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Cats look to keep winning vs. Tulane

By Joel Jellison

Joel Jellison

Just one week after the Kansas State men’s basketball team won its biggest game of the season, the Wildcats will look to keep it going on the road on Saturday.

The Wildcats (8-3) will try to extend their six-game winning streak against Tulane in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Barclays Center — the one-year old home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

K-State’s game will be part of a tripleheader known as the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival, starting with St. John’s and Columbia, before the Wildcats’ game, and ending with Boston College taking on VCU.

The game is scheduled to tipoff at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2.

It will be the first time the Wildcats hit Brooklyn for a game in more than 63 years, when they played a 5-game series against Long Island, with four of those games coming in Brooklyn. The last one occurred on Dec. 2, 1950, as the Cats fell to Long Island, 60-59.

The Wildcats are riding high on their six-game winning streak right now, the longest since they won six straight near the end of the Big 12 schedule last season, and the third of at least six games since Bruce Weber took over as coach.

During the six-game stretch, the Wildcats are holding opponents to an average of just 52 points per game, displaying some of the stingiest defense in college basketball. Teams are shooting just 38 percent, including 24 percent from 3-pointrange, while the Wildcats are also outrebounding opponents by 10.

Despite lackluster offensive numbers, the Wildcats lead the Big 12 and are ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense and opponent 3-point percentage.

So far this season the Wildcats have been led by freshman Marcus Foster, who ranks among the Big 12’s leaders in four different categories, and found national attention in the win over Gonzaga with a highlight dunk. Foster is leading the Wildcats with 14.4 points per game.

Saturday’s game might mark the debut of newly-eligible freshman guard Jevon Thomas, a New York-native, who missed the first 11 games while serving out an eligibility ban. Thomas first became eligible for the game against Gonzaga, but without having seen a minute of practice prior to the game, he was not even dressed for warm ups.

Tulane, meanwhile, will feature a guard-heavy attack, led by sophomore Louis Dabney and freshman Jonathan Stark, who are combining to average more than 36 points per game.

The Green Wave opened the season with four straight wins before losing five in a row. They’ve won three of their last four games.

Tulane is averaging 70 points per contest and shooting well from the field, but have struggled in two previous neutral site games this season, losing both by double-digit scores.

It will be the fourth time the schools meet in their histories and first time since 1993 when they played in the NCAA tournament. The Green Wave own a 2-1 record in the series, including winning that 1993 First Round matchup, 55-53, over the sixth-seeded Wildcats. The previous two meetings came in 1975 and 1976.

Following the game, K-State will return home for a game with George Washington on Jan. 31.

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