The K-State Wildcats basketball team was able to pull out an eight point victory against Oral Roberts last night in Manhattan.
This game didn’t go exactly as planned for K-State, and they found themselves out of the wrong end of a 16-4 score early in the game. After the Wildcats’ disaster against Northern Colorado, most thought they would come out with a lot of energy. Unfortunately, they did not.
Freshman guard Marcus Foster pulled the Wildcats out of the hole they had dug for themselves. He scored 10 straight points and ignited the offense. After Foster started scoring, everyone got in on the act. Sophomore D.J. Johnson had a couple of big dunks that got everybody going as well.
“I just noticed our team was looking a little sluggish and we needed a little spark,” Foster said during the post-game press conference. “I think I am a pretty good scorer and I decided to take it upon myself to get my team going on offense. It got everybody going and then we just made a run and got back in the game.”
The Wildcats took control of the game with a 10-2 run to start the second half, and barely looked back. At one point, the Golden Eagles pulled within five points of K-State. But two clutch free throws by senior Will Spradling, a defensive steal, and a breakaway dunk by Foster sealed the game once more.
It wasn’t pretty. It was nowhere near what K-State fans wanted to see from their team. But it was a win in November. All that matters is the players progressing and building chemistry in November.
Blowouts are nice, but they aren’t going to give this young team the type of adversity that close games like this will. That’s not to say winning by a lot is a bad thing–in fact it’s very good. But for a team with as much inexperience as K-State, close wins will help later in the season. When the Wildcats are faced with a close game in conference play, they will have already been in that type of situation earlier in the season. Would it be nice for K-State to be beating Duke in Chicago? Of course. But this team needs to focus on improving every time they take the floor, regardless of who they play.
The two biggest positives to take out of Wednesday night’s game are Foster’s scoring ability and D.J. Johnson playing well. Foster had 25 points, going 9 of 12 from the field. Foster’s 25 points were the most by a K-State freshman since Michael Beasley.
Johnson’s game was very encouraging. He had 12 points, seven rebounds, and a block on the night. Last season Johnson barely played, but this year he is a starter. He played for 28 minutes last night. Johnson started the 10-2 run in the second half, which helped K-State seize the victory.
“He had three straight buckets for us, I believe,” Coach Bruce Weber said. ” It is a momentum builder. There is no doubt.”
While there are plenty of negatives to look at, a win is a win right now for K-State. Improvement was shown on both ends of the floor, and that’s all that really matters at this point in the season.