Hot Shooting Carries K-State to 71-64 win

Postgame Notes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas State used a stellar first half of shooting, hitting 82.4 percent of its field goal attempts, en route to defeating Texas A&M, 71-64, for its third straight victory on Saturday at the seventh annual Wildcat Classic before 14,884 at the Sprint Center.

The Wildcats connected on a season-best 61.5 percent (24-of-39) from the field, which was the highest in a game since connecting on 62.8 percent vs. Nebraska on Feb. 4, 2004. The squad is now a perfect 6-0 when scoring 70 or more points this season, and 34-7 all-time under head coach Bruce Weber.

The Basics
Final Score: Kansas State 71, Texas A&M 64
Records: Kansas State (7-4, 0-0 Big 12); Texas A&M (7-3, 0-0 SEC)
Attendance: 14,884 (paid)
Next Game: Sunday, Dec. 28 \\ vs. Texas Southern \\ 2 p.m. CT \\ FOX Sports Midwest

The Short Story
•    Senior Nino Williams once again headed the show for K-State, leading 4 Wildcats in double figures with 17 points... It marked the third straight game Williams has led the team in scoring and his fifth-straight game this season with 10 points or better... Williams was 6-of-8 from the field, including 5-of-7 from the line to go along with 1 assist and 1 steal.
•    Joining Williams in double figures were Thomas Gipson, Marcus Foster and Wesley Iwundu...Gipson finished the contest with 14 points and a team-leading 6 rebounds... His 50th career game in double figures put him at 999 points for his career... The senior was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
•    Both Foster and Iwundu scored 10 points apiece... Foster pitched in 4 assists to lead the `Cats in the category for a second-straight game, while Iwundu came off the bench to go a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and record his second double-digit scoring game of the season.
•    The Wildcats hit a season-best 61.5 percent (24-of-39) of their attempts from the field... The success rate was the highest by a Wildcat squad under head coach Bruce Weber... Elsewhere, the Wildcats finished 4-of-12 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range and 19-of-30 (63.3 percent) from the free throw line.
•    Much of K-State's success from the field came due to an impressive first half shooting display that saw K-State hit 14 of its 17 field goal tries for an 82.4 percent success rate... The first half shooting display was the third-best performance ever in a half by a K-State team... The last time K-State hit 80 percent or better from the field was Feb. 19, 1994, against Oklahoma (85 percent).
•    The Wildcats have shot better than 50 percent from the field in 6 games.
•    Texas A&M held a narrow advantage in the paint, outrebounding the `Cats 25-to-24, while also picking up 40 points in the paint to K-State's 34... The Aggies also dished out 15 assists on 25 baskets made compared to K-State's 13 assists on 24 converted attempts.
•    Both teams played near-mistake free basketball, as K-State tied its third-lowest turnover total of the season with 12... Texas A&M coughed up the ball only six times - a season low for both K-State in turnovers forced and for the Aggies in miscues... K-State cashed in with 12 points on the Aggies' miscues, while Texas A&M picked up 14 points off turnovers.
•    K-State held the lead for 37:48 of the game's 40 minutes... Texas A&M never once held the lead... K-State's largest lead of the game of 14 points came at the 12:12 mark in the second half.

How It Happened  |  First Half
•    Buoyed by a stellar half of shooting, K-State headed into the locker room with a 39-32 lead... The Wildcats shot 82.4 percent from the field, missing only three of their 17 shot attempts.
•    Nino Williams led K-State in scoring with nine points in eight minutes played, while Wesley Iwundu pitched in another eight as well... Five Wildcats recorded five or more points in the first half.
•    Justin Edwards opened scoring for the `Cats, cashing in from deep to give K-State a quick 3-0 lead... The Aggies would respond soon after with a three of their own, but the Wildcats controlled play early, jumping out to a 14-7 advantage five minutes into the contest.
•    After a jumper by Jordan Green closed the gap to 14-11 at the 13:47 mark, the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to give them their first double-digit lead of the game... Trading baskets following the short run, K-State would gain their largest lead of the half at 31-20 thanks to a Marcus Foster 3-pointer - his lone basket in the game's opening 20 minutes.
•    The final six minutes of the first half saw Texas A&M narrowly outscore K-State, 12-8... Malek Harris closed out scoring, hitting 1-of-2 from the free throw line to make the score 39-32 Wildcats.
•    Along with hitting 14-of-17 from the field, K-State was 2-of-3 from deep and 9-of-11 from charity stripe... The 88.1 percent success rate from the free throw line marked the third-straight game K-State had shot 80 percent or better in the first half... The Aggies also shot well, hitting exactly half of their attempts from the field (12-of-24), including 2-of-2 from three and adding another six points from the line (6-of-7).
•    Despite picking up two fouls in eight minutes, Williams paced play for the Wildcats, connecting on 3-of-4 from the field, as well as going a perfect 3-for-3 from the line... Iwundu's 8 points came courtesy of 4-of-4 shooting...Edwards (2-of-2), Harris (1-of-1), and Foster (1-of-1) were also perfect from the field.
•    Both teams hauled in 8 rebounds and dished out 7 assists, while the Aggies forced 8 turnovers to K-State's five... Led by Iwundu, the Wildcats outscored the Aggies' bench, 12-8, and held serve in the paint picking up 20 points to Texas A&M's 16.   

