Bench Boosts K-State Over Ole Miss, 69-64




13-8 (3-5 SEC)

13-8 (2-6 Big 12)

A. Perez: 13pts, 2rebs, 1stl
S. Moody: 10pts, 5asts, 1reb
M. Hymon: 8pts, 4rebs, 2stls

D. Johnson: 14pts, 7rebs, 2stls
W. Iwundu: 11pts, 6rebs, 3asts
J. Edwards: 10pts, 4rebs, 3stls

Ole Miss 36 28 64
K-State 38 31 69

MANHATTAN, Kan. - K-State used a monstrous 19-2 second-half run to secure a win over Ole Miss, 69-64, in the third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday afternoon before a sold-out crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.

The victory was K-State’s second over Ole Miss in the Big 12/SEC Challenge in the past three seasons with the other coming against the Rebels in Manhattan, 61-58, on Dec. 5, 2013. The Wildcats are now 3-1 against four different SEC opponents this season. 

K-State climbed to an advantage at the half on 50 percent shooting (13-of-26) and 76.9 percent free throw shooting (10-of-13). An early 19-2 run in the second half propelled the Wildcats to a game-high lead of 18 points despite shooting only 41.7 percent (10-of-24). The squad finished at 46 percent (23-of-50), including 66.7 percent (20-of-30) from the charity stripe.

Junior D.J. Johnson led the Wildcats across the board with 14 points and 7 rebounds as his junior running mate Wesley Iwundu scored 11 points to get into double figures for the 30th time in his career. Seniors Justin Edwards and Stephen Hurt were the other Wildcats to hit double digit scoring, both notching 10 points.

K-State’s boost off the bench came in the forms of juniors Austin Budke and Carlbe Ervin II. Budke posted 4 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 21 minutes, while Ervin recorded a line of 7 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists in his 24 minutes. The bench has now posted 20 or more points in 7 of the last 9 games.

Ole Miss (13-8, 3-2 SEC), which just snapped a four-game losing streak with a win over Auburn Wednesday, shot just 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the field and were forced into 17 turnovers. 

Senior Anthony Perez was 3-of-4 from long distance en route to a team-high 13 points for the Rebels, while fellow senior Stefan Moody pitched in 10 points and 5 assists. Moody entered the game with an SEC-best 24.6 points per game, an average that ranks sixth nationally.

The Basics
Final Score: Kansas State 69, Ole Miss 64
Records: Kansas State 13-8, 2-6 Big 12 // Ole Miss 13-8, 3-5 SEC
Attendance: 12,528
Next Game: Wednesday, Feb. 3 // at 4/3 Kansas // 8 p.m. CT // ESPN2

The Short Story
K-State improved its Big 12/SEC Challenge record to 2-1 with its second win over Ole Miss in three seasons, 69-64, on Saturday before 12,528 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
The first half featured 6 lead changes and 3 ties, but the Wildcats used a 19-2 second-half run to hold the lead for the final 20 minutes.
Juniors D.J. Johnson and Wesley Iwundu led a balanced attack with 14 and 11 points, respectively with seniors Justin Edwards and Stephen Hurt both getting into double figures with 10 points each. Freshman Barry Brown and junior Carlbe Ervin II were close behind, both scoring 7 points.
The Wildcats are now 8-2 this season when four or more players register double figures.
The Rebels were led by senior Anthony Perez, who scored 13 points on 5-of-8 field goals.
K-State has now won two straight over Ole Miss dating back to the Wildcats’ 61-58 win over the Rebels in the inaugural Big 12/SEC Challenge in 2013. The Wildcats now trail the all-time series with Ole Miss to 2-3. 

How It Happened | First Half
Freshman Dean Wade opened up the scoring with an elbow jumper at the 18:03 mark followed by an Edwards’ 3-pointer 30 seconds later to draw a quick Ole Miss timeout.
Consecutive 3-pointers from Perez lifted Ole Miss to their first lead, 8-7, at the 15:17 mark, but K-State responded with a 9-0 run over the next 2:13 to double their advantage, 16-8.
The Rebels regained the lead, 20-18, after two Moody 3-pointers and pushed it to 24-19 with 6:30 to play before halftime.
The Wildcats went 8:35 of play without a made field goal before Edwards lay-in with 5:29 to play. Iwundu followed it with an old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game at 24. 
An end of shot clock 3-pointer and a lay-up from Ervin brought the game level at 33 by the final media timeout.
Iwundu’s tip-in with 25 seconds on the clock propelled K-State into the half with a 38-36 advantage after holding the Rebels without a field goal over the final 2:42.
K-State connected on 50 percent (13-of-26) of its field goals and 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the charity stripe, while Ole Miss shot 44 percent (11-of-25), including 50 percent (7-of-14) from beyond the arc.
Seven different Wildcats got on the board in the first half, led by Edwards’ 8 points.
K-State led the battle in the paint, 18-8, and out in fast breaks, 8-0. 

How It Happened | Second Half
K-State’s lead moved to 42-36 with an Ervin lay-up and a Hurt jumper at the 18:00 mark. 
The Wildcats then used an 8-0 burst to widen the margin, 52-43, with 11:48 remaining in the game.
K-State’s run lasted 6:35 and ballooned to 19-2 as the Wildcats’ advantage jumped to a game-high 18 points, 63-45, at the under eight timeout.
Ole Miss would end the game on a 13-3 run over the final 3:37 of play for the final 69-64 margin. 
Both teams connected on just one second half 3-pointer as K-State shot 41.7 percent (10-of-24) compared to just 35.5 percent (11-of-31) for Ole Miss. 
Johnson led all scorers with 8 points in the second half, including 4-of-4 from the free throw line, to go with 5 rebounds.

Beyond the Boxscore
K-State moves to 3-1 against SEC opponents this season with wins over Missouri, 66-42, on Nov. 23 and Georgia, 68-66, on Dec. 4… The lone defeat came at No. 25 Texas A&M, 78-68, on Dec. 12.
The win was K-State’s 10th in Bramlage Coliseum this season, marking 15 straight years with at least 10 wins at home in Manhattan… The Wildcats went a perfect 9-0 at home in non-conference play. 
K-State trails the overall series with Ole Miss, 3-2, but collected its second win over the Rebels in Manhattan in three seasons.
Johnson’s game-high 14 points also tied his career-high and marked the first time he has led the Wildcats in scoring for his career… His 7 rebounds led the team for the 5th time this season.
Edwards and Iwundu have scored in double figures a team-leading 16 times with this being Edwards’ third consecutive game with at least 10 points. 
Budke’s energy off the bench recorded a line of 4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal in 21 minutes.
K-State is now 12-2 this season when out-rebounding its opponent, posting a 36-29 advantage over Ole Miss… Five Wildcats pulled down at least 4 rebounds Johnson having collected at least 4 boards in each of the last 9 games.   

“He gives us a different dynamic, and we got him and Stephen (Hurt) in double figures,” said head coach Bruce Weber on Johnson’s performance. “DJ was our leading scorer for the first time and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line. All this time off, he worked on his free throws and his shooting. He gives us energy and defensively is so active.”

Up Next
K-State returns to Big 12 play on Wednesday, as the Wildcats make the short trek to Lawrence, Kan., to take on No. 4/3 Kansas (16-4, 5-3 Big 12) in the Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The team returns home on Saturday, Feb. 6 when they host No. 1/2 Oklahoma (17-2, 6-2 Big 12) at 5 p.m. CT.