Kansas State men’s basketball begins its 2023-24 season 1-0 at home. The Wildcats took down Bellarmine 83-75 with four players scoring in double figures.
Guard Cam Carter brought energy early and often in the first half. The junior collected three early steals and finished the half with 15 of his 17 total points, featuring a highlight worthy dunk.
(Elizabeth Sandstrom | Collegian Media Group)
“It was good,” Tang said about Carter’s first half performance. “I don’t think he was pleased with the way he played in the USC game. He was a little more locked in defensively and now we just got to get him to be able to do that for 30 minutes a game rather than, you know, the 12 he played in the first half.”
Freshman guard Dai Dai Ames also stamped his impact on the first half of his first official home game for K-State. Ames sent three 3s in to score 11 points and a highlight play with a dish to fellow freshman, forward R.J. Jones for a 3-pointer.
“It was real fun,” Ames said about his debut. “Being engaged with the crowd, the crowd getting loud when I hit a 3. I was really excited.”
Despite some small spurts from Bellarmine, the Wildcats concluded the half with a 46-31 lead as they dominated the boards, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds.
A quick 7-0 Bellarmine run near the first half brought the 14-point lead down to 50-42. Guard Tylor Perry ended the run, allowing a defender to fly by him on the corner before knocking down a 3-pointer.
“We had a couple different instances where, you know, a couple different players got going, made plays to get us back going, and it just happened to be my turn at that time,” Perry said. “I think that’s just what this team is about is that any point, any moment, we got so many pieces and so many weapons, anybody can make a play at any time.”
From then on, the Wildcats held a firm lead while the Knights continued to slightly chip away throughout the half but never fully caught up.
Carter again sprang into the highlight reel with a crowd-pleasing dunk. This time, coming from an alley-oop pass from Perry.
Perry finished the night with 18 points as Ames and forward Arthur Kaluma also joined Carter with double figure points. The team ended the game 38.7% from the 3-point line and won the rebounding battle 38-32.
“It’s not necessary about the number, it’s just the quality of shots,” Tang said about shooting 31 3-pointers. “In the second half, I think in the first media [timeout], we had taken seven shots and six of them were 3s, and none of them were a paint touch. And so those are things we have to stay away from, and it’s the kind of shots we’re getting rather than whether it’s a 3 or 2.”
K-State stays at home once more before its trip to the Bahamas with a 7 p.m. tipoff against South Dakota State on Monday.