K-State begins last week of regular season at Oklahoma State Wednesday

Wildcats

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 22: Head coach Bruce Weber of the Kansas State Wildcats reacts against the UC Irvine Anteaters in the first half during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at SAP Center on March 22, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

OPENING TIP

  • Kansas State (9-20, 2-14 Big 12) begins the last week of the regular season with a trip to Oklahoma State (15-14, 5-11 Big 12), as the Wildcats travel to Stillwater, Okla., take on the Cowboys at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Wednesday night. OSU won the first meeting, 64-59, in Manhattan on Feb. 11 to end a 4-game losing skid in the series and will be looking to sweep the regular-season series for the first time in the Big 12 round-robin era. The game will tip at 8:05 p.m., CT on ESPNU with Robert Ford (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) on the call.
  • K-State saw its losing streak hit 9 games on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats battled No. 1/1 Kansas for the entire 40 minutes before falling 62-58 at Bramlage Coliseum. Big 12 Player of the Year candidate Devon Dotson scored a game-high 25 points, including 5 in a pivotal 8-0 run late in the second half, to push the Jayhawks winning streak to 14 games. Trailing by as many as 9 points in the first half, K-State used a 21-9 run, sandwiched between the last 4 minutes of the first half and the first 4 minutes of the second half, to take a 43-39 advantage with 15 to play. However, with the score knotted at 48-all with 7:23 to play, Kansas scored 8 consecutive points out of the media timeout to take control and sweep the season series.
  • The loss was yet another disappointing one for the Wildcats, which has now lost 12 games by single digits (including 7 in Big 12 play) and 7 by 5 points or less. During the current 9-game skid, the team has lost 6 games by 10 points or less, including 5 by single digits. The 12 losses by single digits are the most in a single season since the 2002-03 team lost 13 games by single digits.
  • After losses to No. 2/2 Baylor (66-85) and No. 1/1 Kansas (58-62), K-State played the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in consecutive games for just the second time in school history and the first time since losing to No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Michigan at the 1964 Final Four at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. The Wildcats are just the fifth Division I team since 1996-97 to play the nation’s top two teams in the same week and the first since West Virginia in 2016.
  • During the 9-game losing streak, K-State has allowed opponents to average 70 points on 47.2 percent shooting, including 37.8 percent from 3-point range, and 73.5 percent from the free throw line, while averaging just 60.9 points on 40.4 percent shooting, including 29 percent from long range, and 64 percent from the free throw line. The team is averaging 10.2 assists on 21.0 made field goals with 14.2 turnovers per game, while opponents are averaging 14 assists on 22.9 made field goals with 15.4 turnovers per game. Senior Xavier Sneed is averaging 12.8 points during that span, but is connecting on just 32.1 percent (34-of-106) from the field, including 26 percent (13-of-50) from 3-point range.  
  • Injuries have been a big part of K-State’s season, as 4 players have combined to miss 53 games, which has caused coach Bruce Weber to use 9 starting lineups. The 9 lineups are the most since using 11 in 2014-15 with at least one true freshman starting in 26 of 29 games, including rookies DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy starting together 8 times, including in 7 of the last 11 games, and Antonio Gordon starting the games against Texas (2/22/20) and No. 1/1 Baylor (2/25/20). The last time a pair of freshmen started together in more than one game came when Barry Brown, Jr., and Dean Wade started the last 9 games of 2015-16.

