Wildcats Win Exhibition Opener vs. Washburn

Opening its solo exhibition game with three consecutive 3-pointers to take a quick 9-0 lead over Washburn, K-State went on to beat the Ichabods, 68-56, and the 12,319 fans in attendance got their first look at the 2014-15 team in action.
However, though the opening minutes were filled with excitement from the Wildcat offense, the team did not display that intensity the entirety of the game. 
"You always hope to play better, but this was a game where we need to get experience," said K-State head coach Bruce Weber. "Out of starting lineup three guys are sophomores, they had some experience last year, but they're still young, they're still underclassmen, they're still learning new roles. We had some good moments, but we had some moments where we were a little discombobulated. It was a chance to run up and down and get some game conditioning and learn something from it."
Yesterday's starting lineup featured senior forward Thomas Gipson, junior guard Justin Edwards and sophomore guards Marcus Foster, Nigel Johnson and Jevon Thomas, and with senior Nino Williams, sophomore Wesley Iwundu and freshman Malek Harris all benched nursing injuries, the Wildcats were forced to play more minutes than usual.
"We need more players out there," said Edwards, who scored 14 points in his Wildcat debut, after the game. "It was kind of hard, because we just learned the offense with me running the four (position), so that was different. We couldn't run all the offense because I didn't know all the offenses that the four runs. So I think on Friday we can just get up more on our offense, score more and get a few stops."
Though the team came away with the win, it wasn't all pretty, K-State finished the game with 16 turnovers and 19 personal fouls. It shot 44.1 percent (26-of-59) from the field, it hit 35.7 percent (9-of-28) from behind the arc.  
"We can't have as many turnovers, we have to rebound better and we have to make an improvement," said Weber when asked what he hopes to improve on before the team's next game. "We had some good possessions, though. I've talked to the guys about maturity all along: part of maturity is when you get up 10 or 12 points, you get a couple stops, work them, then you break the game open. But (today) every time we got up about 10 points, we tried to make plays on our own and didn't get back. We let them back in the game. So I hope we can get better at that." 
Continuing his success from last year, Foster led the game in both scoring and rebounding as he put away 17 points (on 6-of-14 shooting) and grabbed six rebounds. 
"That's just Marcus," Thomas, who led the game with eight assists, answered when asked about Foster opening his sophomore season shooting back-to-back 3-pointers. "He's going to start off hot, he's going to start off playing he's going to get the crowd going and get everybody going, then we feed off each others' energy."
Yesterday's game marked the third Big 12 matchup for the Washburn in six days. Ichabod head coach and former K-State basketball player Bob Chipman jokingly called his team's stretch against Big 12 teams the "confidence tour," as Washburn opened the series with a matchup against the University of Kansas (lost, 85-53) followed by a game against Oklahoma (lost, 73-48).
With a first-hand knowledge of a few of K-State's Big 12 foes, Chipman compared K-State to Kansas and Oklahoma, and paid a compliment to the Wildcat defense. 
"Obviously they didn't have all their pieces today, but knowing Bruce and how Bruce is, their defense is going to be one of the best in the country. He's going to get them there when they get all the pieces back. KU's (defense) was playing hard there, Coach Kruger (Oklahoma) who has had an offensive mindset was playing better there, but K-State I really think is going to be the best (on defense)." 
A 1973 K-State alumni and former Wildcat men's basketball player, during his time with K-State men's basketball Bob Chipman helped the Wildcats to 42 wins and a pair of Big Eight titles while averaging 5.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in his two-year career. 
Chipman is in his 36th season as the Ichabods' head coach, but enjoyed having the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon back in Manhattan. 
"Coach Weber, he is so great to us, he's helped me with things he thinks we're really good at or maybe not so good at, so he's been a huge help," said Chipman after the game. "And the program, it's obviously my alma mater, so I really love what he's doing with it."
K-State men's basketball returns to Bramlage Coliseum on Friday evening with a matchup against Southern Utah. The first game of the 2014-15 season, Friday's game will tip off at 8 p.m. and will be aired on FOX Sports Kansas City. 
It will be the second game of a doubleheader with the women's team opening up against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the doubleheader start as low as $12.50 with a Wildcat 4 Pack for $50. Single tickets start at just $15. Fans with men's or women's basketball season tickets can attend both games but are asked to sit in general admission sections for the game for which they do not have a ticket.
For the Wildcats' full schedule, click here.  
A look at yesterday's game:
 
 

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