Wildcats look forward to Sprint Center matchup

Sophomore forward Dean Wade assists a shot on the basket during the K-State game against Washburn in Bramlage Coliseum on Nov. 4, 2016. (File Photo by Nathan Jones | The Collegian)

The Kansas State men’s basketball team plays Washington State Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri, in the Sprint Center. K-State players hope to be playing more meaningful games in March in arenas just like it.

“It’s definitely a reminder,” sophomore guard Kamau Stokes said. “We want to get to that point later on in the season where we’re playing in bigger venues and get the opportunity to do that. So it’s definitely something to look forward to.”

Besides getting experience in a NCAA Tournament venue, the Wildcats are excited to play in front of their fans in a different setting.

“It brings out a different fan base that we have in Kansas City,” senior forward Wesley Iwundu said. “So it’s always exciting playing there, playing in front of some new people.”

K-State is coming off of an ugly win over Prairie View A&M Tuesday night. The Wildcats won the game 74-55, but it was not pretty. They were actually losing a few minutes before halftime but pulled away thanks to some great 3-point shooting and the play of sophomore forward Dean Wade.

After the game, Wade said he has been focusing more on rebounding and playing hard rather than scoring and it has payed off. Wade scored 19 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. It was the most aggressive he has looked all season, and he will try to keep it rolling against a Washington State team that has some size.

Washington State (5-4), like K-State, has played a fairly easy schedule but have not faired quite as well. The Cougars played one top-25 team in Creighton, but lost that game 103-77.

The Cougars are led by a couple of big men. Six-foot-10-inch senior forward Josh Hawkinson is a force down low. The big man averages a double-double, 15.9 points and 11.6 rebounds a game. Senior Conor Clifford will also be a challenge for the Wildcats, the 7-foot, 260-pound center averages 9.9 points and 3.3 rebounds a game.

The Wildcats and Cougars will tip off at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Sprint Center. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Kansas City.

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