NOTES ON OKLAHOMA STATE

  • Oklahoma State (15-14, 5-11 Big 12) has rebounded to win 5 of its last 8 games, including 4 in a row at home, after a stretch that included just 1 win in 9 games from Jan. 4 to Feb. 1. The Cowboys are coming off a 73-61 win over Iowa State on Saturday, in which, the team connected on 51.9 percent from the field, including 57.9 percent from inside the 3-point arc. Senior Cameron McGriff led three players in double figures with game-high 19 points, while fellow senior Thomas Dziagwa added 14 points. 
  • Oklahoma State is averaging 66.9 points on 41.5 percent shooting, including 30.9 percent from 3-point range, to go with 36.1 rebounds, 11.7 assists, 6.8 steals and 3.9 blocks per game, while allowing 66.3 points on 40.2 percent shooting, including 30.5 percent from 3-point range. The team is connecting on 73.6 percent from the free throw line.
  • The Cowboys are a balanced scoring team with 5 players averaging 8 or more points, including 3 double-digit scorers in seniors Cameron McGriff (11.9 ppg.) and Lindy Waters III (10.8 ppg.) and sophomore Isaac Likekele (10.4 ppg.). McGriff is connecting on 44.0 percent from the field to go with averages of 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 29.7 minutes per game. Likekele leads the team in assists (4.3 apg.), steals (1.8 spg.) and minutes (31.8 mpg.).
  • Reserve Thomas Dziagwa is first with 67 made 3-point field goals, while averaging 8.8 points per game, and sophomore Yor Anei is averaging 8.1 points on 48 percent shooting to go with 4.7 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 blocks per game. Anei scored a team-high 15 points in the first meeting.
  • Oklahoma State is led by third-year head coach Mike Boynton, who has posted a 48-49 (.495) record, which includes trip to the quarterfinals of the NIT in his first season in 2017-18.

SERIES HISTORY

  • K-State and Oklahoma State will meet for the 137th time in their histories with the Wildcats holding an 82-54 advantage in a series that dates back to 1922. The Cowboys are 33-27 all-time at home, including a 30-25 mark at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The last OSU win at home came on Feb. 13, 2016.
  • OSU snapped a 4-game losing streak in the series with a 64-59 win over K-State on Feb. 11 at Bramlage Coliseum, which was the longest such streak since winning 5 straight from 1986-88. Last season, the Wildcats earned a 75-57 win in Stillwater on Feb. 2, which was the team’s third straight victory. 
  • Current senior Xavier Sneed has averaged 9.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 7 career games (5 starts) against OSU, while junior Cartier Diarra is averaging 12.5 points on 50 percent shooting in 4 games (3 starts).
  • Head coach Bruce Weber is 11-6 all-time against Oklahoma State, including a 3-4 mark on the road, while he is 4-1 against head coach Mike Boynton. Boynton is 1-4 against K-State, including 0-2 at home.

ON THE ROAD

  • K-State has a 60-138 (.303) all-time record on the road since the start of Big 12 play in 1997. However, the Wildcats have been considerably better on the road since the 2006-07 season, having posted a 48-67 (.417) record away from home after going 10-70 (.125) from 1997-2006. The team is 32-54 (.372) under Bruce Weber on the road, including 25-44 (.362) in the Big 12.
  • K-State posted a 7-2 mark on the road in Big 12 play a season ago, which was the best mark by a Wildcat team since going 6-1 in 1975-76. This year, the team is 1-9 on the road, including 0-8 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats will attempt to avoid going winless on the road in Big 12 play for the first time since 2002-03 and the fifth time overall (1997, 2000, 2002 and 2003).

