Cats struggle early, pull away late in game


K-State certainly had its fair share of struggles Wednesday night, but when push came to shove, the Wildcats’ talent prevailed over a feisty Emporia State squad 82-60 in front of 8,083 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
    Sophomore guard Fred Brown ignited the Wildcats in the first half, scoring 11 of his team-high 14 points in a three-minute span to give K-State a 33-18 lead.
    “Offensively, when you call his number, he gets open,” coach Frank Martin said.
    But Emporia State (1-1) responded, using a 9-0 run to go into the locker room only down 40-34 at halftime.
    K-State (3-0) struggled to score early on, missing several shots close to the basket.
    “We missed a bunch of easy shots, and when you continue to miss shots from one or two feet, it breaks your spirit,” Martin said.
    Martin said Emporia State’s system was a different look than K-State was used to and led to the early struggles in the game.
    “We got caught in quick sand playing against a basketball team that runs a style of offense that we have not faced this year,” Martin said. “We do not play like that in practice — the offense that they run. It is important that we play different styles.”
    Just when it appeared K-State was starting to take control of the game, Emporia State answered.
    Trailing 56-42, the Hornets went on a 7-0 run to close the K-State lead to 56-49 on a jumper by Emporia State guard Dustin Andrews.
    But the Wildcats responded with a 26-7 run to increase their lead to 82-56 — and never looked back.
    Sophomore forward Ron Anderson said some of the early struggles were due to players being overly excited.
    “I think we had a couple of mental lapses,” said Anderson, who had his first double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “We knew what we had to do. We didn’t go out and execute as well as we planned so coach told us to pick it up, and I think in the second half we did so.”
    K-State, which came into the game struggling from the free throw line, made only 41.7 percent of its attempts on the evening.
    Dominique Sutton scored 14 points and freshman forward Jamar Samuels scored 11 to join both Anderson and Brown in double figures.
    The Wildcats will head north for their first road game of the season as they take on a tough Cleveland State squad in Ohio Saturday night at 6 p.m.