It’s an interesting trend in the early season. It’s something that needs to change but so far we have seen it in each of the first three games. Kansas State is having a tough time getting its offense started. It’s not just the first four minutes when they are struggling. It’s the entire first half. It happened again on Wednesday against Monmouth. Kansas State scored just 20 points in the first half and trailed by nine at halftime.
The second half was completely different as the Wildcats put up 53 points. Kansas State finished 46% from the field including 21% from the three point line. They out rebounded Monmouth by just three boards.
Defense, which was such a big part of Kansas State’s success last season, was good once again in this game. The Wildcats held Monmouth to just 40% shooting from the field and 33% from behind the arc. Monmouth also had 25 turnovers in the game. Kansas State had 17 steals.
Kansas State is going to have to rely on its defense again this season and so far it has worked for them. The Wildcats allowed just 55 points per game which was tied for 27th entering Wednesday.
The offense needs to split the difference between its two halves on Wednesday if Kansas State wants to have success in conference play. They can’t struggle like they did in the first half. They can’t hit a three point shot this year in the first half. After three games they are just 1-for-30 from behind the arc in the first half. While nobody expects a 53 point half every time out like the Wildcats put up in the second half of this game, something around 35 should get Kansas State plenty of victories this season.
Player of the Game
F Xavier Sneed had 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting, six rebounds and five steals. He was just 1-for-5 from behind the arc but otherwise looked really good in this game. Sneed’s ppg have hovered around 11 points per game each of the last two seasons. Kansas State needs him to increase that to closer to 15 ppg this season.
F Makol Mawien scored 11 points and had nine rebounds while going 5-for-5 from the line. Mawien is a consistent performer for the Wildcats but as he enters his senior season he needs to pick up his production a little.
F Montavious Murphy is a good looking freshman who is getting a chance to contribute early in the season. In fact, he’s in the starting lineup. His point total has increased in each of his first three games. He has gone from two points to five and then to eight tonight. Don’t expect that to continue but he’s playing around 30 minutes per game. That’s a lot for anyone but especially a freshman. Bruce Weber obviously likes what he sees in Murphy. He played well in this game.
Room for Improvement
G Mike McGuirl was barely heard from in this game. He took just two shots, going 0-for-2, had one rebound, two assists and two steals. The positive is that his shooting got better from his freshman season to his sophomore season and early on it looks like that will continue into his junior season but he needs to be more aggressive on the offensive end. McGuirl needs to be at least a threat to score to help out the rest of the offense. Tonight wasn’t that night.
Kansas State plays again on Tuesday at home against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The game is at 7:00pm.