Kansas State will host in-state rival Wichita State on Saturday night in Manhattan, Kan., looking to return to the winning column after suffering its first loss of the season Tuesday against Butler.
Kansas State (6-1) fell behind by double digits in Indianapolis, and as they had in the previous two games, they came roaring back. But this time the rally fell short, losing to the Bulldogs 76-64.
The Wildcats were led by 20 points and 12 rebounds from Keyontae Johnson. Desi Sills had 17 points, all coming in the second half, and Markquis Nowell had 13 points and eight assists for the Wildcats.
The problem was on the defensive end, as the Bulldogs connected on 54.9 percent (28 for 51) from the field, including 60.9 percent (14 for 23) in the second half, while all five starters scored in double figures.
“Our defense is predicated on ball pressure,” coach Jerome Tang said. “And I don’t think that we pressured the ball the way that we’re capable of. So we (have) got to go back and see if we can give our guys a better opportunity to execute a game plan.
“I always said there are a few nights a year where it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re not gonna beat the other team and a few nights a year it doesn’t matter what they did, they’re not going to beat you. And then, the rest of it comes down to one or two possessions.”
The Shockers (4-3) have been up and down so far this season. They lost their last game 88-84 in overtime at home against Missouri. The Shockers shot 54.1 percent from the field and made a season-best 12 3-pointers, but they committed 20 turnovers and missed eight of their 14 free-throw attempts.
Wichita State has won eight straight nonconference road games since the 2018-19 season. Six of those wins came against major conference foes: Clemson (ACC), Indiana (Big Ten), Missouri (SEC), Mississippi (SEC) and twice at Oklahoma State (Big 12).
Head coach Isaac Brown knows his team will have their hands full if they want to notch their ninth straight nonconference road win.
“They’ve got some good wins,” Brown said. “Coach Tang is doing a tremendous job. They’ve got a couple of transfers in there that can really play. They have a good basketball team at 6-1 and we’re just excited for the challenge.”
–Field Level Media