K-State concludes road swing at Texas Tech Wednesday

Wildcats

Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in Manhattan, Kan., Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

OPENING TIP

  • Kansas State (9-16, 2-10 Big 12) concludes its 2-game road trip through the state of Texas on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech (16-9, 7-5 Big 12) at United Supermarket Arena. The Red Raiders have won 4 of the last 5 meetings, including a 77-63 victory in Manhattan on Jan. 14, while they have won 5 in a row at home over the Wildcats. The game will tip at 8:05 p.m., CT on ESPN2 with Robert Ford (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) on the call.
  • K-State saw its losing streak hit 5 games in Saturday’s 68-57 loss at TCU, which ties for the longest such streak under head coach Bruce Weber. The Wildcats also lost 5 in a row from Jan. 27 to Feb. 11, 2015. The Horned Frogs tied an opponent school-record with 15 made 3-point field goals to sweep the series from the Wildcats for the first time in the Big 12 era. The 15 triples were the most allowed by a K-State team in more than 15 years, tying the mark set originally by Missouri on Feb. 28, 1998 and tied most recently by Saint Louis on Jan. 3, 2004. In two meetings with K-State, 3-pointers accounted for 25 of TCU’s 43 total field goals (58.1 percent), as the team connected on a combined 42 percent (25-of-60) from long range.
  • Despite the record day from 3-point range, K-State still had chances to snap its losing streak, as the Wildcats led 50-48 after senior Xavier Sneed’s third consecutive field goal that forced TCU coach Jamie Dixon to call a timeout with 8:09 to play. The Sneed jumper capped a 10-2 run by the Wildcats after they trailed 46-40 at the 11:20 mark after a 3-pointer from Desmond Bane. However, the momentum shifted after another Bane 3-pointer, as the Horned Frogs used a 15-1 run over the next 5:12 to propel them to a 66-53 advantage with 1:18 to play.
  • Texas Tech dropped out of the Top 25 after seeing its 3-game winning streak end in a 73-70 loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Red Raiders had won 4 of their last 5 games prior to the loss to the Cowboys, which included 3 consecutive wins at home against West Virginia (89-81), Oklahoma (69-61) and TCU (88-42). Overall, the team is 12-2 at home this season with its losses coming to current Top 10 foes Baylor (52-57) and Kentucky (74-76 in overtime) in January. Big 12 Freshman of the Year candidate Jahmi’us Ramsey (15.8 ppg.) leads one of the Big 12’s most dynamic scoring teams (73.4 ppg.), while 3 others (Davide Moretti, Kyler Edwards and Terrence Shannon, Jr.) are also averaging in double figures.
  • After winning 10 straight in the series from 2009 to 2015, K-State has been on the opposite end of the series of late with Texas Tech winning 7 of the last 10 meetings, including 5 in a row at United Supermarket Arena. The Wildcats’ last win in Lubbock came in a 60-56 victory on Feb. 25, 2014. Texas Tech broke open a 48-all tie with a 13-2 run midway through the second half to earn a 77-63 win in its latest meeting with K-State at Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 14. The Red Raiders took advantage of 20 Wildcat turnovers to post 30 of their 73 points. The 30 points off turnovers tied for the most by an opponent under head coach Bruce Weber and the most since 2016.
  • Injuries have been a big part of K-State’s season, as 5 different players have missed a combined 48 games, which has caused head coach Bruce Weber to use 6 starting lineups. The 6 lineups are the most since using 11 in 2014-15. Freshmen DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy have started together in each of the last 7 games, which is the first freshmen pair to start together since Barry Brown, Jr., and Dean Wade in 2015-16.

