ANALYSIS: Rough shooting performance seals K-State’s fate against Marquette

Redshirt junior guard Cartier Diarra scans the court as he charges the basket during the men's basketball game against Marquette on Dec. 7, 2019. The Wildcats lost 63-75 in Bramlage Coliseum. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

The Marquette Golden Eagles came into a loud Bramlage Coliseum Saturday night and overtook the Wildcats with a final score of 73-65.

The game came with a slow start for Kansas State and another consistent first half performance from Marquette senior guard Markus Howard, who led the Golden Eagles with 19 points on the night.

In the first half alone, Marquette connected seven three-pointers, shooting 64 percent from beyond the arc and 45 percent from the field. Meanwhile, K-State shot a measly 27 percent from the three and 26 percent from the field.

“You gotta finish twos, your 9-34 in the first half from two,” head coach Bruce Weber said, when explaining his team’s poor shooting performance.

Howard had a cool 10 points in the first half. His playing time was limited to 28 minutes due to substitutions in and out of the game — he exited and re-entered three times following fouls.

Teammates redshirt sophomore guard Greg Elliott and junior forward Jamal Cain dealt damage against K-State from beyond the arc as well. They each scored 9 points from three-pointers.

“Their bench stepped up,” Weber said. “You got, you know, Cain comes in and goes 3-4 … and Elliott is 3-3 [from beyond the arc], so that is pretty productive.”

K-State’s redshirt junior guard Cartier Diarra tried to keep the contest close and led the Wildcats with seven points and two rebounds in the first half.

The Wildcats went into halftime down 26-39.

Freshman guard DaJuan Gordon was one of the first players off the bench in the first half, but finished the half with zero points. He turned things around after the intermission with 10 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Gordon said snagging the rebounds was key to his performance.

The Wildcats erased Marquette’s first half deficit, and was one point in reach of tying the game, but Elliott and Cain’s outstanding play was too much for K-State’s defense.

The pair combined for only 26 points, but they lit it up from three going 6-of-7.

Diarra stuffed the stat sheet for the Wildcats, leading his team in points (14), rebounds (8) and assists (5). However, he said he could have done better.

“I felt like my assists could have been a lot better this game, should have passed a little bit more, felt like those shots could have been better,” Diarra said.

Diarra, Gordon and senior forwards Makol Mawien and Xavier Sneed finished the night in double figures.

With a loss behind them, the Cats face off with Alabama State in a must-win game at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Bramlage. Tune into ESPN+ to catch the action.