Wildcats ready to put Maryland behind them

Senior forward D.J. Johnson goes up for a shot during the K-State basketball game against the University of Nebraska-Omaha in Bramlage Coliseum on Nov. 15, 2016. (Miranda Snyder | The Collegian)

All game, they were within an earshot and late in the game, they were even ahead for a while. But when the clock hit zero, the Wildcats were the ones with another mark in the loss column.

This was the scene that unfolded far too many times a season ago. The same scenario played out for the first time this season in the Wildcats’ loss to Maryland Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.

“Yeah a little bit,” head coach Bruce Weber said about the game bringing back memories from last season. “I just tried to find a positive after the game. I said, ‘Hey last year we beat Georgia on the last play of the game and then we lost the next six or whatever (it was). This year we lost the first one; we’ll win the next six.’ … We’ve got to move forward.”

Senior forward D.J. Johnson said the Wildcats have put the tough loss behind them and they are ready for Green Bay.

“We watched film over it, we had a good practice yesterday, so I’d say it’s behind us,” Johnson said. “I know (it’s) hard to put that one behind you, especially when you’re that close, but that’s something we’re going to have to work on.”

The Wildcats (5-1) will look to keep their balanced attack going. Four out of the five K-State starters average more than 10 points a game. Five different Wildcats have led the team in scoring in their six games played.

Green Bay (3-3) has had an up-and-down season thus far. The Phoenix have won just three of their six games and have struggled compared to last year’s team, which made the NCAA Tournament. But they still may pose some problems for K-State with their up-tempo, pressuring style.

“They play a very high-paced style,” Weber said. “We’re gonna have to be on our horses right away. You make a basket, you’re going to have to get back because they’re coming; they’re going to take it right at you.”

The Phoenix are led by senior guard Charles Cooper. Cooper averages a little more than 13 points a game as well as 5.8 rebounds per game.

The Wildcats and Phoenix will tip off inside Bramlage Coliseum at 7 p.m.

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