NOTES ON TEXAS TECH

  • Texas Tech (16-9, 7-5 Big 12) enters Wednesday’s game in third place in the Big 12 standings, one full game ahead of fourth place West Virginia and Oklahoma with 6 league games remaining. The 73-70 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday snapped a 3-game winning streak, as the Red Raiders saw the Cowboys outscore them at free throw line, 31-12. Texas Tech connected on 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the field, including 43.5 percent (10-of-23) from 3-point range, but managed to hit just 12 of 20 attempts from the line compared to 31 of 38 attempts by OSU. Junior Davide Moretti and redshirt freshman Kevin McCullar each led the way with 15 points.
  • Texas Tech is averaging 73.4 points on 45.5 percent shooting, including 36 percent from 3-point range, to go with 34.1 rebounds, 15.8 assists, 7.8 steals and 4.1 blocks per game, while allowing 63.2 points on 40.2 percent shooting, including 30.8 percent from 3-point range. The team is averaging 70.6 points in Big 12 play on 46.5 percent shooting, including 40.2 percent from 3-point range, while allowing 62.1 points on 40.1 percent shooting. 
  • The Red Raiders return several key components from last season’s run to the NCAA Championship game, including Davide Moretti (13.0 ppg.) and Kyler Edwards (10.5 ppg.), but have added several important pieces in freshmen Jahmi’us Ramsey, who leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points on 46 percent shooting, including 45.5 percent from 3-point range to go with 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Moretti is second in scoring at 13.3 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting, including 39.9 percent from 3-point range, while Edwards and freshman Terrence Shannon, Jr. are averaging 11.9 and 10.7 points per game. Transfers T.J. Holyfield (9.2 ppg., 5.0 rpg.) and Chris Clarke (5.6 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 5.0 apg.) have brought experience to a team that lost 11 lettermen. Clarke paces the team in both rebounding and assists in starting just 8 games.  
  • Texas Tech is led by reigning National Coach of the Year Chris Beard, who has posted a 92-40 (.697) record in his fourth season. He has a 263-90 (.745) overall record in his 11th season as a head coach, which includes head-coaching stints at McMurry (2012-13), Angelo State (2013-15) and Little Rock (2015-16).

SERIES HISTORY

  • K-State and Texas Tech will meet for the 42nd time in their histories with the Wildcats holding a 24-17 advantage in the series, including a slight 17-16 edge since the start of Big 12 play. Tech is 12-7 at home.
  • Texas Tech has won 7 of the last 10 meetings, including a 5-2 mark under head coach Chris Beard. Last season, the teams split their 2 meetings with the Red Raiders winning 63-57 at home on Jan. 5, while the Wildcats snapped a 3-game skid in the series with a 58-45 win at home on Jan. 22, 2019.
  • Head coach Bruce Weber is 9-7 all-time against Texas Tech, including a 2-5 mark on the road, while Weber is 2-5 against head coach Chris Beard.
  • Junior Cartier Diarra has had the most success against Texas Tech in his career, averaging 10.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 5 career games with 3 starts, while senior Xavier Sneed has averaged 6 points in 7 career games.

ON THE ROAD

  • K-State has a 60-136 (.306) 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 48-65 (.425) record away from home after going 10-70 (.125) from 1997-2006. The team is 32-52 (.381) under Bruce Weber on the road, including 25-42 (.373) 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 1-7 on the road, including 0-6 in Big 12 play.

