23 games the Wildcats have had this season apart from Tuesday’s game, including seven games on the starting lineup and averaging 25 minutes of play per game. He is currently averaging 39.5 percent in shooting (45-114), 3.2 rebounds per game and 1.7 assists per game.

In terms of points, Diarra has scored 10 or more points in the last four games where he played. One of his most notable performances was his 11-point game versus Kansas. He scored an astonishing windmill dunk in Bramlage Coliseum, which helped the Wildcats snap an eight-game losing streak against their KU rivals.

With just a few seconds on the clock, K-State’s Cartier Diarra goes up for a dunk to end the first half of the game. The Longhorns defeated the Wildcats 67-47 on January 2, 2019. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

Diarra has been a key player for Bruce Weber this season, helping boost the Wildcats to an 18-5 overall record and 8-2 in the Big 12. After K-State’s narrow win without Diarra on Tuesday night, the Wildcats are now 19-5 overall and 9-2 in the Big 12.

The Wildcats have not been nationally ranked since the preseason rankings, but they showed up again on Monday after stellar back-to-back performances against KU and Baylor. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 18 and sitting at the top of the Big 12.

The Wildcats’ next home game is against No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m.