LAST TIME OUT: 1/1 KANSAS 62, K-STATE 58

  • Sophomore Devon Dotson scored a game-high 25 points, including 5 in a pivotal 8-0 run late in the second half, as No. 1/1 Kansas ran its winning streak to 14 games with a 62-58 win over K-State on Saturday afternoon before 9,003 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
  • With the score knotted at 48-all with 7:23 to play, the top-ranked Jayhawks scored 8 consecutive points out of the third media timeout, which started with a pair of free throws from Dotson. After freshman Christian Braun nailed the team’s only 3-pointer in the second half with just under 5 minutes to play, Dotson wrapped up the run with an old fashioned 3-point play for a 56-48 lead with 4:03 remaining.
  • K-State, which showed more fight and resilience against the nation’s No. 1 team than in its last 2 defeats, still had an opportunity with 27 seconds left, closing to within 60-57 after a 3-pointer from freshman DaJuan Gordon that capped a 9-4 run. However, after senior Isaiah Moss knocked down 2 free throws for a 62-57 lead, the Wildcats could not get a shot to fall in the waning seconds in the narrow 62-58 loss.
  • K-State had its opportunities throughout the game, rallying from a 9-point first half deficit on the strength of a 12-5 run to close to within 35-34 at the half. A layup by senior Makol Mawien gave the Wildcats just their second lead at 36-35 just 16 seconds into the second half, which was part of a 9-4 run out of halftime, that extended the lead to 43-39 at the 15:10 mark.  However, a layup by Moss and a 3-point play by Dotson gave the Jayhawks the lead again at 44-43 at the 13:16 mark. The two teams traded the lead over the next few possessions heading into the pivotal 8-0 run. 
  • Neither team shot particularly well for the contest especially in the second half. Kansas connected on 41.9 percent (18-of-43) from the field, including 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from 3-point range, while K-State hit on 39.6 percent (19-of-48), including 32 percent (8-of-25) from long range. The big difference came from the free throw line, where the Jayhawks made 22 of 31 attempts for 71 percent compared to the Wildcats’ 12 of 18 effort (66.7 percent).
  • Junior Cartier Diarra paced three Wildcats in double figures with 15 points on 5-of-11 field goals, including 2-of-8 from 3-point range, while Mawien and Xavier Sneed each added 13 points and 5 rebounds.

LEADING WITH DEFENSE

  • K-State has continued its reputation as a strong defensive team under head coach Bruce Weber, holding its 29 opponents to 65.4 points on 43.1 percent shooting (645-of-1495), including 33.8 percent (203-of-600) from 3-point range, while posting a Big 12-leading 8.6 steals and forcing the league’s second-most turnovers (16.2) per game.
  • K-State ranks among Top 25 in 3 defensive categories, including 18th in steals per game, 19th in total steals (248) and 24th in turnovers forced.
  • K-State has held 27 of its last 63 opponents to 60 points or less with just 11 eclipsing 70 (with 10 occurring in the last 30 games). The squad has held 95 opponents to 60 points or less in Bruce Weber’s tenure, boasting an 86-9 mark in those contests. The Wildcats are 7-1 this season when holding an opponent below 60 points, including their first 4 wins.
  • K-State had one of the top defensive teams in the country in 2018-19, holding opponents to 59.6 points on 41.5 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 14.8 turnovers per game and averaging 7.5 steals per game. The Wildcats ranked among the nation’s best in a number of defensive categories, including fourth in scoring defense, 16th in turnover margin (+3.5), 36th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 43rd in total steals (256) and 48th in steals per game. 
  • K-State had one of the top defensive teams in the country in 2018-19, holding opponents to 59.6 points on 41.5 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 14.8 turnovers per game and averaging 7.5 steals per game. The Wildcats ranked among the nation’s best in a number of defensive categories, including fourth in scoring defense, 16th in turnover margin (+3.5), 36th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 43rd in total steals (256) and 48th in steals per game. 
  • The 59.6 points per game average was the lowest opponent scoring average since the introduction of the shot clock in 1985-86, surpassing the 60.4 points per game average in 2012-13, while it was the sixth-lowest all-time and the lowest since the 1982-83 team allowed 58.4 points per game. Only eight other teams (1948-49, 1949-50, 1950-51, 1961-62, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83) allowed less than 60 points per game in school history.
  • K-State held foes to an average of 14.5 points under their average in 2018-19, including a 14.6 average in Big 12 play. Eleven opponents (6 Big 12 foes) were held to 20 or more points under their average, most notably Texas Tech (26.6), TCU (25.4 and 23.5), Iowa State (24.3) and OSU (21.8).
  • In Big 12 play, K-State allowed 59.6 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting, including 33.8 percent from 3-point range. It is the school’s lowest defensive scoring average in a Big 12 season and a tie for the ninth-best in a conference season and the lowest since 1961-62. The Wildcats held Big 12 opponents (Iowa State, TCU [twice], Texas Tech, Oklahoma State [twice], West Virginia, Baylor and Oklahoma) to 60 points or less on 9 occasions.

