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Kansas State, Cal clash for first time since 2007

Sportsnaut
Mar 9, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; California Golden Bears forward Lars Thiemann (21) blocks out Washington State Cougars forward Andrej Jakimovski (23) during the second half at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

One coach will be looking for the first road victory of his head coaching career, while the other will be looking for his first win of the season Friday when Kansas State visits Cal in Berkeley, Calif.

It will be the first matchup between the two schools since December 2007.

The Golden Bears (0-1) lost their season opener to UC Davis, 75-65, on Monday. They led 60-54 midway through the second half but were outscored by the visitors, 21-5, down the stretch.

Devin Askew, who previously played at Kentucky and Texas, had a career-high 19 points with four assists and three rebounds in his Cal debut. Lars Thiemann also had a career-best 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“When we came back and took the lead, we had a couple awful possessions that led to baskets for (UC Davis), and we never recovered,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “I’m disappointed in how we defended in the second half. I thought offensively our inexperience really showed in the second half.”

The Golden Bears have four newcomers on the roster, including transfers Askew and DeJuan Clayton. Big man ND Okafor has impressed his coaches and teammates so far, as has fellow freshman Grant Newell.

Kansas State’s Jerome Tang, in his first season as a head coach, doesn’t have nearly as much experience returning.

His roster is made up of two holdovers from last year’s 14-17 squad, while the other 13 players are new to the Wildcats (1-0).

The biggest name among the newcomers is Keyontae Johnson, who was the SEC Preseason Player of the Year at Florida two seasons ago before collapsing on the court during a game in December 2020.

He made his return to the court in K-State’s season-opening 93-59 win over Texas-Rio Grande Valley on Monday. He scored 13 points as one of six Wildcats in double figures.

“I told the guys tonight, whether you felt you played well or didn’t play well or played a lot or didn’t play, nobody should be unhappy tonight because Keyontae Johnson played a basketball game, a real game, an NCAA basketball game for the first time in two years,” Tang said.

–Field Level Media