Wrapping up a two-game exhibition slate, the Kansas State Wildcats continued their prep for the upcoming season with a 70-52 victory over the Fort Hays State Tigers in the Octagon of Doom. Being an exhibition matchup, we're just going to take a quick look at notable thoughts from the evening.
- Wesley Iwundu and Justin Edwards continue their leadership on the floor, with Wes going for 17pts, 6reb, and Justin following suit with 14pts, 5reb. Both scored into double-figures throughout the first half, and saw their playing time reduced in the second half to allow for some bench development.
- Bruce Weber explained in the past, the team would have one exhibition and one scrimmage against a Top-25 opponent. This year, with so many new and young faces, two exhibitions were scheduled to get players real-game experience before the season starts.
- Handled the boards a little better than the first game, but it bears repeating - this team is going to give up many offensive boards if we don't focus on it soon.
- Dean Wade found himself in a bit of foul trouble again, just picking up some silly fouls 20 feet from the bucket. Going to need to get a handle on it early in the season; Wade will be a key component to how successful this team will be. Other teams will be able to key in on Wes and Justin, so supplementary offense will NEED to come from Wade, Hurt, and Brown.
- Kamau Stokes will be the starting PG as the season commences, but Barry Brown will come in off the bench early and often. Not a terrible shooter, and plays some solid defense. Carlbe Ervin will also see more playing time as his conditioning improves - he's sat out most of practice so far due to injury -because of his hustle and defense. Ervin is an above-average on-ball defender, but needs some time to get up to speed. Our guard situation in terms of ball security and running the offense is in a good - but developing - spot.
- Stephen Hurt showed some flashes of actually playing like a back-to-the-basket big man, coming up with 13pts, 7reb while only attempting one outside shot.
- Austin Budke had another passable effort, scoring 7 of his 9 points from the free throw line. The kid gets is nose in there and plays hard, and we saw him be a little stronger with the ball as opposed to his game against Emporia State.
- Its hard to tell right now what our frontcourt will look like in the season opener, or even into 2016. DJ Johnson and Dante Williams were both held out again, so we've really only seen a combination of Hurt and Wade playing in the paint, with Budke (undersized at 6-6) and Iwundu supplementing in those spots. While it's good to be able to keep those guys out, it also means we'll be spending the first part of our season navigating an offense with a completely different skill set once DJ and Dante are available.
- Not expecting a change in a week, but conditioning still an issue. Could tell when guys were gassed - more turnovers, lackadaisical defense, and sticky offense. A timeout - media or team - usually got things back in order, though.
- We ran some matchup zone defense. I love the idea of this team and matchup zone defense. *giggity*
- FHSU was certainly a step up in competition from the Hornets last week, and served as a good ramp-up of capability before stepping into next week's season opener. FHSU made things a bit more difficult, and while the Cats would go through stretches of ineffectiveness, they played their way through it.
Next up: the Cats take on the Hawks of Maryland-Eastern Shore next Friday (11/13) in the Octagon. The game is one of the opening round games of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.