Kansas State is gearing up to host No. 1 Kansas, the first game between the schools since one of the worst brawls in recent college basketball history broke out in their previous matchup last month.
While tensions could be be running high at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, officials and coaches are ready this time around.
“Everybody knows that was not a good thing and it should never happen in our game and it should never happen again between these institutions,” Kansas State executive associate athletic director Casey Scott said, via ESPN.
The massive brawl at Allen Fieldhouse
Then-No. 3 Kansas was simply dribbling out the clock at the end of their 81-60 blowout win over Kansas State last month at Allen Fieldhouse, ready to pick up the easy rivalry win.
Things, though, went downhill fast.
Kansas State’s DaJuan Gordon came up with a steal with just seconds left in the game and broke down the court in an effort to put up one last layup. Kansas’ Silvio De Sousa then sprinted down the floor behind him and came up with a massive block, which sent Gordon sprawling to the court under the rim.
De Sousa stood over Gordon briefly after the block, which sparked the worst brawl of the season.
Almost instantly, both teams swarmed the scene on the baseline. The fight quickly spilled out into the crowd and media section underneath the hoop as several punches were thrown. De Sousa even picked up a chair at one point, though it was taken from him before he could do anything with it.
Finally, after several arena staff, coaches, police officers and even cheerleaders stepped in, the incident was over.
K-State and KU just got into a FULL BLOWN BRAWL 😳pic.twitter.com/YjyDeNVC8D
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) January 22, 2020
De Sousa is currently serving a 12-game suspension as a result of that fight, and teammate David McCormack was suspended for two games. Kansas State’s James Love was suspended for eight games, and teammate Antonio Gordon was suspended for three.
“I know that we were in the wrong,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after the game. “I’m not saying that both parties weren’t in the wrong, but I know that we were in the wrong … That was an embarrassment on our part for the role that we played in it.”
Schools taking extra precautions
Officials are ready to go for Saturday’s rematch between the two schools in Manhattan.
According to ESPN, police will have an increased presence both at the game and in popular gathering spots around the arena and on campus throughout the day.
“It’s about the safety of everybody coming to the game,” Kansas State public information officer Lt. Bradli Millington said, via ESPN. “It’s all-inclusive. We’re trying to keep everybody safe.
“We don’t want to be in the highlights again. If anything, we’ll try to get more personnel on the court.”
In reality, No. 1 Kansas shouldn’t have any issue with the Wildcats on Saturday. Kansas State has lost eight straight games headed into the matchup, and is still without a win in February. The Wildcats are fresh off a 19-point loss to No. 2 Baylor on Tuesday, too, and are still fighting for win No. 10 on the year while sitting at the bottom of the Big 12 standings.
Yet should they pull off the upset win, emotions will undoubtedly be running high — which could result in a similar situation to their upset win against Kansas in 2015, where Self found himself stuck in a court storm.
"It's embarrassing," Scott, via ESPN. "I don't think there's an event manager like myself that doesn't take pride in their operation and how we treat the visiting team and the officials and the fans and trying to put on a great show. I felt, in 2015, in that situation that we let our university down and we embarrassed the athletic department because it made national news for the wrong reasons."
Both Self and Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said they’ll address their teams ahead of the game, too.
Hopefully, they said, the game will go off without a hitch.
“You can’t do anything about [the brawl last time],” Weber said, via ESPN. “You just hope they play the right way on Saturday. I hope they’ll be shaking hands after the game.”
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