Nine days can be a long time, especially when you are waiting for something. The Kansas State Wildcats had been waiting to see game action since December 7. Junior Cartier Martin said the break between games seemed like "forever, especially during finals."
The Wildcats retook the floor and pulled out a victory, though not exactly in impressive fashion. Players, including Martin, thought they may have worked through a little rust on the court against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. "Game speed and practice speed are a little different," Martin said. "You have to get a little rust our, and put a little WD-40 on that."
Despite his desire to take the machine to the shop, Martin was the one Wildcat that seemed unaffected by the layoff. Martin kept his scoring spree going, scoring a career-high 27 points, and leading the Wildcats in scoring for the fifth time this season.
"Every night we depend on him," sophomore David Hoskins said of Martin. "We have full confidence that he can carry us the whole season, so when he is open he gets the ball."
Hoskins added 17 points, and junior Mario Taybron pitched in 12.
The Wildcats shot 56-percent from the field, and 84-percent from the free throw line, but still were not clicking on offense. Coach Jim Wooldridge said the Wildcats had "very little thrust and attack on offense," and were "very tentative," in the first 30 minutes of the game.
Wooldridge said the difference in the game came in the final ten minutes when K-State was able to get its transition game working, and score some points in fast break opportunities.
While he admitted there may be some rust due to the
long break between games, Wooldridge hinted that there
was more to the lackadaisical offense than that. "You
can't attribute all that to rust," Wooldridge said.
Player of the game
Once again, Martin led the Wildcats in scoring. He also pulled down four rebounds, earned three assists, and provided vocal leadership for the young team yet again. Martin is putting together and All-Big 12 season, and is making fans forget about the loss of Jeremiah Massey.
The Wildcats featured a new starting lineup Saturday, with Dramane Diarra starting in place of Akeem Wright. Wright had missed practices during the past week to attend his brother's funeral. Wright still played 26 minutes.
Along with his career-high point total (27), Martin also set a career mark for free throws made in a game, hitting 12 of 14. Martin's 27 points also marked his seventh career 20-point game, and made Martin only the sixth Wildcat ever to score in double-digits in each of the first eight games of a season.
70 is the key number here The Wildcats 74-61 victory improved the Wildcats' record to 5-0 when they score 70-or-more points.