The Battle of the Bottom feeders was all we hoped for and more! In a surprisingly high scoring, fast paced game, Kansas State pulled one out of their hind end for the first road conference win all season. The victory keeps KSU on pace for an 8-8 conference record assuming they beat teams they should and more importantly they avoided bad loss in the eyes of the tournament suits. Pullen playing in the post-season continues to be a possibility! Continue reading for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Big Shots… K-State had the answer for everything the Cyclones put up. Whether it was a big 3, a nice runner off the glass, or JHR going all big boy and dunking on a guy, the Cats responded well all game long. The coup de grace came in the last minute when Pullen scored the final 5 points to take a one point lead and seal the victory… even if he got lucky on that last possession.
3 Pt Infuego… Where did that come from? There are plenty of good long range shooters on the team and they all decided to go nuts in this game. The players possibly went a little too nuts with it and stopped looking to move the ball and score easy points but that’s ok when you hit 14 of 27 from 3 point land. Spradling had 4 of them and is growing into a scorer that teams are going to have to look for and Mr. Russell also ended up with 3 himself totaling 13 points by the end of the game. The only surprise was McGruder being a little cold so imagine if he was going as well. If this becomes a trend Kansas State will be right back in the mix of things and a team not many will want to try and handle.
Hanging around… All I can figure is that there is some sort of contractual agreement between the Big 12 and Kansas State that requires almost every game they should win this season to remain within 7 points at all times. Anytime the lead would start to get big, Kansas State would fulfill the contract and let Iowa State hit some open looks or turn the ball over to give them another chance. Not putting it away almost bit them in the end but never underestimate the sucktitude of Iowa State.
Living by the 3… All season long the offense has been poorly executed so it was no surprise to see the team latch on to what was working. K-State was hot from 3 point land but allowed that to become their only choice on the offensive end. The best example came in the critical stretch of play with around 4:30 left to go. The Wildcats were down by three and had three possessions in a row without Iowa State scoring. Each time down the floor K-State jacked up a shot from downtown, not even pretending to run a set play, which resulted in three misses including a nasty air ball. After the last miss, Iowa State hit a big three on the opposite end to go up by 7 and I thought they had stolen the game. However, as previously noted, never underestimate the sucktitude of Iowa State.
Foul Trouble… Kansas State is a physical team so fouls are going to occur frequently in their games but it’s all about what type of fouls are committed. Anyone who has played basketball understands there are “good” fouls and “bad” fouls. Good fouls send a player to the line when he was almost certainly going to make the shot anyways in the hopes that maybe he is going to miss a free throw. “Bad” fouls are what we saw in this game by Kansas State. It takes a bit to figure out how the game is going to be called but when it’s clear the refs are whistle happy you have to adjust. Way too many fouls came from riding players as they drive, reaching in for no apparent reason, or just being lazy and not getting in position soon enough. Even Spradling picked up back to back fouls quickly. And I’m not even going to start typing about the 2 fouls on shots behind the 3 point line. Uggghh.
Free Throws… Once again the shots that are uncontested, with not one person standing between the hoop and the player, where the shooter can take about as much time as they want, where they can move their feet as much as they want without penalty, and on and on killed K-State. Reverting to jr. high basketball, KSU went 6 of 12 for 50%. This was extremely disappointing coming on the back of the NU game where free throw shooting was a major strength and a huge part of the W. I am 85% sure that eventually a bad loss is going to get slapped on K-State because of this category.