A few years from now, fans across the Big 12 may look back to West Virginia's 85-80 double overtime victory over Kansas State on Thursday night as the beginning of one of the conference's better basketball rivalries.
They will remember it as a fun nonconference night at Intrust Bank Arena, too.
But it will take some time before the Wildcats and their fans move on from the disappointment of this loss. K-State came up just short in 50 minutes.
The result spoiled what was otherwise a successful first trip to Intrust Bank Arena for the Wildcats. A sellout crowd of 15,004 packed the place in support of K-State, and the Wildcats fed off their energy.
Still, K-State's defense had trouble stopping the Mountaineers late in the game.
"We were pathetic on defense in the second half," K-State coach Frank Martin said. "We were just bad. All we did was foul. The physical nature of the game got us undisciplined."
K-State hasn't decided when, or how often, to return to Wichita in the future. But everyone involved with the program seemed to enjoy the experience until West Virginia's Kevin Jones, who scored a game-high 30 points, hit a hook shot with less than 30 seconds remaining in double overtime to put the Mountaineers ahead for good.
The Wildcats had two good chances of taking a lead and sending the game to overtime in the closing moments, but Rodney McGruder, who led K-State with 20 points, missed two three-point tries.
"Coach put me in position," McGruder said. "They just didn't fall today."
West Virginia, possibly as soon as next season, will begin playing K-State home and away every season when it joins the Big 12. Bob Huggins, who spent one season at K-State before leaving for West Virginia in 2007, being on the sideline made Thursday's game an appealing one for any audience. And both teams are familiar with each other.
As that familiarity intensifies, so should the rivalry.
"They're good," Huggins said of K-State. "They play very hard. We don't play against people who play as hard as they do."
West Virginia got an early jump on the series behind the play of Jones, 24 points from Darryl Bryant and 12 points from Deniz Kilicli.
Behind 16 points from Will Spradling, 15 points from Thomas Gipson and the steady play of McGruder, K-State fought them the whole way.
Coming into the season, Wildcat coach Frank Martin labeled both McGruder and Spradling as leaders and the most dependable players on the team. Along with senior Jamar Samuels, it was their responsibility to guide K-State during the early portions of its nonconference schedule.
So far, they have taken the Wildcats (5-1) to a good place. They have won four games at home, defeated Virginia Tech on the road and narrowly lost to West Virginia (5-2) away from home in front of a friendly crowd. Getting back-to-back victories over power-conference opponents would have made a statement.
K-State led West Virginia early 9-2, but went into halftime up 31-30. It then pulled ahead by as many as five in the early moments of the second half, but the game hung on every possession down the stretch.
With 22.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Gipson rebounded a miss from McGruder and made a layup to give K-State a 64-61 lead. But Jones forced overtime on the next possession by sinking a three-pointer from the corner.
"Toughness," Jones said afterward, "we knew that we were playing a really well coached team and tough team. We knew we had to match their intensity and toughness. I'm just proud of the way our young guys responded today."
The already pumped-up crowd reached new levels of enthusiasm, and Jones said it resembled a Big East road game, but there was much more in store.
The first overtime period was just as competitive as the first 40 minutes. Aaron Brown hit a three with 50.9 seconds remaining to give West Virginia some separation at 73-70, but K-State fought back with 10 points in less than a minute to force a second overtime.
McGruder, Gipson, Martavious Irving and Angel Rodriguez all made key plays inside against West Virginia's zone to keep the game going.
The second overtime was thrilling until the final few seconds. West Virginia opened the second extra period with a bucket from Brown, and both teams traded scores until Rodriguez tied things up at 80-80 with about two minutes remaining.
But then Jones made a nice hook shot, and West Virginia did enough on defense to hold on.
"We were not disciplined enough to make the plays with the game on the line," Martin said.
Both coaches exchanged emotional handshakes before and after the game. On the first of what will become many meetings, Huggins enjoyed them a little more than Martin.
His team won a memorable game.