Wooldridge assessed k-State's victory by saying "We have a heck of a long way to go." The Wildcats beat EA, thanks in large part to a strong second-half effort, but inconsistency and turnovers plagued the Cats throughout the game.
The Wildcats started off struggling, in a matter that would have someone playing an EA Sports videogame reaching for the RESET button. K-State trailed as late at halfway into the first half. "The first half was a tough half to watch," Wooldridge said. "It wasn't very fun. I didn't have much fun watching it." The game remained uncomfortably tight for the remainder of the half, with the Cats leading by just two at the half. Turnovers, 11 of them, and other offensive inconsistencies along with rotation struggles on defense contributed to the close scores at the break.
The second half proved to be a better one for the Cats, as they focused more on "playing basketball," than on executing the offense. "Coach told us that we were just running the offense, we weren't playing basketball," guard Clent Stewart said. "He said 'look to shoot, look to drive. Play basketball, have fun.' So that second half that's what we tried to do."
The key stretch for K-State came about halfway through the second half, when a Lance Harris bucket started a quick 10-0 run for the Wildcats.
Harris hit two-of-three shots from behind the arc and scored 12 points.
Newcomer David Hoskins led the Wildcats in scoring, with 14 points. He also added six rebounds and five assists. "We're definitely going to need that out of him," Stewart said of Hoskins. "I think he's a fabulous player."
The Wildcats out-rebounded EA 48-28, but top sources of rebounds were rather unlikely ones. Curtis Allen came off the bench to lead the Cats with nine boards, six of which were offensive. "I know he had a couple of putbacks offensively that are really going to spark us this season," Stewart said of Allen's prowess on the boards. "He's a tremendous, athletic players." Akeem Wright, another sub, was second on the team with seven rebounds.
Wooldridge said all the newcomers performed about as he had expected in their Wildcat debuts. ""A little good, and a little not so good," Woodridge said. "I think they'll be much better as time goes on."
Overall, Wooldridge said many areas have to improve. He mentioned more aggressive guard-play and cutting down on turnovers as key improvements to be made. He's said he's expecting continual improvement, and that the game simply provided "a place to start.
"We can use the film as a source of evaluation and improvement," Wooldridge said, "and hopefully see that as we get into next week."
In closing, Wooldridge left the media with one
message, important enough to repeat three times.
"We've got a lot of work to do."
Player of the game-
A line of 14-6-5 is nothing to frown at for someone's
debut. He displayed athleticism, strength, and decent
shooting touch. He played with energy and sparked the
team with two fast break dunks. He may not total
scoring numbers like the last no.15 for the Wildcats,
but look for him to play a key role in the Wildcats
success this season.
Surprise of the game-
Curtis Rodman? As he gained more playing time last season, fans began to get a taste of why Wooldridge referred to Curtis Allen as one of the most athletic players on the team. This season, fans may witness the full extent of his abilities. Playing with what teammate and roommate Stewart called "more maturity," Allen pulled down nine rebounds in just 18 minutes. We're not talking dinky, wide-open rebounds, either. Many of his board resulted simply from out-jumping the opposing players. "We've asked Curtis to really utilize his athletic ability," Wooldridge said. "We saw him, at times, do that very well. Which is good to see. We need that type of athleticism on the floor." Bench players are often looked to for instant energy off the bench - Allen should do the trick for the Cats.
Serge Afeli is being "brought along slowly," and
Thursday night followed that plan. Afeli played just
three minutes and registered nothing but a foul on the
stat sheet. It's not just the in-game matters he has
to become more aware of, either. In pregame warm-ups,
Afeli threw down a hard dunk, an offense that can
result in a technical foul. Dramane Diarra immediately
captured Afeli's attention and alerted him of the
Forget 4 guards, try 5-
For portions of the second half, the Wildcats ran lineups that put Hoskins and Cartier Martin in the traditional big-man spots. Martin said the lineups take full advantage of the team's quickness, and could create definite mismatches later in the season. "It discombobulates the defense," Martin said. "They have a hard time guarding five guards on the floor."