Holidays, traveling and injuries have all played a factor since the last time the No. 25 K-State Wildcats took to the court against then No. 8 Florida in Kansas City, MO.
The Wildcats were back in action against the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos on Saturday night at Bramlage Coliseum. Despite shooting only 32 percent from the field and 51 percent from the free throw line. the Wildcats were able to hold on for a victory, winning 52-44.
“Obviously not the prettiest game you’ve ever seen,” said K-State head coach Bruce Weber. “Since the Florida game, probably everything that could go wrong probably went wrong.”
Storms around the country as well as the debacle that is holiday season traveling, had players returning to Manhattan later than scheduled, including sophomore guard Angel Rodriguez who did not return to Manhattan until the night before the game.
“We had guys sitting in airports for two days,” said Weber. “We missed one of our full practices the second day. We were supposed to go twice and we barely got everybody here except for Angel.”
According to Weber, there was an emphasis on not looking past both UMKC and the University of South Dakota, who the Wildcats will take on Monday before opening up Big 12 play against No. 22 Oklahoma State on January 5th.
Both Rodriguez and fellow senior guard Martavious Irving were both sidelined with injuries and were not able to play.
“It’s not an excuse,” said senior guard Rodney McGruder. “Coach always talked about situations like this, what if guys can’t play, and so we prepare for situations like this. We could have played better than we did.”
McGruder led the Wildcats on the night, finishing with 17 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes. Sophomore forward Nino Williams had a big night as well for the Wildcats, finishing with eight points, and a team high 13 rebounds.
“I just was playing hard, I usually don’t get as many defensive rebounds, but I was boxing out so I got more defensive rebounds and I tried to crash the offensive boards,” said Williams.
The two teams were able to set a new record on the night. The combined scoring total of 92 points between the Wildcats and the Kangaroos is the fewest combined point total in the shot-clock era at K-State.
K-State will be back in action on Monday to wrap up their non-conference schedule when they take on South Dakota in Bramlage Coliseum.