LAST TIME OUT: TCU 68, K-STATE 57

  • TCU tied an opponent school-record high with 15 made 3-point field goals, including 5 from senior Desmond Bane, as the Horned Frogs snapped a 7-game losing streak with a 68-57 win over Kansas State on Saturday afternoon before 6,288 fans at Schollmaier Arena. With the win, TCU swept the season series for the first time in the Big 12 era.
  • The 15 triples by the Horned Frogs were the most allowed by a Wildcat team in more 15 years, tying the mark set originally by Missouri on Feb. 28, 1998 and tied by Saint Louis on Jan. 3, 2004. In all, five players connected on at least one 3-pointer, including a combined 9 by Bane (5) and graduate student Jaire Grayer (4).
  • Despite record amount of 3-pointers, K-State still had an opportunity to snap its losing streak, as the Wildcats led 50-48 after senior Xavier Sneed’s third consecutive field goal that forced TCU head coach Jamie Dixon to call a timeout with 8:09 to play. The Sneed jumper capped a 10-2 run by the Wildcats after they trailed 46-40 at the 11:20 mark after a Bane 3-pointer.
  • The two teams traded baskets out of the timeout, including a fourth straight by Sneed, but the momentum shifted on the next possession, as yet another Bane 3-pointer ignited a 15-1 run by the Horned Frogs over the next 5:12 that propelled them to a 66-53 advantage with 1:18 to play.
  • Both teams connected on 23 made field goals in the contest, but TCU’s 15 made 3-pointers proved to be difference, as K-State made just 2 of 12 attempts from long range. For the game, the Horned Frogs connected on 44.2 percent (23-of-52) from the field, including 45.5 percent (15-of-33) from 3-point range, while the Wildcats hit on 42.6 percent (23-of-54) of their field goals, including 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from long range.
  • Bane led three TCU players in double figures with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-14 field goals, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, to go with a game-high 8 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, while Grayer and sophomore R.J. Nembhard added 15 points each.
  • Sneed paced the team with 15 points on 6-of-12 field goals, while juniors David Sloan and Cartier Diarra added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Senior Makol Mawien grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds.

LEADING WITH DEFENSE

  • K-State has continued its reputation as one of the top defensive teams in the country under head coach Bruce Weber, holding its 25 opponents to 64.5 points on 42.4 percent shooting (553-of-1305), including 32.9 percent (170-of-517) from 3-point range, while posting a Big 12-best 8.5 steals and forcing 16.3 turnovers per game (second behind Texas Tech in the Big 12).
  • K-State ranks among Top 55 in 3 defensive categories, including 55th in scoring defense, 22th in steals per game and 24th in turnovers forced.
  • K-State has held 26 of its last 59 opponents to 60 points or less with just nine eclipsing 70 (with 8 occurring in the last 26 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 7 of the last 11 games, but has found a way to rally from those deficits before losing down the stretch. The Wildcats trailed TCU (1/7/20) and Texas (1/11/20) by 7 points, were down 10-0 to No. 23/23 Texas Tech (1/14/20), fell behind by 16 at Alabama (1/25/20) and to No. 1/1 Baylor (2/3/20) and by 19 at Iowa State (2/8/20). The Wildcats got down 21-12 at TCU before rallying for a 27-26 halftime lead.
  • K-State was down 7-0 to start against TCU 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 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 the game at 57-all on David Sloan’s 3-pointer before losing on a tip-in with 2 seconds to play.
  • K-State trailed 9-2 to start against Texas 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, Baylor 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 with 14:05 remaining. After K-State responded with 5 straight points to close to within 42-37, the Bears took control with a 14-4 run that extended the lead to 56-41 and forced head coach Bruce Weber to call his third timeout with 8:46 remaining. The Wildcats didn’t get closer than 6 points rest of the way.
  • Down by as many as 21 points to Iowa State 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.

POINTS OFF TURNOVERS

  • K-State is once again using its defense to generate offense, as the Wildcats are forcing 16.3 turnovers per game, including a Big 12-best 8.5 steals per game, while averaging 17.3 points per game off those opponent turnovers. The team has scored 432 points off 408 opponent turnovers in 25 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 3 other games, including most recently at TCU.
  • 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 213) 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 (4,107) 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 (31.4; 106-of-338), 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 47.3 percent (391-of-826) 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 38.6 percent (333-of-862) of their field goals in the 16 losses, including 43.3 percent (227-of-524) from inside the arc.
  • No 2 players have been as impactful in this statistic, as senior Xavier Sneed and junior Cartier Diarra.
  • 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 13 points on just 32.8 percent (61-of-186) shooting in the 16 losses, including 37.1 percent (33-of-89) from inside the arc.
  • Diarra is averaging 13.0 points on 42 percent (47-of-112) shooting, including 50.8 percent (33-of-65) from inside the arc, in the 9 wins, while he is averaging 12.4 points on 40 percent (68-of-171) shooting, including 46.5 percent (40-of-86) from inside the arc, in the 16 losses.