DEFICITS AND COMEBACKS

  • K-State has had to face early deficits in a number of games in 2020, but has found a way to rally from those deficits before losing down the stretch especially during its current 9-game losing streak. The Wildcats have lost 12 games by single digits, including 7 by 5 points or less.
  • K-State was down 7-0 to start vs. TCU (1/7/20) before slowing chipping away at the deficit to eventually take a 17-16 lead at the 8:19 mark of the first half and tying it at 23-all before the Horned Frogs scored 12 of the last 14 points. Down 49-42 with just over 7 to play, the Wildcats tied it at 57-all on David Sloan’s 3-pointer before losing on a tip-in. In the second meeting, the team got down 21-12 at TCU before rallying for a 27-26 halftime lead.
  • K-State trailed 9-2 to start against Texas (1/11/20) before again rallying to take an 18-16 lead with 6:40 before halftime. With the Wildcats leading 25-23 with 2:48 to play in the first half, the Longhorns would score 20 of the next 22 points to take 43-27 advantage with 13:11 remaining.
  • K-State allowed No. 23/23 Texas Tech to score the first 10 points of the game, but the resilient Wildcats responded with 7 in a row to close to within one possession before trailing 37-30 at the half. The team again fought back to take a 46-45 lead on a layup by junior Cartier Diarra to cap an 11-2 run with 13:24 to play. The Red Raiders responded with a 16-4 run over the next 6 minutes to take a 61-50 lead with just over 7 minutes remaining. 
  • Down by 16 points with just over 12 minutes to play, K-State closed to within one possession on multiple occasions, including 69-67 with 2:48 left, but Alabama held strong at the free throw line to post a 77-74 win on Jan. 25. A 3-pointer by from senior Xavier Sneed ignited an 18-3 run that closed the deficit to 62-61 on another 3-pointer from Diarra with 6:34 remaining.
  • Baylor jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half, as the Big 12’s top defense held K-State without a field goal for more than 7 minutes. However, a Sneed 3-pointer, the last of three consecutive triples, pulled the Wildcats to within one possession at 29-26 with 2:18 to play. Leading just 33-28 at the half, the Bears grabbed the momentum early in the second half, scoring 9 of the first 13 points to push the lead back into double figures at 42-32. After K-State responded with 5 straight to close to within 42-37, Baylor took control with a 14-4 run that extended the lead to 56-41 with 8:46 left.
  • Down by as many as 21 to Iowa State (2/8/20) in the first half, K-State rallied to within 4 points on two occasions down the stretch, including 52-48 after layup by Sloan that forced an ISU timeout with 7:54 to play. However, the Cyclones responded by scoring 7 of the next 10 points, including back-to-back buckets by senior Prentiss Nixon out of the timeout, to push the lead to 59-51 with just under 4 minutes remaining.
  • K-State was down by as many as 9 points in the first half against top-ranked Kansas on Saturday before using a 12-5 run to close to within 35-34 at the half. The Wildcats continued their momentum with a 9-4 run coming out of halftime that extended the lead to 43-39 with 15:10 to play. However, with the score knotted at 48-all with 7:23 remaining, the Jayhawks seized the final momentum with 8 straight points out of the third media timeout.

