K-State struggles in exhibition win over Washburn

(Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

K-State’s men’s basketball team had a multitude of issues, and a few reasons for optimism, in a 66-56 exhibition win over Washburn Wednesday night in Bramlage Coliseum.

A positive for K-State was the play of its newcomers, led by freshman forward Montavious Murphy’s 11 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes of play.

Murphy looked long and athletic on defense and moved well under the basket. He was at his best when paired with senior forward Makol Mawien.

“[Murphy] played extremely hard,” Mawien said. “He went out there and played his ass off.”

Mawien led the team with 16 points and nine rebounds. He played 31 of the 40 minutes. He also had six of K-State’s 21 turnovers, the most of any player.

In contrast to last week’s exhibition against Emporia State, where K-State outscored ESU 86-49 and only turned the ball 11 times, K-State really struggled to keep ahold of the ball.

“We had no rhythm, they were packing it in, we didn’t move the basketball,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “It wasn’t pretty, it was disappointing, but hopefully a learning opportunity for our guys.”

K-State also struggled to prevent Washburn from scoring from outside. They shot 31 percent from three-point range.

Part of that was just Washburn’s strategy and playing to their strengths, but part of it was also defensive effort from K-State

“They played small, they penetrated and kicked,” Weber said. “We didn’t adjust a little bit, we needed to do a better job. They kind of got us flying around by kicking it and swinging it and shooting those threes.”

The Ichabods’ 14 made threes was a tie for the most by an opponent in an exhibition game and the 45 attempted three pointers were the most by an opponent in an exhibition game in K-State history.

In general, K-State just struggled to put away the hot-shooting Ichabods until midway through the second half when the Wildcats’ talent overmatched them.

“Those guys did a good job of scouting,” senior forward Xavier Sneed said. “They’ve got coaches that have been in the Big 12, coaches that have been around the block.”

Sneed, who should be K-State’s go-to-guy this year, had a solid ten points and nine rebounds of his own.

They generally lacked motion on offense at times and had a hard time getting the ball into the hands of someone who could create offense on their own.

The win over Washburn concludes K-State’s exhibition stretch. Their next game, Tuesday night at Bramlage Coliseum against North Dakota State, will be the Wildcats’ first actual game of the year. It will tip off at 7 pm on ESPN+.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.