MANHATTAN — Bruce Weber is trying to push the right buttons.
He's not yet ready to push the panic button.
But like anyone else who has observed his Kansas State Wildcats through their first three games, Weber also marvels at the numbers. They're 3-0 but have yet to lead at halftime, and in the three first periods, they've made just one of their 32 3-point shots.
"I don't think it's that we're not ready, because we've guarded the heck out of people," Weber said Monday. "After you watch Monmouth (video) you're disappointed when you leave the arena because (you score) 53 in one half, 20 in the other.
"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but we just missed some wide-open shots early."
The Wildcats, who face Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bramlage Coliseum, trailed Monmouth by nine at intermission last Wednesday before going on a second-half tear to win going away, 73-54.
They were 0 for 10 from 3-point range at the break in that game but made 4 of 9 after.
Freshman forward Montavious Murphy shrugged off the chilly start.
"I think they're open looks, they just didn't go in," said Murphy, who made his only 3-pointer in six attempts for the season against Monmouth. "We would spot up, we've just got to make the shot.
"It just takes getting in the gym and trying to hit them."
So far, that has been Weber's solution as well.
"We've had some good days (of practice)," he said. "We got a lot of shooting in, I know that.
"We went back to square one — a lot of form shooting, getting shots up. We've been getting a hundred or more threes up every day and just hoping that they'll get a little confidence."
Even so, the disparity from one half to the next — the Wildcats are 13 for 31 on threes in second halves — is puzzling.
"We're 5 for 9 the second half. Why do we make 'em then and don't make them the first half?" Weber mused. "I'm not sure there's a real reason."
He theorized that early misses have led the team to force shots. He also cautioned that they can't afford to do that against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
"In this game now (Tuesday), you're going to go against zone probably 40 minutes," Weber said. "We've got to make sure we get easy baskets. We have to get transition baskets, we've got to get inside touches (and) we've got to get second-chance points.
"Those are all really important. Then it will hopefully make it easier on threes. When you look at 3-point shooting, it's pretty good, but obviously the first half is not very good."
Point guard Cartier Diarra and wing Xavier Sneed lead the Wildcats in scoring, both averaging 14.3 points per game. They've also put up more than half of the Wildcats' 3-point attempts, with Diarra going 2 for 17 and Sneed 4 for 17.
But Diarra has 19 assists for a 6.3 average, the most by a Wildcat through the first three games for at least the past 20 years. Sneed is second on the team in rebounding at 5.8 a game and leads in steals with seven.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-3) is led by junior wing Shawn Ross with 12.3 points per game.