POINTS OFF TURNOVERS

  • K-State is once again using its defense to generate offense, as the Wildcats are forcing 16.2 turnovers per game, including a Big 12-best 8.6 steals per game, while averaging 17.1 points per game off those opponent turnovers. The team has scored 497 points off 471 opponent turnovers in 29 games.
  • K-State has scored 20 or more points off opponent turnovers 10 times this season, including a season-high 28 in the win over No. 12/13 West Virginia. The team has also scored 20 or more points off turnovers against Monmouth (21), UAPB (20), Pittsburgh (24) Bradley (22), Florida A&M (20), Alabama State (26), Texas (23), No. 23/23 Texas Tech (20) and Iowa State (23). The team has 19 points off turnovers in 4 other games, including vs. 1/1 Kansas.
  • K-State has forced 5 opponents into 20 or more turnovers, including a season-best 25 turnovers by UNLV (11/9/19) and Monmonth (11/13/19).
  • K-State has topped 200 or more steals (currently 248) for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons, including the seventh time in head coach Bruce Weber’s eight seasons (including the fifth consecutive season).
  • K-State has scored over 4,000 points (4,172) off turnovers during head coach Bruce Weber’s tenure, an average of 15.5 points per game. In 2018-19, the Wildcats averaged 17.4 points off turnovers, outscoring opponents, 590-362. The team posted 12 games of 20 or more points off turnovers.

2-POINTERS HAVE BEEN KEY

  • With its 3-point percentage nearly identical in wins (33.3; 69-of-207) as in losses (31.1; 128-of-411), K-State’s 2-point field goal percentage has been a key factor in its wins this season. On the year, the Wildcats are connecting on 47.4 percent (453-of-956) from inside the 3-point line. 
  • K-State is connecting on 45.8 percent (233-of-509) of its field goals in the 9 wins, including 54.3 percent (164-of-302) from inside the arc, while the team is hitting just 39.2 percent (417-of-1065) of their field goals in the 20 losses, including 44.2 percent (289-of-654) from inside the arc.
  • Senior Xavier Sneed is averaging a team-best 16.4 points on 48.6 percent (51-of-105) shooting, including 61.5 percent (32-of-52) from inside the arc, in the 9 wins, while he is averaging 12.8 points on 31.7 percent (74-of-233) shooting in the 20 losses, including 33.6 percent (43-of-128) from inside the arc. During the 9-game losing streak, he is averaging 12.8 points on just 32.1 percent (34-of-106), including 37.5 percent (21-of-56) from inside the arc.

SNEED LEADING THE WAY

  • Senior Xavier Sneed has led the Wildcats in scoring 12 times this season, averaging 14.0 points on 37 percent shooting (125-of-338), including 30.6 percent (52-of-170) from 3-point range. He has scored in double figures in a team-best 22 games (including 4 20-point games), while he has double-digit points in 15 of the last 19 games.
  • Sneed leads the team in nearly every offensive category, including scoring, field goals attempted, 3-point field goals made and attempted and free throw made (104) and attempted (154). He is also tops in defensive rebounds (111) and second in field goals (125), rebounding (4.7 rpg.) and steals (52).
  • With his first rebound against Marquette on Dec. 7, Sneed became the 13th player in school history with at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. He currently has 1,414 points in 134 career games to go with 595 rebounds. He joins a 1,000-point/500-rebound list that includes Wildcat legends Dick Knostman, Jack Parr, Bob Boozer, David Hall, Steve Mitchell, Rolando Blackman, Ed Nealy, Jamar Samuels, Rodney McGruder, Thomas Gipson, Wes Iwundu and Dean Wade.
  • Sneed, who just passed Chuckie Williams (1972-76) for 11th on the all-time scoring list with 1,414 points, needs 10 rebounds to crack the school’s all-time Top 15 list in rebounds. If he could accomplish that feat, he would join a list that includes Ed Nealy, Bob Boozer, Jamar Samuels, Dean Wade, Rodney McGruder and Rolando Blackman that ranks in the school’s Top 15 in both scoring and rebounding.

