MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Derrick Barden had 16 points and 17 rebounds as Northern Colorado stunned Kansas State 60-58 in Friday night's season opener.
The Bears only went 3-for-8 from the free throw line in the game's last 52 seconds, but an equally sour performance from the Wildcats gave them the edge.
The last opening loss for the Wildcats came Nov. 23, 2002 against BYU and it was the first season opening loss at home in nearly 20 years.
Having lost Rodney McGruder to graduation and Angel Rodriguez to a postseason transfer, the defending Big 12 regular season champions were in need of quick answers.
It was a rough start for the Wildcats as they went 1-for-6 from the free throw line through the first 1:32 of the contest.
The Wildcats built a 29-17 edge with 2:17 left in the first half, but a rebounding edge kept the Bears in it despite the double-digit deficit.
Free throw shooting was a struggle for the Wildcats as they finished 16-of-33 from the charity stripe. Kansas State was 2-of-19 from behind the 3-point line.
The Wildcats were also without the services of forward Thomas Gipson. After being kept out of the gym in last Friday night's exhibition win, he was in the building but didn't see the floor.
The Bears beat the Wildcats on the boards 49-40. The margin included 13 offensive rebounds for the Bears.
The Bears were picked to finish fourth in the preseason Big Sky rankings. All five starters returned from last season's 12-17 squad.
Wesley Iwundu's 10 points out-shadowed a porous shooting performance from Kansas State in the first half. The Wildcats shot 31 percent on 11-of-32 shooting from the field.
Former Kentucky guard Ed Davender, the only Wildcat with at least 1,500 points and 400 assists, has died. He was 49.
Guard Naz Mitrou-Long, whose 2015-16 season ended in December due to hip problems, has been granted a hardship waiver for the coming season, Iowa State said.
As the Sooners look to life without superstar Buddy Hield and his sidekicks, it's clear their unseasoned players will need to grow up fast.