Bruce Weber is as passionate a coach as one could come across. There’s nary a moment on the sideline where he doesn’t react, positively or negatively, to every single twist and turn of a possession.
Yet after Wednesday night’s 69-63 loss at Oklahoma State, Kansas State’s 10th straight, Weber admitted his well is running dry.
“I don’t have much emotion left,” he said in a postgame press conference. “We’re right there in games that take the emotion out of you. I always pride myself on getting guys to play together and play hard, but I guess I haven’t done a good enough job with this group.”
The defeat extended a dubious record for the Wildcats (9-21, 2-15) — prior to this season, their longest losing skid under Weber was six games — and set another one: The 21 losses are the most in one year in school history, surpassing the 20 the team had in 1945-46 when it finished 4-20.
For K-State, the game followed a familiar rhythm that embodied oh so many of its losses this season. The Wildcats kept it close for a good portion of the game; neither team led by more than five in the first half. And even when the Cowboys (16-14, 6-11) finally got some breathing room in the second half — going on a 14-2 run late to turn a 49-48 deficit into a 62-51 lead — the Wildcats wouldn’t go quietly. They drew within four, 67-63, following a Xavier Sneed 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining.
But it was too little, too late.
“I thought our defense was good. We turned them over 21 times, and we’re still one of the best teams in the country at turning people over,” Weber said. “We had some opportunities. They’re aggressive in the half-court and took us out of things. Three key plays were off OSU airballs that they beat us to that ended up in points. When you study a six-point difference, that was a difference. It was a hard-fought game, and we had a chance, but we couldn’t get over the hump.”