Wednesday, July 1, 2015



Wildcats pester Beach for 71-58 victory



For more than 14 minutes, Kansas State looked like a well-oiled machine.

Kansas State freshman Marcus Foster shoots a 3-pointer over Long Beach State’s Branford Jones on Sunday afternoon at Bramlage Coliseum. Foster scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Wildcats past The Beach, 71-58.(Kansas State freshman Marcus Foster shoots a 3-pointer over Long Beach State’s Branford Jones on Sunday afternoon at Bramlage Coliseum. Foster scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Wildcats past The Beach, 71-58).


With a heavy dose of defensive pressure and a well executed gameplan against the opposing point guard, the Wildcats built an early lead and held on until the end for a 71-58 win over Long Beach State on Sunday in Bramlage Coliseum.

From the start, the Wildcats pressured the 49ers and gave extra attention to Long Beach point guard Mike Caffey. The 49ers responded with errant passes, rushed shots and poor transition defense.

The 49ers’ mistakes helped K-State (2-1) get out to a 29-10 lead before Long Beach finally started cutting into the lead.

It started with a Wesley Iwundu alley-oop and Shane Southwell 3 before Long Beach answered with a 3 of its own. From there, K-State went on a 17-4 run to get ahead 22-7 with 8:03 to play. Southwell added his second 3 of the game with 5:49 to play in the half to extend it to 29-10.

The 49ers (1-3) pulled as close as 29-15 when Marcus Foster hit a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers. Foster went on to score 17 points, adding two more 3s early in the second half.

Long Beach State coach Don Monson said Foster, who led the Wildcats in scoring for the second straight game, is making early strides for K-State.

“He’s getting more and more comfortable,” Monson said. “The last 10 minutes of the (Oral Roberts game) you could tell he had a better comfort level. He had a couple shots go in and he was just more aggressive.

“Right at the end of the half, we were not in it but we were not out of it and Marcus hit those two big three’s and put it back to 17 at half.”

The Wildcats had the lead out to 39-22 by halftime, and then DJ Johnson opened the second half with two quick baskets. Foster hit 3s on back-to-back possessions and the Wildcats extended the lead out to 49-26.

Long Beach didn’t seem to get it going until late in the game, when it produced a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 13 in the last three minutes.

Monson said the early defensive pressure was too much for his team to overcome in the second half.

“I felt like they dominated us with their defensive pressure early,” Monson said. “We couldn’t get any offensive rhythm. It started to put so much pressure on our defense and our rebounding. We couldn’t get a stop. We never got any flow until the game was over.”

K-State coach Bruce Weber said the key to the game was the early press, coupled with the job senior guard Will Spradling did to shut down Caffey. The Long Beach point guard was forced into five turnovers and left the game with nine points and an ankle injury after taking a spill to the court in the second half.

Past Spradling’s defensive effort, Weber was also pleased with the offensive effort from the senior trio of Spradling, Southwell and Omari Lawrence. Southwell was the Wildcats’ second leading scorer with 14 points, while Lawrence scored a season-high 10 and Spradling had eight.

“Will was great today,” he said. “He had six assists and five rebounds, which is really pretty good for a guard. And then Shane made some shots. He was our leading rebounder, had three assists, one turnover, so that is a good stat line. They still have to keep getting better.

“I have to compliment Omari because he’s really starting to figure out that if he plays with good energy, enthusiasm, and is talking, good things will happen.”

Sunday’s game marked the season debut for junior forward Thomas Gipson, who came off the bench to play 19 minutes. He finished with two points, three rebounds and one foul.

Weber said Gipson, who missed the first two games and the Wildcats’ exhibition, was rusty after not practicing for awhile. The K-State coach hoped his forward would take another step in the Wildcats’ opener against Charlotte in the Puerto Rico Tip Off.

Without Gipson, the Wildcats were outrebounded 40-29, including 18-11 on the offensive boards. Based on film, Weber thought his team would have been better.

“Obviously, the rebounding was a major factor — 18 offensive boards for them and they got drilled on the boards against Loyola Marymount the other night, so I thought we would have a chance to be a little more effective on the boards,” he said. “I thought we were good early, but not so much in the second half.”

Looking forward to the tournament in Puerto Rico this week, Weber said they likely benefitted from playing against a zone defense that Long Beach deployed in an attempt to slow down the Wildcats in the second half. The strategy did work at first, but K-State eventually figured out ways to attack it.

“I liked that we had to go against a zone defense,” Weber said. “We are going to see zone against Charlotte and that’s something we are going to have to figure out.”

The Wildcats are scheduled to leave for Puerto Rico today, and will play their first game on Thursday, followed by a game against Georgetown or Northeastern on Friday. The tournament will take Saturday off before finishing on Sunday. The team will stay until Monday since K-State will be on break, using the extra day to explore the area. opener against Charlotte in the Puerto Rico Tip Off.

Without Gipson, the Wildcats were outrebounded 40-29, including 18-11 on the offensive boards. Based on film, Weber thought his team would have been better.

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