On Saturday afternoon in Manhattan, the #22/23 Kansas State Wildcats (12-2, 1-1) utilized smothering defense, and outstanding offensive execution, to knock the #7/6 Missouri Tigers (14-1, 1-1) from the ranks of the undefeated, handing the Tigers a 75-59 conference loss.
Coach Frank Martin had his team ready for a physical battle with Missouri, who haven't won a game in Manhattan since 2004.
The Wildcats made it a physical battle with their decided size and depth advantages, overplaying the passing lanes, and doing a good job of identifying Missouri's best shooters. Missouri was unable to sustain much efficiency on the offensive end.
"(Kansas State) did a good job," said Coach Haith. "They covered us up, they blocked shots. It was the first time that we got overwhelmed by someone's size and physicality."
For Kansas State, junior guard Rodney McGruder led all scorers with 20 points. Sophomore guard Will Spradling finished with 14 points, and junior forward Jordan Henriquez, who got the start for the Wildcats, scored 10 points pulled down 8 rebounds, and had 4 blocked shots.
Missouri came in leading the country in field goal percentage, but shot just 33% from the field inside Bramlage, and was outrebounded by a 39-25 margin. Marcus Denmon led Missouri with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Mike Dixon scored 16 points for the Tigers.
"Three out of our first four possessions, we turned the ball over," said Coach Haith, following his first loss at the Missouri helm. "And, that kind of got us started, in terms of (playing uncharacteristically). We didn't get shots, we turned the ball over, and then when we got good looks, we didn't make them. What we did (today) that was really disappointing was that we allowed not playing well on offense to affect our defense. When that happened, it spiraled. We weren't getting stops, because we weren't shooting the ball well. We can't let one affect the other. We've got to play defense every (game). They were big, they were physical, and they dominated us in the paint and on the glass."