MANHATTAN (TNS) — Kansas State’s 80-58 victory over Northern Arizona on Monday at Bramlage Coliseum was further proof that the Wildcats can humiliate overmatched competition.
Now it’s time to find out what they can do against teams with similar talent, size, depth and name appeal.
We will learn a lot about K-State later this week when it hits the road to take on Arizona State and Xavier/George Washington at the Las Vegas Invitational. Two wins will validate its hot start, which has featured lopsided wins over American (83-45), UMKC (72-51), UC Irvine (71-49) and now Northern Arizona (80-58). A split will leave unanswered questions and two losses will raise concerns.
The Wildcats are looking forward to the challenge. It’s about all they have to be excited about with their November schedule.
K-State should be ready. Bruce Weber was able to empty his bench and experiment with different lineups throughout the team’s 4-0 start, allowing every active player on the roster to gain experience.
But few reserves took advantage against Northern Arizona. Monday’s top bench performer was Brian Patrick. The sophomore guard came off the bench to score five points. The rest of K-State’s reserves struggled to fill up the stat sheet, combing for five points. But the starters mostly had strong games.
It was hard not to the way the Lumberjacks played, committing an ugly 31 turnovers.
Barry Brown led the way with 20 points, continually beating the defense for fast-break dunks off of steals. Kamau Stokes also found his way to the basket for 16 points, Dean Wade delivered 15 and Xavier Sneed added 12.
The Wildcats created much off their offense with defense in this one. K-State piled up 19 steals, which tied a school record, against the sloppy Lumberjacks and routinely turned them into points.
That was enough for another easy win.
K-State is finished with the softest portion of its schedule. The rest of the week will be more challenging, and revealing.