Bruce Weber’s basketball team far exceeded his expectations in last Friday’s 80-42 win over Emporia State.
“Oh, it was way better than I ever dreamed,” Weber said. “I told (Athletic Director John) Currie, if we lose, don’t be surprised. I mean, I had no idea. We had struggled in the scrimmages against our inner-squad between ourselves. They probably played better than we anticipated and maybe Emporia wasn’t as good as we thought … We’re just so unknown.”
The Wildcats will welcome another Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association opponent in Fort Hays State for their second and final exhibition game of the season.
Last week the Wildcats, led by junior forward Wesley Iwundu and senior guard Justin Edwards, threw up a solid overall effort, dominating Emporia State on both sides of the ball.
K-State put up 40 points in the first half for the first time since the first game of last season and held the Hornets to zero field goals in more than 13 minutes of game time.
Now that Weber has seen some good things out of his players, he said he wants to see these things repeated in their second time out on the court.
“Consistency,” Weber said. “Do it again. “The older guys, their numbers are good solid numbers. Now do it again. The younger guys, keep feeling more comfortable.”
Weber said freshman guard Barry Brown and freshman forward Dean Wade were both nervous, but they took big steps and now need to start feeling more comfortable.
This will be the first time since 2011 that the Wildcats and the Tigers have played, with K-State winning that bout 90-60.
Fort Hays looks to start three returners, including senior point guard Craig Nicholson, who led all returners in scoring last season with an average of 14.9 points per game.
Weber said he hopes his younger players will be up to the challenge of defending an experienced player who knows how to get baskets.
Fort Hays State has a really good, experienced player in Nicholson, Weber said, and it remains to be seen if the Wildcats will be able to control him like they did Emporia State point guard Terrance Moore.
After the Fort Hays game, the Wildcats’ season will officially start on Nov. 13 as they open the season at home with Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Tipoff between K-State and Fort Hays is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Bramlage Coliseum.