The new era of Kansas State basketball started with a thud Wednesday as the Wildcats fell 80-70 at home to Drake on the first day of the 2020-21 college basketball season. It was K-State's first season-opening loss since 2013.
Drake used a balanced scoresheet, led by Garrett Sturtz with 15 points. Sturtz also grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. He was joined in double-figures by Tremell Murphy with 12 points and Shanquan Hemphill with 10.
Mike McGuirl, the lone senior on the Kansas State roster and the only player remaining from the Wildcats' 2018-19 Big 12 co-championship team, led the home team with 22 points. DaJuan Gordon added 15 points for the Wildcats.
Kansas State, which hoped to put their worst season in 20 years behind them with a fast start, was hurt by 14 turnovers. Drake held a 19-8 advantage on points off turnovers.
K-State outscored Drake 11-2 to start the second half to take a 47-40 lead five minutes into the half, but Drake scored six consecutive points to draw within one. The game went back and forth before the tie at 55-all with 7:41 remaining.
At that point, Hemphill scored on a dunk to give the Bulldogs the lead, they quickly built it to five points, and led the rest of the way.
Kansas State (0-1) is trying to rebound from a 11-21 record, and are predicted to finish last in the Big 12.
Drake (1-0) finished strong last year, ending the season at 20-14. They're picked for the middle of the Missouri Valley.
Drake took a 38-36 lead into halftime after Murphy threw down an alley-oop from Roman Penn just before the horn sounded. The Bulldogs led most of the first half, with their largest lead coming at 32-25.
--Field Level Media