SNEED MOVING UP THE CHARTS

  • Senior Xavier Sneed continues to move up several career charts, as he ranks among the Top 20 in scoring (11th), 3-point field goals (fourth) and attempted (second), steals (fourth), minutes played (fourth), games played (fourth), double-digit scoring games (10th) and field goals attempted (10th).
  • With his 16-point effort in the win over No. 12/13 West Virginia (1/18/20), Sneed moved into the school’s Top 15 in scoring at No. 15 with 1,257 points, moving past former teammate Kamau Stokes (1,242), current Orlando Magic player Wes Iwundu (1,249) and Tyrone Adams (1,251). He is the fourth player under head coach Bruce Weber to rank in the Top 15 in scoring, following Barry Brown, Jr. (1,781 points/fifth), Rodney McGruder (1,576/eighth) and Dean Wade (1,510/10th). He currently 11th with 1,414 points, having recently passed Wildcat great Mitch Richmond (1,327).
  • Sneed already ranks among the very best among all 3-point shooters in school history, passing former teammate Kamau Stokes for fourth in career makes (208) and ranking second in career attempts (627). With his four triples against No. 1/1 Baylor (2/3/20), he became the fifth Wildcat to eclipse 200 career 3-point field goals and the first since Stokes last season. Only Jacob Pullen (828) has attempted more 3-pointers in school history.
  • Sneed also continues to move up the steals chart with his 189 ranking fourth in school history. He needs just 1 steal to pass Steve Henson (190/1986-90) and 11 to become just third Wildcat with 200 steals.
  • Sneed just cracked the school’s Top 10 list for minutes played with 3,690 minutes and moved into fourth place (3,748) with his 35 minutes vs. No. 1/1 Kansas on Saturday. He also jumped into the Top 10 for most games played against No. 1/1 Baylor (2/3/20) with his 127th. As long as he stays healthy, he should break into the Top 10 for career starts (currently at 101).

DIARRA PROVING TO BE SOLID

  • Junior Cartier Diarra is proving to be a solid guard for the Wildcats, averaging 13.1 points on 41.3 percent (133-of-322) shooting with a team-best 4.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 30.8 minutes per game. He has led the team in scoring on 12 occasions.
  • Diarra collected his team-leading fifth 20-point game with his game-high 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting at Iowa State (2/8/20). He has the team’s top-four scoring efforts, which includes 25 vs. Tulsa (12/29/19) and No. 12/11 West Virginia (1/18) and 23 vs. North Dakota State (11/5/19).
  • Diarra has scored in double figures in 18 times in the last 25 games, including team-highs vs. Marquette (14), Mississippi State (20), Tulsa (25), Texas (14), No. 23/23 Texas Tech (19) and No. 12/13 West Virginia (25).
  • Diarra became the 26th Wildcat to eclipse 200 career assists vs. 23/23 Texas Tech (1/14/20), while he became the 39th player to top 100 assists in  a single season at No. 12/11 West Virginia (2/1/20). He has led the team in assists in 20 games, while he has at least 5 assists in 13 games, including a career-high 10 vs. Alabama State on Dec. 11. He became the first Wildcat with a 10-assist game since Marcus Foster (at Baylor) on Feb. 15, 2014.

DIARRA NAMED BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK DEC. 30

  • Junior Cartier Diarra earned his first career Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honor on Dec. 31 after scoring a career-best 25 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 22.4 seconds left, to help the Wildcats defeat Tulsa, 69-67, on Dec. 30.
  • Diarra is the first Wildcat to earn the Big 12’s weekly honor since Barry Brown, Jr., and Dean Wade won the accolade in back-to-back weeks on January 14 and 21, 2019. Overall, it marks the school’s 29th Player of the Week honor since the inception of the Big 12 in 1997, including the 13th under head coach Bruce Weber.
  • Diarra collected his third 20-point game of the season in Sunday’s victory over the Golden Hurricane, connecting on 8-of-16 from the field, including 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, to go with a 3-of-4 effort from the line, a game-high 7 assists and 5 rebounds in 33 minutes of action. His 6 3-pointers were a career-high and the most by a Wildcat since teammate Xavier Sneed knocked down 6 triples against West Virginia on Jan. 1, 2018.

