MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas State will return to the Sprint Center this upcoming season when the Wildcats play host to Pac-12 foe Washington State in the Wildcat Classic on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.
K-State has played at least one game at the Sprint Center in 10 consecutive seasons, including seven matchups in the Wildcat Classic dating back to 2007. The Wildcats are 6-1 all-time in Wildcat Classic games.
“We always want to have a (non-conference) game in Kansas City at the Sprint Center,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “It’s not only a great opportunity to play in the same arena as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, but it’s also a terrific, world-class venue for our players which I know our tremendous fan base with pack with purple once again.”
The two-game agreement calls for a return contest at the Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 20, 2017.
Tickets for the Wildcat Classic will be available first to men’s basketball season ticket holders and Ahearn Fund members and can be purchased through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office by calling (800) 221.CATS or online at http://www.kstatesports.com/tickets when 2016-17 season tickets go on sale Wednesday, June 8. General public tickets will go on sale through the Sprint Center, http://www.axs.com, and the K-State Ticket Office on Monday, Sept. 12.
Tickets are priced at $150 for courtside, $50 for lower-level sides, $30 for lower-level ends and corners, $20 for upper-level sides and $10 for upper-level ends. Season ticket holders who order tickets by Sept. 1 can receive lower-level side tickets for $40, lower-level ends and corners for $20 and upper-level sides for $15.
Groups of 12 or more can purchase tickets for $15 each in the lower-level end behind the baskets and upper level sidelines and $7 each behind the baskets in the upper level.
An allotment of $10 student tickets will be available to K-State students through the ticket office in the fall.
Fans have packed the Sprint Center with purple for its seven previous Wildcat Classic games, including an average of more than 15,000 for its last four contests against UNLV, Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M. Overall, this will be the 26th contest in the building, which includes the annual Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship (2008-16), the CBE Hall of Fame Classic (2010, 2015) and the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
The game will mark the seventh meeting between the schools and the first at a neutral site. K-State holds a 4-2 edge in a series that dates back to 1941 with wins in three of the last four meetings since 2004. The Wildcats swept a home-and-home series in 2009 and 2010, earning an 86-69 win at home before a 63-58 victory in Pullman.
The Wildcats will return a veteran roster in 2016-17 with nine returning lettermen and six players returning with starting experience, highlighted by All-Big 12 Third Team selection Wesley Iwundu and All-Newcomer honorees Barry Brown and Dean Wade. Overall, the squad returns five of their top six scorers from last season, along with nearly 70 percent of their rebounding, assist, steal and minute totals. Iwundu (11.9 ppg., 4.5 rpg.) is the team’s top returner in scoring, assists and steals, while rising senior D.J. Johnson (9.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) is the leader among three returning players (along with Iwundu and Wade) who averaged better than 4 rebounds per contest a season ago.
The squad will also be boosted by the return of a healthy Kamau Stokes, who started 20 of the first 21 games before a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year, as well as the continued development of redshirt freshmen Isaiah Maurice and Dante Williams, who measure at 6-foot-10 and 7-foot, respectively.
Led by third-year head coach Ernie Kent, Washington State is set to return seven lettermen and three starters in 2016-17 from a team that posted a 9-22 overall record. Among the lettermen returning for the Cougars include senior forward and honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection Josh Hawkinson (15.4 ppg., 11.1 rpg.) and fellow rising senior guards Ike Iroegbu (12.7 ppg., 3.6 apg.) and Charles Callison (7.9 ppg., 3.0 apg.).
A full non-conference slate, as well as 2016-17 season ticket plan details, will be released in the coming weeks.