Nov. 13, 2013
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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Freshman Marcus Foster scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-12 field goals, including four 3-pointers, as Kansas State earned its first win of the season with a 71-63 win over Oral Roberts on Wednesday at Bramlage Coliseum.
Foster’s 25 points were the most by a freshman in more than five years since Michael Beasley also scored 25 points against Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center on March 14, 2008. He is the freshman to post a 20-point game since Thomas Gipson in 2011.
Joining Foster in double figures were sophomore D.J. Johnson and senior Will Spradling. Johnson, who had a near double-double against Northern Colorado on Friday, tallied 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds in 28 minutes. Spradling scored 10 points to go with game-tying five assists. Senior Shane Southwell, who was hampered by foul trouble all night, had seven points and five rebounds in 21 minutes, while freshman Nigel Johnson dished out five assists to go with his five points.
Still in a slumber after losing their first home opener since 1993, the Wildcats (1-1) had to crawl out of hole early against the Golden Eagles (1-1), falling behind 16-4 after a pair of free throws by Shawn Glover with 11 minutes to play in the first half. The squad missed eight of its first nine shots.
With K-State struggling for a spark, Foster answered the call. The freshman scored the team’s next 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Wildcats closed to within 17-14 on his second trey with 8:34 remaining in the first half. A pair of free throws by Nigel Johnson and a lay-up by fellow freshman Wesley Iwundu gave the squad its first lead at 18-17 with 7:21 to play.
With the score knotted at 26-all, the Wildcats were able to close the half on a 4-1 run to take a 30-27 edge into the lockerroom capped by a dunk by D.J. Johnson with five seconds remaining.
“I just noticed that our team was looking a little sluggish and we needed a little spark, so I think I am pretty good scorer,” said Foster. “I decided to take it upon myself to get my team going on offense. It got everybody going and then we just made a run and got back in the game.”
K-State continued its momentum in the second half, building the lead to 37-29 after a jumper by D.J. Johnson at the 18:02 mark. ORU was able to close to within 39-37 just a few minutes later on a dunk by sophomore Obi Emegano, but the Wildcats quickly scored eight of the next 10 points to push the lead back out to eight at 47-39 capped by a Foster 3-pointer.
The lead was built to as many as 12 points in the second half after an old-fashioned 3-point play by Spradling with 8:30 to play. However, ORU would not wilt under the pressure, cutting the deficit to five points at 62-57 with 3:20 play after a 3-pointer by Korey Billbury.
The Wildcats responded with a 5-0 spurt to push the edge back to double figures on another free throw by Spradling at the 2:19 mark. Again, the Golden Eagles cut the advantage to five points with 28 seconds remaining, but Nigel Johnson and Spradling were able to knock down 3-of-4 free throw to seal the win.
After starting the game 1-of-9 from the field, the Wildcats recovered to connect on 50 percent (23-of-46) of its field goals against the Golden Eagles, including 57.1 percent (12-of-21) in the second half. The squad also shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range and hit on 66.7 percent (20-of-30) from the free throw line. K-State held a slight edge in rebounding, 32-30, and held a 34-28 advantage on points in the paint.
K-State held ORU to 37.3 percent (19-of-51) shooting from the field, including just 10 percent (1-of-10) from 3-point range. However, the Golden Eagles were clutch from the free throw line, knocking down 24-of-30 attempts, in a game where 50 fouls were called.
Emegano led the way for ORU with 24 points, including a 12-of-15 effort from the charity stripe. Glover had a near double-double with 21 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
K-State returns to action on Sunday, Nov. 17, as the Wildcats concluded their four-game homestand against Long Beach State (1-1) at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for as low as $15 through the Athletics Ticket Office by calling (800) 221-CATS. The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Kansas City.