Kansas State men’s basketball hosted Oral Roberts at home in Bramlage Coliseum where they won, 77-68. The Wildcats are now 6-1.
Junior Dean Wade led the Wildcats with a new career high of 25 points and 11 rebounds. Wade managed to get a double-double during this game and put his foot forward to carry the Wildcats. Getting a slow game for the Wildcats up to his speed, Wade scored 10 points in the first half and 15 in the second. Following Wade was junior Kamau Stokes with 12 points and six rebounds, and sophomore Xavier Sneed with eight points and four rebounds.
For the Golden Eagles, sophomore Javan White led with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Golden Eagles had rather low scoring leaders. Senior Albert Owens and junior Jontray Harris were tied at five points, as well as five rebounds.
The defense slipped up a couple times and were not as tight as they needed to be. In preparation of the Wildcats’ next game at Vanderbilt on Sunday, Wade said the team needs to tighten up “everything” in order to be ready for the game.
Before Oral Roberts faced the Wildcats, they also went up against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, another Big 12 team. In that game, Oral Roberts lost to the Cowboys 91-48 on Nov. 16. With a 43-point difference, it was clear the Wildcats need to fix a couple things before the begin conference play next month.
Immediately after the game, head coach Bruce Weber talked about what the Wildcats need to fix before taking on other teams.
“We have to be better obviously,” Weber said. “We have been pretty good up to this point of coming ready to play, but tonight it slipped a little bit, and hopefully it is a learning lesson. We got to go against zone, figure some things out and you have tape to watch.”
Weber also commented on the team’s perfomance that night as a whole.
“We didn’t play well; I could tell you we did, and you’d think I’m crazy,” Weber said.
Weber continued on what the Wildcats need to fix, while being very critical of the defense.
“We took a step back, especially in the first half,” Weber said. “They beat us with dribbles. On the scouting report, we talked about post trapping the big guy and not letting him go to his right shoulder. We just were not there and were not in sync. I thought we had two good practices coming back on Sunday and Monday. It was very physical and feisty. We made some strides there, but we just did not come mentally engaged like we needed to, especially on the defensive end. You go on the road, it does not matter what sport you play, if you do not play good defense on the road, you do not have a chance to win.”
Apart from defense, the Wildcats also racked up 20 fouls during the game. Sophomore Makol Mawien led with four fouls, followed by graduate Mawdo Sallah, freshman Cartier Diarra and junior Amaad Wainright tied up at three fouls each.
“To me, that’s the most disappointing thing, 20 fouls,” Weber said. “Arizona State, I know we had a lot of fouls, but this is totally different.”
Stokes talked about the win during the press conference, but it was clear the team was not happy with their performance.
“A win is a win, but we’re definitely not happy with the win,” Stokes said.
On whether or not the Wildcats play tonight was a good indicator of Big 12 play, Wade had no hesitation saying it wouldn’t cut it in the Big 12 between the fouls and weaknesses on the team.
After coming back from Las Vegas, the Wildcats showed what they need to work on in order to be successful. Maybe it’s the Vegas blues, but in order to be a top contender in the Big 12, K-State needs to pick it up a notch and get ready to take on strong teams.
The team has the potential to be great, but in order to be great, they need to work hard to not foul and become a tighter, well-communicated team. There are standout players, there is room for improvement, there is time to make it happen. It comes down to whether or not they will make it happen.
The Wildcats will travel to Nashville where they will take on Vanderbilt University on Sunday, Dec. 3. The game is set for tipoff at 1:30.