No court storming in the Little Apple
Kansas State entered Saturday's slate with a 13–9 overall record and a 2–7 mark in conference play, so it was simple to say Bruce Weber's team needed a boost. Thankfully, when you play in the Big 12, those opportunities come often.
The Wildcats fed off a sell-out crowd to earn their first victory over a ranked opponent this season, knocking off No. 1 Oklahoma, 80–69, in the Little Apple. It was the third consecutive time a No. 1 ranked opponent has come into the "Octagon of Doom" and left with a loss.
What may have been Saturday's most interesting surprise, though, was what didn't happen—a court storm. It's fairly customary for schools to rush the court after beating the nation's top team. Great upsets call for greater celebrations, but not this time. In fact, a new celebration of sorts arose.
After K-State players realized the storming wasn't going to happen, they themselves jumped up into the swarming student section.
"I'm not sure what happened," said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber in the postgame press conference. "I was kind of waiting for them to storm, but they didn't. And that is fine, they still got to enjoy it."
In recent years, it had become customary for K-State players to hop onto the scorers table and flash their jersey's as the students filled the court. Last season, headlines were made after a particularly aggressive court storm against Kansas. Since then, the university vowed to protect opposing teams attempting to leave the court. On Saturday, a statement was read aloud to fans with under two minutes to play urging them to remain off the court following the game.
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Ryan Jurgensmeier, a senior along the front row of the student section, said there was some chatter among students in the second half whether or not they would storm the court.
"We had decided that we were going to go ahead and storm because we were about to take down the No. 1 team," said Jurgensmeier. "That was until a row of security guards linked arm and arm to prevent us from going out there."
Even Bruce Weber had planned for some chaos, saying afterwards that he and his team had practiced a scenario in which a court storming took place.
"I said, okay, if we get the ball in and win the game, I want everybody to go to the Wildcat. We will shake hands and then once the people who get the players off for Oklahoma get off the floor, then we can enjoy it."
In real time, security moved swiftly into place along the scorer's table as the horn rang and Weber's team ran to center court. In unison, the team sidestepped the courtside seats to reach the students for a brief "family hug" of sorts. It certainly was a small bow for the gift that was Saturday's win, but it's one that K-State fans appreciated.
"It was better than nothing. Sure, we would have liked to storm the court after beating No. 1, but I guess the safest way to celebrate was allowing the players to storm the stands."
"I think our guys would have liked to have been a part of [a court storm], but hey, maybe we can have that down the road," said Weber.
The Wildcats will have a couple more chances against ranked foes in Manhattan, one coming up this Wednesday against No. 21 Baylor before rival Kansas comes to town on Feb. 20.
Trenton Miller is SI's campus correspondent for Kansas State University. Follow him on Twitter.