Kaleb Hammeke added 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals for Fort Hays State, which played the game as an exhibition and without coach Mark Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19, and associate head coach Jeremy Brown, who is in quarantine as a close contact.
Behind second-year assistant Todd Johnston, 29, the Tigers never trailed and led by 21, 71-50, after Hemmeke hit a 3-pointer with 7:07 to play.
“This was very, very disappointing and sad for our program,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Fort Hays State — a school of 15,908 students in Hays, Kansas — became the first non-Division I program to beat a major-conference team on the road since Texas A&M Corpus Christi topped Texas Tech in Lubbock on Dec. 18, 2000.
The game came on the 83rd anniversary of the first-ever meeting between the Tigers and Wildcats. Fort Hays State won that 1936 game 47-25, and the Tigers won again in 1938. The next three regular-season contests were won by Kansas State in 1946, 1947 and 2009.
Mike McGuirl led Kansas State (1-4) with 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including four 3-pointers, but his teammates went 0-15 behind the arc and 14 of 15 overall. The Wildcats also were outrebounded 34-26 and outscored in the paint 36-30.
Fort Hays’ lead went from seven to 13 points in the second half, then a 9-0 run at the midpoint made it 68-49 with 9:03 to go.
Fort Hays has nine 20-win seasons and seven trips to the NCAA Division II tournament in Johnson’s 19 seasons. The Tigers lost their first three games this season by a total of eight points.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.