'Cats: Not enough teeth vs. 'Hawks
By ARNE GREEN
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Telegram
LAWRENCE — It wasn't so much that his 25th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats lost to No. 18 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse that bothered Bruce Weber.
They're not alone there.
It wasn't even that 86-60 margin, but more the way the Wildcats went down that concerned their second-year coach.
"They've got so many weapons," Weber said of the Jayhawks. "Length, athleticism, and you let them get going and that happens.
"It seemed like whenever they finally did miss, they beat us to loose balls and they beat us on our play-hard chart. For me that was the only disappointing thing, (that) we didn't play as I would have liked to and battled and fought."
It was K-State's eighth straight loss at Allen Fieldhouse, a stretch that spans three different head coaches since Jim Wooldridge won there in 2006 — his last season. But it also snapped a 10-game overall winning streak for the Wildcats, their longest in Weber's short tenure.
"All we can do is look forward to the next one and that's Oklahoma, which beat Iowa State today," Weber said of the Sooners, who visit Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night. "The league is tough and you're going to have to be ready to play each game if you're going to be there for the long journey."
K-State junior forward Nino Williams, who came off the bench to lead K-State with 12 points in just 17 minutes, said he expected Kansas to be motivated after losing at home last Sunday to San Diego State.
"I think we didn't play as well as we have the past 10 games and I feel like they came off the last loss at home against San Diego State so they had to prove that they had home-court advantage in the Big 12," Williams said.
The good news, added junior forward Thomas Gipson, is that there's not time to sit and sulk.
"We just can't worry about this loss," Gipson said. "We've got to put it behind us and we've got to defend our home court.
"You've got to move on to the next game. That's the good thing about the Big 12 - you get to back-to-back games so you can't rely on the last game you played."
K-State guard Marcus Foster came into the Sunflower Showdown on a roll, leading the Wildcats in scoring at 14.1 points per game, which ranked him second among Big 12 freshmen behind KU's Andrew Wiggins (15.3).
Though he fearlessly attacked the Jayhawk defense, Foster struggled offensively, hitting just 3 of 12 shots from the field, missing all three of his 3-point attempts and finishing with seven points.
Fellow freshman Wesley Iwundu, who was averaging seven points, tallied four in 25 minutes and grabbed just two rebounds.
"This was the first true (conference road) game and they didn't really know what the atmosphere would be like," Gipson said of Foster, Iwundu and backup point guard Jevon Thomas, who scored nine points on 2 of 7 shooting. "They knew they were going up against good freshmen and they tried to come out and play them and they played hard, but it just didn't cut out for them.
"They're young so they're going to keep thinking about it and what they should have done and what we should have done, but they can't do that. They've got to come out and play the next game and I have to make sure that they're focused right."
Kansas outrebounded K-State, 33-25, marking the first time in 12 games that the undersized Wildcats have been beaten on the boards.
Weber acted surprised that the margin wasn't greater.
"I don't think it even indicates the 33-25 advantage Kansas had," he said. "It seemed like whenever they finally did miss, they beat us to loose balls."
KU also shot 56.1 percent from the field and the Jayhawks' 86 points were the second-most allowed this season by the Wildcats, who gave up 90 to Georgetown at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in November.