• Loading KStateSports Tweets...
    1 second ago

K-State Crushes Washburn

By Mark Janssen
 
Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin gave an "absolutely" answer when asked whether Sunday's 90-44 victory over Washburn was more impressive than Tuesday's 83-56 decision over Newman.
 
"We were a heckuva lot better. Our guys weren't as nervous," he said. "That first game they were nervous. You could see it in their faces in the huddle. That's not nervous in a bad way, but just full of energy and we didn't play as well."
Sunday's game was tied at 7-7 at the 13:20 mark before K-State went on an 18-0 tear before the visitors next scored with 6:32 to go in the half when the count had soared to 25-9.
 
In the second half it became the Rodney McGruder show with 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point range and ending the game with 18 points.
 
"Rodney is a great, great young man. He works his tail off and he cares as much as anyone else in that locker room," said Martin. "You can coach him and he doesn't fight it. He accepts it. It's a challenge for him to get better. He was so-so on defense in the first half, but those are the best minutes defensively of his career in the second half today."
 
Washburn was only able to shoot a chilly 26 percent from the floor, plus K-State won the board game, 53-42, which helped lead to a 16-8 advantage on second-chance points.
 
"Defensively, I think we did a great job of getting to the ball and in the passing lanes which made Washburn uncomfortable at some points of the game," Jacob Pullen said of KSU's defensive play. "Our bigs did a good job of contesting shots so we could start our break."
 
K-STATE VS. KU: Bob Chipman could only say, "I think both of them are off the charts. I think I have a pretty good team here, and we're playing pretty hard, but both groups made us look like we haven't been practicing. Both of them are in for great years."
 
Last Tuesday, Chipman's Washburn Ichabods lost to Kansas by 30, 92-62, while Sunday in Bramlage Coliseum K-State punished Washburn by 46 points, 90-44.
 
"I thought we played better today, but the score doesn't indicate that," said Chipman. "I will say this, it should make for a fun year in the state of Kansas for college basketball."
 
STAR OF THE GAME: Rodney McGruder hit all five of his treys, plus three free throws for a game-high 18 points. Also in twin figures were Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly with 12 and 11, respectively.
 
"Jake told me to play with confidence and if I was open just let it go. I felt good," said McGruder. "Over the summer Jake told me I needed to step up this year and help the team."
 
On his improved play from an 0-of-3 night against Newman earlier in the week, McGruder said, "Coach just said he didn't think I was too focused and that I hadn't practiced very well, so the next day I brought another level of intensity to practice. He always stresses that you play like you practice."
 
SUB OF THE GAME: Jordan Henriquez-Roberts made just 1-of-6 shots from the field, but found a way to score nine points, plus control nine rebounds.
 
CONCERNS/POSITIVES: Martin's biggest concerns of the game were "passive turnovers" in the first half, and the fact that Washburn controlled 17 offensive rebounds. On the plus side, Martin liked the improvement in the transition defense and the set defense.
 
STARTERS:  Starting for K-State were Freddy Asprilla, Wally Judge, Jacob Pullen, Nick Russell and Rodney McGruder. Against Newman it was Victor Ojeleye, Curtis Kelly, Judge, Pullen and McGruder.
 
Asked if not starting Kelly was a motivating move, Martin said, "I'm not trying to motivate anybody. I want to play guys that will help us win. He's a fifth-year senior. If I have to motivate him, he needs to find a new profession."
 
CHIPMAN COMES HOME: In a pregame visit with "Sports Extra," Chipman had nothing but praise for Martin, which included his appreciation that the Wildcat coach took time to visit with his team at Saturday's practice.
 
"Frank talked to the guys about leadership and teamwork. I've never seen my guys listen so intently with their eyes that big," said Chipman, who played at K-State from 1971-73 after transferring from Genesee Community College. "I remember him saying, 'Selfish people are always lonely people some day.' He talked about how a player can be a great leader without scoring a lot of points."
 
In addition, Chipman said that Martin has been helpful throughout the years in helping his staff identify players, helping with auctions to help Washburn University, and allowing his staff to view practices.
 
"I think I'm too tough on our guys at times, but after watching his practices, I'm not tough enough," quipped Chipman. But he added, "Jack (Hartman) was just as tough if not tougher."
 
Chipman, who was a part of 42 victories in his two K-State seasons, recalled being constantly in and out of the lineup as a junior, but as a senior starting a few games.
 
"I had a good run in several games, but he never said anything good to me," recalled Chipman. "I think I had 20 points against Missouri and a big game against Oklahoma State, so I was waiting for him to come by and say something positive. He came to my locker, shook my hand and said, 'Darn it, get a haircut.' But that was old-school, but you can't do that today."
 
Chipman's most recent K-State high was following his daughter, Kelsey, with the Wildcat volleyball team the last four years, which included all of the home matches played in Ahearn Field House, where he had played his college basketball.
 
"That was neat, and then I had flashbacks because it seemed like every arena where she played matches were in the same facility that I played in," said Chipman, who today is coaching his son, Bobby, with the Ichabods.
 
UP NEXT: K-State opens its regular season on Friday night at 8 against James Madison in Bramlage Coliseum.