Tough Road Competition Awaits K-State
The Wildcats enter tonight's game following their first Big 12 Conference win, a 58-53 triumph over TCU on Wednesday, but the Sooners are also coming off of a win - a big one.
Last Monday evening, Oklahoma earned its first true road win over an AP top-10 opponent in 22 years when it downed No. 10 Texas, 70-49, in Austin. Five Sooners scored in the double digits as Oklahoma held a talented Texas team to just 30-percent shooting.
"I think right now, just from that game, that they might be the best team in the league," said K-State head coach Bruce Weber. "We'll see as it goes, but obviously to do what they did to Texas in Austin, that's impressive."
The Sooners' rounded offense is led by junior guard Buddy Hield, who is averaging 15.8 points per game, while two other players - Isaiah Cousins at 13.4 and TaShawn Thomas at 11.8 - are also scoring in the double figures.
While the Sooners' offense will be a tough one to defend, their defense is among the nation's most disciplined as well. The Sooners are one of just six teams nationally to have held opponents to 69 points or less in every game of the 2014-15 season.
"I think the most impressive things is their defense," said Weber. "They seem to be everywhere and just took Texas out of their game."
Winning on the road in the Big 12 is no easy task, but K-State knows it has what it takes to get the job done.
"(We need to) just keep a positive attitude," said sophomore forward Wesley Iwundu when asked about the importance of winning on the road. "We need to come every day in practice and get better. (If we) buy into what the coaches are telling us, we should take off."
And perhaps, especially with the recent surge of sophomore guard Marcus Foster, the Wildcats are on the brink of taking off.
Despite the first "slump" of his career, Foster is back.
"(I'm) just getting it back, playing hard, doing the things I do well," said Foster after his 23-point performance against TCU on Wednesday evening. "When you get down to it, I got away from those things that I did last year. I am back; I got my mind back. I think I am ready for the rest of the Big 12."
While the sophomore sharp-shooter from Wichita Falls, Texas, is averaging a team-leading 13.7 points per game this season, Foster had totaled just two points in two consecutive games against Georgia and Oklahoma State before Wednesday night's win over TCU.
"It was tough," said Foster about his back-to-back down performances. "It was something I haven't been through in a while, but I think it humbled me more than anything, so it was something good for me to go through."
Along with Foster, K-State seniors Thomas Gipson (averaging 11.7 points per game) and Nino Williams (averaging 11.1 points per game) are also scoring in the double-digits, while Williams leads the team in rebounding at 4.9 per game and Gipson leads the team with 12 blocks.
Regardless of the path K-State has taken to get to this point in its season, the past is the past, it's still early in Big 12 play and the future is theirs for the taking.
"I keep telling them, you can't dwell in the past, you can't worry about the future you can just focus on today," said Weber. "I thought we did a good job of focusing and preparing for (TCU) and now we have to do the same thing for (OU)."
Tonight's game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. For more on tonight's Big 12 matchup, please click here.
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