Wildcats face off against Rebels in unique cross-conference showdown

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Head coach Bruce Weber yells near the end of the first half of the Wildcats' 83-70 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Jan. 12, 2016, inside Bramlage Coliseum. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

K-State will take a detour off the bumpy Big 12 Interstate to take on the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday in Manhattan as a part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

The Wildcats are coming off a 70-55 loss in West Virginia to the Mountaineers on Tuesday night. K-State is 12-8 overall and 2-6 in Big 12 play.

Ole Miss and K-State met up in 2013 inside Bramlage Coliseum when the Wildcats squeaked out a 61-58 win, giving the Rebels their first loss of the season.

“We know this venue pretty well,” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said on Monday. “It will be a difficult challenge, but one that we are looking forward to.”

On the other end of the court is Ole Miss, who is 13-7 overall and 3-5 in conference play after Wednesday night’s win against Auburn. The Rebels lost their last four games before Auburn, all by single digits.

The player to watch for the Rebels is senior guard Stefan Moody, who is averaging over 24 points and 35 minutes per game. He sat out this past Saturday in a loss to Mississippi State due to a hamstring injury.

“The one positive of having to sit him out one game is we got to play other players,” Kennedy said. “Sunday was an off day, and he continued to progress with his rehab. He is day-to-day and I have him start practicing more and see how he does.”

The Wildcats will try and bounce back from one of their worst shooting performances of the year. K-State shot just .056 percent from the 3-point line on Tuesday night after shooting 60 percent from the field on Saturday at home against Oklahoma State.

“When you go 1 of 18 from the 3-point line, that doesn’t help your cause either,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “I think a lot of it was they had us rattled and going too fast. We were okay in our half-court defense, but at the end of the first half they had a big shot to get momentum. We kind of hung in there. We kept talking about having an ugly game and keeping it close to find a way to win, but (West Virginia) just made too many plays.”

Although this game won’t help or hurt the Wildcats in Big 12 play, it certainly could help K-State build their resume a bit more and get some confidence going into the second half of conference play.

The Wildcats and Rebels will tip off at 1 p.m. Saturday inside Bramlage Coliseum.

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