The Streak Is Dead!

Kansas State knocked off the No. 2 team in the nation Wednesday night with an 84-75 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks. With the win, a 24-year losing streak to KU in games played in Manhattan came to an end. The victory puts K-State in first place in the Big 12 standings with a 5-0 record, the programs best start to a season since the 6-0 start of 1988.

The Bramlage Coliseum scoreboard clock raced to 0:00; the timepiece on the wall displayed 9:23.

January 30, 2008 ... at 9:23 p.m. ... "The Streak" was pronounced dead.

Roughly 8,760 days after Kansas State's last victory over Kansas in a game played in

Manhattan, the Wildcats were winners ... again. A one-game win streak after 24 years of futility since a 59-57 win on Jan. 29, 1983, in KSU's old home of Ahearn Field House.

Michael Beasley called it just another game. But for about the only time on this night when he scored 25 points, which included rippling the nets for four treys, he was wrong.

Bill Walker admitted the win was special: "People act like there's just one team in Kansas. We had a chance to show there isn't (just one). I remember going on the Catbacker Tour to places like Garden City this summer, and this is the game our fans wanted."

Senior Clent Stewart added, "It takes me back to my sophomore year when we beat them at their place. It was a great win, as well, but it's sweeter to see the reaction of your fans. Kansas State people take this game personally."

And how those fans reacted with 40 minutes of deafening roar, and then turning the Bramlage floor into a mass of purple Wildcat humanity when the buzzer sounded to Kansas State's 84-75 victory over No. 2 Kansas.

Stewart left the floor and immediately went into the stands to embrace his parents; Beasley's mother Fatima Smith said it felt like, "We won the Super Bowl. I want to go to Disney World," as her son stood on the scorer's table waving to his fans.

The reason for celebration was multiple. Not only was the dreaded "Streak" pronounced dead, K-State had not beaten a higher ranked team since stunning No. 1 Kansas in Lawrence in 1994, and, it was the first win over such a highly ranked team on the Wildcats' home floor since knocking off No. 1 Missouri in 1990. Coach Frank Martin called it a "monumental thing."

And while Bill Self said "The Streak" meant nothing to him, he did say, "The sting is because it's our rival. I do care about beating our rival. So sure, this stings."

All season long the Wildcats have referred to this Big 12 season as a 16-round boxing match. Wednesday, in Round 5, the Wildcats slugged, and were smacked; they staggered the Jayhawks, and were on the ropes themselves. For 40 minutes, Kansas State, with its three starting freshmen - Beasley, Walker and Dominque Sutton -- plus another in Jacob Pullen off the bench, stood sneaker-to-sneaker with a team as good as any in America ... and won.

How good does this make the Wildcats? "It lets us know we're good enough to compete with the big boys," said Martin. And, beat the big boys.

So, what team is the best in the Big 12? "We are if you go by the record," Walker said. "Until someone knocks off the top team, we are the best team in the Big 12."

Making this victory all the more satisfying is that it was predicted. At one time or another, Beasley said the Wildcats would win in Manhattan, Lawrence, Africa and Alaska.

Pullen also gave the Jayhawks little verbal love going into the game, and then backed his opinion with a 20-point, 4-assist game. Wednesday, the Wildcats not only talked-the-talk, but also walked-the-walk.

To such verbalization, Martin somewhat testily said, "I back my kids up. I backed up what they said in the summer, I backed them last week, I backed them yesterday, and I backed them today. I'm in their corner, and they're in my corner. We're in this thing together."

Taking nothing away from the ultra-talented cast from Kansas, this Kansas State unquestionably has the best player in Beasley, arguably has the second best player in Walker, and a third in Sutton, who might have been the best pure athlete on the floor.

And on this night, a packed house was supplying an atmosphere second to none.

"We will not play in an environment like this again this year," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "This was fabulous. I couldn't even hear the whistle blow."

When the final whistle sounded, "The Streak" was dead.

While saying he has only experienced two years of the Wildcat-Jayhawk rivalry, Martin said, "That is something very important to the incredible people of Kansas State. For us to be able to provide relief from that streak to our people of Kansas State was very important."


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