How It Happened  |  Second Half
•    The Wildcats staved off a late Aggie run, as well as some poor free throw shooting to notch the 71-64 victory... After shooting over 80 percent from the field in the first half, the Wildcats cooled to 45.5 percent in the second.
•    Gipson led the Wildcats in scoring with 9 points, while Williams and Foster added 8 and 7 points, respectively... Foster dished out 3 assists, while Gipson racked up another 4 boards to finish the contest with 6... Williams mirrored his first half performance, going 3-of-4 from the field, including 2-of-4 from the free throw line.
•    K-State came out of the gate firing on all cylinders... The Wildcats took their largest lead of the game, 50-36, at the 12:12 mark thanks to an 11-4 run to open the second half... The Aggies would not cut the lead to single digits until the 4:41 mark when Kourtney Roberson converted a lay-up to close the Wildcat lead to 61-52.
•    Controlling play for almost the entirety of the second half, the Wildcats ran into some trouble with a little over three minutes to play... Leading 65-56, K-State saw Texas A&M score five unanswered to make the contest 65-61 with 1:15 remaining... Neither team would score again until Williams hit a free throw with 30 seconds left, breaking a stretch that saw K-State go 0-of-6 from the line in the span of two minutes.
•    A late 3-pointer from Antwan Space would make the game 68-64 with 15 seconds remaining, but the Wildcats were able to ice the game thanks to a combined three made free throws on four attempts from Foster and Jevon Thomas.
•    Both teams shot decently from the field in the game's final half, with K-State converting 10-of-22 field goal tries and the Aggies connecting on 13-of-27 attempts... Neither team found much success from deep or the free throw line though, with Texas A&M going a dismal 1-of-7 from 3-point range and converting only half of its free throw attempts (5-of-10)... The Wildcats didn't fare much better, hitting 2-of-9 tries from deep and making only 10 of their 19 attempts from the charity stripe.

Beyond the Boxscore
•    K-State is riding a season-long 3-game winning streak and has won 4 of its last 5 games.
•    K-State is now 6-0 at home venues (5-0 at Bramlage Coliseum and 1-0 at the Sprint Center).
•    K-State is now 97-25 in non-conference play since 2006-07, including 7-2 in regular-season non-conference games at the Sprint Center.
•    K-State is 28-9 in non-conference play under head coach Bruce Weber, including 18-1 in home games.
•    K-State moves to 11-9 all-time at the Sprint Center, including 6-1 in Wildcat Classic games... The Wildcats have won 3 straight games over SEC foes in the Wildcat Classic (Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M).
•    K-State is now 107-76 all-time in Kansas City dating back to the first match-up in 1926.
•    K-State now leads the all-time series with Texas A&M, 18-7, including 11-0 in games played in home venues (10-0 at Bramlage Coliseum and 1-0 at the Sprint Center)... The Wildcats are now 4-1 vs. the Aggies in games played in Kansas City, including 1-1 at the Sprint Center.

Quotable
•    "Obviously, playing here is a special opportunity for our kids. I kept telling them all week that we need to take advantage of that and make the most of the opportunity. They announced that there were almost 15,000 people here and to have that crowd is great to energize. We also told them that they have to feed the crowd and they cannot just feed off of the crowd. I thought we played pretty good basketball...They [Texas A&M] are a good team, they have got good players, and it was a good experience for us. Hopefully we can feed off of this and relax a little bit." said head coach Bruce Weber.   

Up Next
•    K-State will take an eight-day break for the holidays before returning to court on Sunday, Dec. 28 to host Texas Southern (2-9) at Bramlage Coliseum. The game will tip off at 2 p.m. and will air on FOX Sports Midwest. Tickets are available by calling the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets.