Wildcats win despite lack of enthusiasm, poor shooting

7 Feb

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Assistant coaches warned Frank Martin that the coming game might not be much fun.

The lack of enthusiasm that they detected early showed throughout the 65-46 victory over Texas Tech. The Wildcats walked away with the win despite allowing an 18-3 run late in the second half.

“It’s called immaturity,” Martin said. “Not respecting the fact that your senior teammates are down to eight opportunities. Not respecting the fact that your team is down to eight opportunities.”

Shane Southwell scored 13 and Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling each added 10 points as the Wildcats sent the Red Raiders packing for the second time this season.

Kansas State stormed out of halftime with a 14-3 run that increased its advantage to 45-20. The scoring contrasted sharply to a first half of miserably stale and off-the-mark offense for both teams.

For Texas Tech, the scoring drought dragged on. The Red Raiders would not score their first field goal of the second half until nearly 10 minutes had passed. In that time, they scored a total of 5 points.

At that point, the Wildcats led 47-22. The Red Raiders refused to throw in the towel, however. Slowly but surely, Texas Tech chipped away at the deficit.

Luke Adams hit the team’s first 3-pointer of the game to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 49-29 with under 8 minutes to play.

On the strength of several more long-range baskets from Adams, the Red Raiders reeled off an 18-3 run to cut the lead to 50-40 with just under 3 minutes to play.

From there, a volley of free throws ensued. Adrian Diaz widened the lead to 15 points as he rebounded his own miss on the back end of the one-and-one and slammed it home for one of the few memorable moments in the game.

The free throws continued, increasing the Wildcats’ lead and stretching out even longer what had been a painful game to watch.

That being said, the second half was magical compared to the previous 20 minutes.

Kansas State and Texas Tech each made just 6 field goals in the first half. The Red Raiders scored on just 30 percent of their shots from the floor, but that looked like the picture of competence next to the 23.1-percent shooting of the Wildcats.

After an agony of occasional back-and-forth scoring – and then a complete lack of scoring for over five minutes – Kansas State led 23-15 with just under 2 minutes to play in the first half.

A string of 8 free throws between Spradling, Southwell and Martavious Irving created more respectable distance and gave the Wildcats a 31-17 lead at halftime.

After the first 20 minutes, no player had scored in double figures.

“We got real stagnant in the first half,” Southwell said. “We weren’t moving, weren’t passing the ball, so we need to keep working on our spread offense.”

The Wildcats next face Texas in Austin on Saturday.

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