Sloppy K-State hangs on to beat South Carolina State

November 29, 20150 Comments

It was ugly and perhaps undeserved, but Kansas State bounced back from its first defeat of the season Sunday with a 68-66 victory over South Carolina State at Bramlage Coliseum.

Five days after the Wildcats’ late collapse against No. 9 North Carolina in the CBE Classic, K-State looked like a team that left its spark in Kansas City, but it made just enough plays down the stretch to hold off a gritty Bulldog squad.

“I was worried we would have a little bit of a hangover,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We didn’t have the energy we needed to have. But we did make some plays when we needed to.”

SC State refused to let K-State find any separation early on, and the Wildcats’ nine first-half turnovers proved to be costly. The Bulldogs led by as many as five and K-State didn’t take the lead for good until the 7:35 mark of the first half.

Even then, SCSU refused to go away. The Wildcats led 36-30 at halftime.

“We’ve been a good defensive team this year, and today we obviously weren’t,” Weber said. “You have to give them some credit. They exploited some of our weaknesses.”

After a 5-0 run by the Bulldogs to open the second half, K-State appeared to find its stride. Wesley Iwundu keyed a 10-0 run that saw the Wildcats’ lead grow to 11 points with 15 minutes to play.

But even then, success wasn’t sustainable. K-State suffered multiple scoring droughts of at least three minutes in the second half. SC State climbed back within a point with 8:13 to play.

The Wildcats’ 17 turnovers did a lot to negatively counter K-State clear rebounding advantage, 39-28.

Thanks to four clutch free throws by Justin Edwards in the final seconds, the Wildcats avoided a massive letdown after a very positive first two weeks of the 2015-16 campaign.

“You win games like this with character,” Weber said. “We had a similar situation last year against Texas Southern and didn’t win it. This time, we found a way to win.”

Edwards led the Wildcats with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Dean Wade added 12 points. Stephen Hurt also recorded a double-double, the first of his career.

K-State is now 5-1 on the season and returns to action Friday at Georgia. – See more at: http://1350kman.com/sloppy-k-state-hangs-on-to-beat-south-carolina-state/#sthash.V79xYfEO.dpuf

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