Defense Surges Wildcats to Winning Streak

"I thought we jumped on them pretty well from the start," said head coach Bruce Weber. "We had a nice, comfortable lead, but they put some pressure on us and just kept coming at us. We had to have some mature play down the stretch, and we got enough stops when it counted. It was a maturity game coming back from the really good game against Oklahoma. We had to earn the victory and we did it; we fought and won the victory."
The Wildcats' current three-game winning streak has been surged by their solid defensive effort as K-State held each team (TCU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech) to under their season averages and, against TCU, its lowest scoring performance of the year. 
The Wildcats have held 10-straight opponents to under 65 points, marking the longest such streak since K-State went 17 games during the 1982-83 season.
"Defense is our team," said sophomore Wesley Iwundu, who finished the game with 10 points and four rebounds. "We strive on defense, defense first and then we make plays off that. That's our identity. We want to lock teams down and then we can make plays from there."
However, while the K-State defense has been impressive as of recent, it's not just this season that the Wildcats' defense has been key.
"(Our defense) is a key to having success," said Weber. "I think even our first year we weren't very good offensively for a while, and then we slowly matured and figured some things out, but our defense gave us a chance. Then last year, we came back from Puerto Rico and we said we were going to guard people. That helped us win 10 in a row and helped us win games at home. Now, you do that on the road, take care of the ball and focus like we did at Oklahoma, and you can find a way to get big wins like that."
Sophomore guard Marcus Foster led K-State in both scoring with 14 points and rebounding with five boards, while he also dished out a game-high four assists. Echoing Weber and Iwundu, Foster also noted defense is crucial to continuing strong during Big 12 play.
"We can't stay complacent," Foster began. "We just have to keep defending, even if we get up, we have to keep defending and put away teams. We can't let them stick around because that's how they get confidence. (Texas Tech) got confidence and kept hitting shots, but we just had to grind it out; that's how we were able to win. I feel like almost all our games are going to be like this in the Big 12 because every team is so good."
With seven of the conference's 10 teams ranked in the top 25, the road down Big 12 play will only only continue to get tougher. However, riding a three-game winning streak, the Wildcats have sparked a new mentality. 
On whether or not the team's confidence has risen Weber said, "I hope it has, but we have to stay even-keeled, that's the biggest thing. I want to be focused, emotional, have fun and enjoy it, but also, all we can worry about is Saturday against Baylor, being ready and preparing. We have to be prepared for their zone and come with great emotion."
Next up for the Wildcats is a matchup against the No. 22/23 Baylor Bears (13-3, 2-2 Big 12) on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., in Bramlage Coliseum. Coming off of an intense, 74-73 win over No. 11/13 Iowa State last night, the Bears, like every Big 12 team, will be no easy matchup.
"Hopefully we'll have some students coming back and we'll have a great crowd on Saturday," said Weber. "We'll need some energy in the building."
For stats, photos, quotes and more from last night's win, please click here
 

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