Men’s basketball will need energy, emotion at full force going forward

The team laughs as teammate Makol Mawien shoots a free throw after an offensive foul was called on Lehigh. The Wildcats defeated the Mountain Hawks 77-58 on November 24, 2018 in Bramlage Coliseum. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The No. 12 Kansas State Wildcats have defended their top-15 preseason ranking so far this season as they are 6-0. They have done what they are supposed to do to sustain that high ranking by winning all their games.

However, how they have won most of their games has not made the Wildcats look like the No.12 team in the country.

In all three of the Wildcats home games against opponents Kennesaw State, Denver and Lehigh, they did not play with full energy and emotion from the opening tip.

They defeated Kennesaw State by 15 thanks to a strong second half, as they went into halftime with just a four-point lead.

Then, thanks to senior guard Barry Brown Jr. scoring 25 points, they survived Denver 64-56. After scoring 25 points, Brown told K-State sports that “I wasn’t feeling the energy” and that he wanted to “bring it.”

The Wildcats seemed to find their groove in the Paradise Jam as they defeated Eastern Kentucky, Penn and Missouri by at least 15 points.

Now for the first time this season, the Wildcats will be playing an opponent in the opponent’s home arena as they travel to Marquette on Saturday and to Tulsa the following Saturday.

Against Lehigh, the Wildcats didn’t bring the energy and emotion they needed until the second half, as they went into halftime with just a two-point lead on the Mountain Hawks.

Head coach Bruce Weber said in the post-game press conference that his team played with more energy and emotion in the second half. Lehigh is a NCAA Tournament caliber team that you have got to be ready to play, he said.

“You’ve got to bring it,” Weber said. “When you get rated in the top 20, these other teams are geared ready to play. They [Leigh] came out and were going at us. We probably weren’t ready for it.”

As the Wildcats head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to take on Marquette, they will need to come ready to play and bring the energy that came out of the locker room with for the second half against Lehigh from the opening tip. The Golden Eagles (5-2) are a good team, they recently pummeled Charleston Southern 76-55.

Marquette has proven they are a good team this season as they have competed against good teams this year. They beat Louisville 77-74 as well as led No. 2 Kansas 47-38 at halftime.

The Golden Eagles will be K-State’s toughest test of the season so far. Marquette showed they were ready to play Kansas. On their home court, they will be ready for No. 12 K-State.

“It’s a big game for us,” Weber said after the Lehigh game. “We will see what we’re about.”