MAK ATTACK

  • Senior Makol Mawien is the team leader in both rebounding (5.4 rpg.) and blocked shots (0.9 bpg.), while averaging 7.7 points on 45.6 percent (83-of-182) shooting. He has scored in double figures in 11 games, including 3 double-doubles (vs. NDSU, at Alabama and vs. Texas).
  • Mawien has been particularly impressive in the last 12 games, where he is averaging 8.8 points on 48.2 percent (39-of-81) shooting with 6.8 rebounds per game. He has 6 double-digit scoring games in that span.

SLOAN CREATES A SPARK

  • K-State received a spark when junior David Sloan moved into the starting point guard role, allowing junior Cartier Diarra to move off the ball, in the win over 12/13 West Virginia on Jan. 18. He scored 9 points in the upset of the Mountaineers to go with 5 assists and 4 steals in 36 minutes.
  • The Wildcats averaged 65.7 points and 12.0 assists in that 9-game stretch after averaging 57.8 points and 8.8 assists in the previous 4 games. During this span, Sloan averaged 8.6 points, 2.9 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 24.6 minutes per game, which included a season-high 17 points at No. 3/3 Kansas (1/21/20) and a team-high 13-point effort at No. 12/11 West Virginia (2/1/20). Prior to the West Virginia game on Jan. 18, he was averaging 3.7 points and 1.9 assists in 15.5 minutes per game.

FRESHMEN PLAYING A MAJOR ROLE

  • Three freshmen (DaJuan Gordon, Antonio Gordon and Montavious Murphy) are playing major roles for the Wildcats, as each are averaging 18 or more minutes, including 16 starts by Murphy and 9 by Antonio Gordon and DaJuan Gordon. Murphy missed 10 games due to injury.
  • The 34 combined starts by the 3 true freshmen are the most starts by a freshman trio since 2015-16 when Dean Wade (31), Kamau Stokes (20) and Barry Brown, Jr. (11) combined to start 62 games. Both DaJuan Gordon and Murphy has started 7 times in the last 11 games, while Antonio Gordon has earned back-to-back starts since December vs. Texas and No. 2/2 Baylor.
  • DaJuan Gordon has played in all 29 games, averaging 24.0 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures 6 times, including a 15-point effort against No. 12/13 West Virginia (1/18/20) and a 12-point output at No. 2/2 Baylor (2/25/20). He has connected on 44.7 percent (72-of-161) from the field and 31.8 percent (21-of-66) from 3-point range. He been solid since the start of Big 12 play, averaging 6.4 points on 45.3 percent shooting, including 30.6 percent from long range, with 3.4 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per game.
  • Murphy, who became the first true freshmen to start an opener since 2015, started each of the first 3 games of the season before his injury on Nov. 13. He returned to play 18 minutes against Saint Louis (12/29/19) before starting 11 Big 12 games and averaging 25.2 minutes per game. He has missed the last 3 games after reinjuring the same knee. He is averaging 5.2 points on 40.7 percent shooting with 3.7 rebounds per game.
  • Antonio Gordon has seen action in 24 games, averaging 18.0 minutes per game. He is averaging 4.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He had his best game of the season at Texas Tech (2/19/20), scoring a season-high 14 points on 6-of-7 field goals to go with a game-high 8 rebounds.

