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Balanced Attack Leads K-State Past Troy, 72-43


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GO WILDCATS

Dec. 15, 2013

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K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Senior Will Spradling and freshman Marcus Foster each scored 14 points, as Kansas State used a balanced attack to post a 72-43 win over Troy on Sunday at Bramlage Coliseum.

With the win, the Wildcats (7-3) ran their winning streak to a season-best five games, while they have now won six consecutive home games since losing the season opener to Northern Colorado.  

The win also extended the Wildcats' home winning streak in December to 34 games, which dates back to 2004. The team is 44-8 in the month since 2006, including 10-1 under head coach Bruce Weber. In addition, K-State has won 53 of its last 54 non-conference home games.

"We wrote on the board energy, effort, persistence and play as a team," said Weber. "I think we had great energy and set the tone of the game from the beginning with our defense. We controlled the boards, turned them over and were pretty active - much better than we were Tuesday night (against South Dakota). And, we really moved the basketball. I think the best stat on the stat sheet is our 24 assists and 28 baskets, so almost every basket we had an assist. It was a great job of sharing the basketball and moving it."

Foster and Spradling were among 11 Wildcats to score in the game, including walk-ons Brian Rohleder and Ryan Schultz. Foster has now reached in double figures in nine consecutive games despite playing a season-low 20 minutes. Spradling reached double figures for the third time this season with his season-high 14 points to go with a season-best four 3-pointers.

Junior Thomas Gipson also contributed nine points and a game-high seven rebounds, while senior Shane Southwell and junior Nino Williams each added seven points. Southwell also dished out a team-best seven assists with zero turnovers, along with five rebounds and a blocked shot in 26 minutes.

K-State also turned in another stellar effort on the defensive end, holding Troy to a season-low 43 points on 36.2 percent shooting (17-of-47), including 15.8 percent (3-of-19) from 3-point range. The Wildcats, who lead the Big 12 in both scoring defense and 3-point percentage defense, have now held seven of their last nine opponents to its season-low in points, including to 60 or less on five occasions.

The Wildcats forced the Trojans into 16 turnovers, scoring 20 points off those miscues, and held a 44-27 advantage on the glass, including 17 offensive rebounds.  The team has now out-rebounded their last six opponents by a margin of 251-183. The squad also scored 30 points in the paint and got 22 from its bench.

Spradling opened the game with a 3-pointer, enabling K-State to lead for good just 51 seconds into the contest. The shot spurred a quick 14-2 scoring run that ballooned to as many as 22 points, including 37-15 at halftime. The Trojans shot 28 percent (7-of-25) in the first half, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range, and had more turnovers (nine) than made field goals (seven).

The second half proved to be much the same as the first, as K-State scored 13 of the first 15 points to take a commanding 50-17 lead with 14:28 remaining.

With Weber substituting his starters, the Trojans were able to close to within 51-31 on a 3-pointer by Jeff Mullahey at the 10:24 mark. However, the Wildcats immediately responded with an 11-0 run capped by a pair of 3-pointers by Spradling to push the lead back out to 31 points with under seven minutes to play. The 33-point lead was equaled with 3:39 to play on a jumper by sophomore D.J. Johnson.

K-State's offense was efficient all day, as the squad recorded a season-high 24 assists on 28 made field goals to go with a season-low nine turnovers. The Wildcats connected on 43.1 percent (28-of-65), including 46.4 percent (13-of-28) in the second half.

Senior Antoine Myers led two Troy players in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-9 field goals in 34 minutes. Senior Wes Hinton chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds off the bench, while junior Kevin Thomas contributed eight points and seven rebounds.

K-State will take the week off for final Fall semester exams before returning to action on Saturday, Dec. 21 against nationally-ranked Gonzaga (9-1) in the Wichita Wildcat Classic at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. The game will tip off at 2:30 p.m. and air nationally on ESPN2.

Tickets for the game at INTRUST Bank Arena can be purchased for as low as $12 through the Wichita Wildcat Classic website at www.PaintWichitaPurple.com as well as through all Select-A-Seat locations at www.SelectASeat.com or by calling (855) 755.7328.