Wildcats Deliver Gift Horse to Trojans: K-State 72, Troy 43

Seven assists, yo. - USA TODAY Sports

K-State needed to avoid their mid-major malaise tonight. Boy, did they.

It wasn't perfection, but after about two minutes the outcome was never really in doubt as the Wildcats blitzed the Troy Trojans in a 72-43 rout at Bramlage. Troy only managed 15 points in the first half, and at one point in the second twenty K-State was a point away having the Trojans tripled up at 50-17. Eleven Cats hit the scoresheet, and it would have been twelve if Shawn Meyer's layup with under a minute to go hadn't rimmed out.

Marcus Foster and -- surprise -- Will Spradling led the way for the Cats with 14 apiece. D.J. Johnson and Thomas Gipson each pulled down seven boards, and the offensive boards were a huge part of the result tonight as K-State outpaced their Sun Belt opponent 17-5 in that category. Most telling, however, was Troy's inability to find the basket. The Trojans only shot 28% in the first half, including an 0-7 disaster from the arc. They were better in the second half, including a 9-0 run right after K-State took that 50-17 lead referred to earlier, but by then it was just too late. The end of the game saw even Brian Rohleder and Ryan Schultz getting on the board.

Improvement was obvious in various areas. K-State shot 43% from the floor; from inside the arc, that percentage was 49%. They were 8-24 from three and hit 8-12 from the line. Most importantly, the team crashed the boards on offense for a change, hauling down 17 of their own misses. That's an issue that's plagued the team this year, so it was good to see success there tonight.

There are slight concerns ahead, though. Marcus Foster appeared to injure his knee slightly late in the first half, possibly a slight hyperextension. It's probably not a real concern, since he did come back out to start the second half; it would have been completely understandable to just let the freshman star sit out the rest of the contest. Shane Southwell also suffered some sort of ding to his wrist midway through the second half, such that he brought the ball down the floor wrong-handed. He appeared to shake it off during a timeout, but we'll have to see if it's an actual thing or just an owie.

The Cats improve to 7-3 on the year, putting them right there with Kansas and Texas Tech in the middle of the completely irrelevant (at this point) Big 12 standings. The schedule slows drastically now due to finals, with only one game over the next 13 days. That game will be next Saturday's tussle with Gonzaga in Wichita, which will mark the official eligibility of Jevon Thomas. It remains to be seen whether we'll actually get to see Thomas in action next time the Cats take the court. Scuttlebutt indicates he'll remain sidelined until a week later in Brooklyn against the Green Wave of Tulane, in order to get in a full week of practice before making his debut.

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