EZEAGU JOINS TEAM JAN. 17

  • Head coach Bruce Weber announced on January 17 that transfer forward Kaosi Ezeagu (Brampton, Ontario/GTA Prep/UTEP) has signed a scholarship agreement to join the men’s basketball team. He will have three years of eligibility once he sits out the required time as a Division I transfer.
  • Ezeagu will enroll at K-State for the spring semester and will be able to start practicing with the team. He will have to sit out for the reminder of the 2019-20 season and the first semester of the 2020-21 season before being eligible in mid-December 2020.   
  • A 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward from Brampton, Ontario, Ezeagu played one season at UTEP for head coach Rodney Terry in 2018-19. He played in all 29 games for the Miners as a true freshman, averaging 3.2 points on a team-best 56.9 percent shooting (37-of-65) with 3.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 12.4 minutes per game. He led the team with 24 blocked shots with at least 2 blocks in eight contests. Twice he scored in double figures, including 10 in his first game against UTPB on Nov. 16, 2018 and a season-best 12 against Middle Tennessee State on March 6, 2019.
  • Ezeagu was born in the Bahamas but went to prep school in Brampton, Ontario, where he was rated one of the top prep players in Canada after averaging 11.4 points and 10.4 rebounds at GTA Prep in 2017-18.

RECAPPING NON-CONFERENCE HISTORY

  • K-State concluded non-conference play with the 77-74 loss at Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 25. Despite the setback, the Wildcats finished with a winning record in non-conference play for 14th season in a row.
  • K-State has a 111-8 (.932) record at home venues (includes home games played at Bramlage Coliseum, INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita and the Sprint Center in Kansas City) in non-conference play dating back to the 2006-07 season, including a 102-6 (.944) mark at Bramlage Coliseum.
  • Despite seeing their 33-game winning streak end at Bramlage Coliseum with a loss to Marquette on Dec. 7, the Wildcats have still won 98 of their last 104 non-conference home games. The last home non-conference loss before Marquette came against Georgia, 50-46, on Dec. 31, 2014.
  • K-State has posted a 147-42 (.781) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07 season, which includes a 10-3 (.769) mark in 2018-19. The team has posted double-digit non-conference wins in 12 of the last 13 years.
  • Since going 7-6 in non-conference in 2014-15, which included back-to-back losses to Texas Southern and Georgia, the Wildcats has won double-digit non-conference games each of the past four seasons and is 50-15 (.781) in non-conference play since the start of 2015-16 season.

WEBER NAMED USA BASKETBALL CO-NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR

  • After leading Team USA to a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup this past summer, K-State men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber was selected as the co-recipient of the 2019 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award.
  • Weber shared the honor with Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz, who also led the USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team to a gold medal on July 20-28 in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Since 1996, USA Basketball has awarded its National Coach of the Year honor to a USA Basketball head coach, who during the year of the award, made a significant impact on the success of the individual athlete and team performance at the highest levels of competition in a manner consistent with the highest ethical, professional and moral standards.
  • Weber, who served as a head coach in the USA Basketball system for the first time in his career, led Team USA to their seventh gold medal at the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) U19 World Cup, including the first since 2015, with a perfect 7-0 record. Team USA capped their perfect performance with a 93-79 win over Mali in the gold-medal game in Greece on July 7.
  • Team USA averaged better than 100 points per game and won the tournament by an average of 28.7 points per game, including victories over New Zealand (111-71), Lithuania (102-84) and Senegal (87-58) to capture Group A then wins over Latvia (116-66) in the group of 16, Russia (95-80) in the medal round, Lithuania (102-67) in the semifinals and Mali (93-79) in the finals. The team ranked first in points per game (100.9), field goal percentage (.475), assists per game (28.6 apg.) and steals per game (15.9 spg.).

UP NEXT: IOWA STATE (12-17, 5-11 Big 12)

  • K-State wraps up the regular season on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Iowa State (12-17, 5-11 Big 12) at 3 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum. There will be a pre-game ceremony to honor four senior managers as well as senior players Pierson McAtee, Makol Mawien and Xavier Sneed. The Cyclones won the first meeting, 73-63, on Feb. 8 and will be looking to sweep the regular season series for the first time since 2017.

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