In a game where K-State lacked height on the starting line against a big TCU lineup, the frontcourt players for the Wildcats stepped up and dominated in all facets. The Wildcats punished the first and second-string post players for the Horned Frogs.
The Wildcats dominated on the boards with 47 rebounds, 23 more rebounds than the Horned Frogs reeled in. The Wildcats 22-first half rebounds were just two-less than the Horned Frogs total of 24 for the game.
“[The Wildcats] were more physical,” Horned Frogs Junior guard Kyan Anderson said after the game. “It seemed like towards the end they wanted it more, they just made those plays. All lose balls and every second chance opportunities they got, they [converted].”
The front court players of K-State propelled the Wildcats to 15 second-chance points off of 18 offensive-rebounds. Junior forward Nino Williams led the team with four-offensive rebounds, converting into 11 points on the night.
“We just got worn down, their physicality, especially in the post, just wore us down,” Horned Frogs head coach Trent Johnson said after the game. “We couldn’t keep [the Wildcats] off of the glass. It’s not a matter of a lack of effort, it’s just a matter of them being deeper.”
A lot of issues for coach Johnson were caused by the foul trouble of his center Karviar Shepherd in the second half. Shepherd committed his third foul with 16:55 left in the game, which put the Horned Frogs in a bind without the size to combat the Wildcats.
The Wildcats were led in the paint by the experience of junior forward Thomas Gipson. Gipson had a double-double on the night to lead the Wildcats with both 16 points and 11 rebounds. Gipson used his size and tenacity to snag rebounds and out-hustle the Horned Frogs and help his team score 32 points in the paint. After tonight, Gipson averages 6.5 rebounds per game and 11.8 points per game.
“I challenged Thomas to get double-doubles the rest of the year, and hopefully he can buy into that,” Weber said.
Gipson answered his coach and focused on his rebounding through the game.
“I just played the part on my team and they challenged me to rebound,” Gibson said. “The points will come, that’s what I was focused on, rebounding. I will be focused on that for the rest of the season.”
Rebounding was huge when the Wildcats were facing a premier shooter of the likes of Anderson, who finished the night leading all scorers with 23 points. Anderson and his team went 17-47 from the field, giving many opportunities for rebounding, which the Wildcats capitalized on.
Weber and his team know how important – and potentially game changing -rebounding can be after learning from their performances like the Baylor game. Games can come down to who can get more opportunities and capitalize on the boards.
“[Rebounding] was huge, it probably has cost us when we have lost games,” Weber said. “They don’t have a lot of size especially when they have to go to the bench. It was a great effort by our guys to get Thomas to 11 [rebounds]; 18 offensive board is pretty big, it gives you a lot of possessions.”
Rebounding will remain a key for the Wildcats, as they next face Oklahoma, who is ranked fourth in the Big 12 in rebounding as a team, averaging 38.3 rebounds per game.