Marcus Foster and Thomas Gibson both scored 14 points for Kansas State as the Wildcats knocked off No. 21 Gonzaga 72-62 in Manhattan, KS, on Saturday afternoon.
Bruce Weber’s club held Kevin Pangos to 4-for-11 shooting on the night, as he finished with just 12 points and six assists. Sam Dower went down with a hip injury late in the first half, and Kansas State was able to take advantage of the lack of size in the paint for Gonzaga.
This was a win that Kansas State desperately needed, and they played one of their most complete games of the year in the process. They lost to Northern Colorado to kick off the season. They were beaten by Charlotte and drubbed by Georgetown in Puerto Rico, but much of that can be forgiven if K-State can pick up some big wins in Big 12 play.
And thanks to Saturday’s win, they now have something of substance in the non-conference.
The bigger story coming out of this game, however, may end up being the Zags.
This is not a team with a lot of size inside, and that’s before Dower left Saturday’s game. They also happen to be as bad defensively as any “good” team in the country. Pangos and Gary Bell are awesome, and Gonzaga has a slew of big and/or athletic wings. They’re going to be able to score a lot of point and hit a lot of threes.
But will they be able to get enough stops?
The other concern is that Mark Few’s club could have a tough time building a resume strong enough to deserve an at-large bid.
Gonzaga will kick off WCC play next week, and to date, the Zags have not done much worthy of earning an at-large bid into the tournament. Beating Colorado State and Washington State are nice wins, but they won’t be noteworthy in March. That win at West Virginia is solid but it’s not going to make their resume. Thanks to an opening round loss to Dayton in the Maui Invitational, Gonzaga only played Chaminade and Arkansas instead of Baylor and Syracuse or Cal.
BYU is struggling. St. Mary’s is undefeated but without a noteworthy win. Gonzaga has one more opportunity to take on an elite team in the non-conference, a trip to Memphis in February.
Could the WCC end up being a one-bid league this season?
If the Big Three end up beating up on each other, it very well could be.