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K-State Hoops Recap - K-State 61, Colorado State 56

That...was not pretty.

The Cats did just enough to run the Rams off the three-point line.
The Cats did just enough to run the Rams off the three-point line.
Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

The weather might have been relatively nice outside. Inside, it was cold and ugly. The Kansas State Wildcats (8-2) managed to do just enough to escape Wichita with the win, eventually dispatching the Colorado State Rams (6-5), 61-56.

We're not going to spend much time rehashing the game, because frankly, it was pretty tough to watch. The first four minutes of the game ended with K-State up 2-0, and could arguably be considered the worst four minutes of Division 1 basketball I've ever seen. Turnovers, terrible shots, sloppy play...you name it. Both teams launched the ball from outside; neither team was connecting regularly, though. The Cats would take a four-point lead into the half, 29-25.

Coming out in the second half, the Cats would eventually jump out to a seven point lead, and stretch the spread out to 13, before a rally from the Rams would actually give CSU a 1-point advantage. K-State battled back, keyed by some solid play down the stretch from the upper classmen - Wesley Iwundu, Justin Edwards, and Stephen Hurt - and regained a seven-point gap before a free throw contest at the end led to the final score.

Stats, STAT:

30.

The most impressive stat of the night - K-State held the Rams to 30 points below their season average. Despite some fouling (more on that in a minute), the Cats played the quality defense we've seen from them most of the season, holding a team that scores nearly 90 a game to 56 for the contest.

15%.

K-State couldn't hit water from a boat from outside today. The Cats were taking some of those easy open threes I talked about earlier, but only hit 2 of 13 on the afternoon.

0.69.

K-State was upside-down on the assist-to-turnover ratio, committing 13 turnovers to only 9 assists. That's way too many of one, and way too few of the other. I'll let you guess which is which.

Player Of The Game: Dean Wade

Dean did all of his damage in the first half, scoring all 13 of his points and snaring 7 of his 8 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. Good to see Wade back to passable strength after playing ill a week ago.

Tigger Of The Game: Justin Edwards

Note: Since HC Bruce Weber noted there are "a lot of Tiggers on this team," we're going to find that player that had an high-flying offensive play, stonewall defensive play, or a notable performance, and call them out here.

Justin Edwards didn't do as much as usual, but he did come up big late, with a big bucket off a bankshot in the final two minutes, and hitting some clutch free throws down the stretch. Justin finished with 12 points on 50% shooting, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Other Notable Performances

Wes finished with 11 points, 4 boards and an assist. Wasn't very efficient, however - he went 5-12 from the floor, 1-2 from the line, and committed 3 turnovers.

The Big Fella hit ONE shot - a huge three to stretch the K-State lead from 2 to 5 late in the game. He also came up with 6 boards and 2 blocked shots.

Kamau Stokes scored 9, and added 6 rebounds and 3 assists. His 4 turnovers were a team high, though.

Emmanuel Omogbo had a monster game, finishing with 13 points and 14 boards. His effort offered some legitimacy to the lack credible inside threat from the Rams.

Big Thoughts:

1. We executed the defensive gameplan.

Collectively, the Cats played pretty good defense. Starting out with a matchup zone, and mixing it up with straight man-to-man, K-State held a team that relies on the three to 6 of 22 beyond the arc (27%) - four of which came in the first 10 minutes - and to 17-58 overall (29%). Basketball is often a game of chess; to defend one thing, you might have to give up another. CSU had an easier time getting into the paint than they've experienced this season, but that just shows the commitment to taking away the three from the Wildcats.

2. We did not execute the offensive gameplan.

While the second half was better than the first, the Wildcats often looked discombobulated and confused on offense. The team played hastily and carelessly at times, and seemed to force the issue instead of being patient and challenging the defense. No identity, no focus...no execution. As such, we didn't see much sustained success on the offensive end in the first half.

3. The officials were just as bad as the players.

The "changes" in officiating for this season - and the emphasis on freedom of movement - have been welcome. It's made for a better game to watch, a more beautiful game to play. It's been executed very well in the games we've seen - the officials actually grasped the concept, and were committed to calling the game that way. What I saw in this game was inconsistency, and officiating with a complete lack of context. Ticky-tack fouls on one end, with borderline battery on the other. Post play where the offensive player could throw elbows and shoulders, but the second the defensive player put up a fight, a whistle. Missed traveling calls. Missed double-dribble calls. Finally, multiple occasions of being baited into calling a charge when, in fact, there was nearly no contact at all.

It was officiating that was reminiscent of the nadir of officiating - the 2014-2015 season - and made the game that much more difficult to watch.

Next Up:

#EMAW returns to the coziness of the Octagon, taking on North Dakota at 7:00pm CST on Tuesday, December 22.