SNEED LEADING THE WAY

  • Senior Xavier Sneed has led the Wildcats in scoring 10 times this season, averaging 14.2 points on 38.5 percent shooting (112-of-291), including 31.3 percent (47-of-150) from 3-point range. He has scored in double figures in a team-best 19 games (including 4 20-point games), while he has double-digit points in 12 of the last 15 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 (85) and attempted (129). He is also tops in steals (45) and defensive rebounds (97) and second in field goals (112) and rebounding (4.7 rpg.).
  • 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 1,364 points in 130 career games to go with 578 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 currently tied with Chuckie Williams (1972-76) for 11th on the all-time scoring list with 1,364 points, needs 27 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 made (fifth) and attempted (third), steals (fourth), minutes and games played (eighth).
  • 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 tied for 11th with 1,364 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 Rodney McGruder for fifth in career makes (204) and ranking third in career attempts (607). 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 former Kamau Stokes last season. He needs just 4 3-pointers to pass Stokes on the all-time list, while he needs 31 to jump into the school’s Top 10 for field goals attempted.
  • Sneed also continues to move up the steals chart with his 182 ranking fourth in school history. He needs just 9 steals to pass Steve Henson (190/1986-90) and 18 to become just third Wildcat with 200 steals.
  • Sneed just cracked the school’s Top 10 list for minutes played with 3,615 minutes and needs just 79 minutes to pass Dean Wade (3,694/2015-19) for seventh place. 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 97).

DIARRA PROVING TO BE SOLID

  • Junior Cartier Diarra is proving to be a solid guard for the Wildcats, averaging 13.1 points on 40.6 percent (115-of-283) shooting with 4.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 30.9 minutes per game. He has led the team in scoring 10 times, including 8 times in the last 18 games.
  • 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 15 times in the last 21 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 17 games, while he has at least 5 assists in 12 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.

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 7-game stretch after averaging 57.8 points and 8.8 assists in the previous 4 games. During this span, Sloan averaged 8.9 points, 3.6 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 26.5 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 15 starts by Murphy, 8 by DaJuan Gordon and 7 by Antonio Gordon. Murphy missed 7 games due to injury.
  • The 30 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 each of the last 7 games.
  • DaJuan Gordon has played in all 25 games, averaging 23.3 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures 5 times, including a 15-point effort against No. 12/13 West Virginia (1/18/20) and a 10-point output at Iowa State (2/8/20). He has connected on 43.5 percent (60-of-138) from the field and 32.1 percent (18-of-56) from 3-point range. He been solid since the start of Big 12 play, averaging 6.2 points on 42.9 percent shooting, including 30.8 percent from long range, with 3.8 rebounds in 25.5 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 12 of the last 14 games and averaging 24.7 minutes per game. He is averaging 5.0 points on 39 percent shooting with 3.8 rebounds per game, while his 3 double-digit scoring game this season have come in the last 10 games. He scored a season-high 11 points vs. No. 23/23 Texas Tech (1/14/20). 
  • Antonio Gordon has seen action in 20 games, averaging 18.4 minutes per game. He is averaging 4.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He made his return against No. 1/1 Baylor (2/3/20), playing 10 minutes, after serving a 3-game suspension for his actions against Kansas on Jan. 21.

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: TEXAS (14-11, 4-8 Big 12)

  • K-State returns home on Saturday, as the Wildcats host Texas (14-11, 4-8 Big 12) at 1 p.m., CT on CBS. The Longhorns won the first meeting, 64-50, on Jan. 11 and will be looking to sweep the series for the first time since 2016.

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