K-State pulls away from Savannah State in second half

Courtesy: K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State connected on a season-high 70 percent from the field in the second half, as the Wildcats racked up their fifth straight win at home with a 73-53 victory over Savannah State on Sunday before 12,266 at Bramlage Coliseum.

The win also extended K-State’s streak of consecutive home wins in December to 38. The Wildcats are now a perfect 5-0 when scoring 70 or more points this season, and 33-7 all-time under head coach Bruce Weber. In addition, the squad moved to 30-3 under Weber when holding an opponent to 60 points or less.

The Basics
Final Score: Kansas State 73, Savannah State 53
Records: Kansas State (6-4, 0-0 Big 12); Savannah State (3-8, 0-0 MEAC)
Attendance: 12,266 (paid)
Next Game: Saturday, Dec. 20 \\ vs. Texas A&M (Sprint Center) \\ 6 p.m. CT \\ ESPNU

The Short Story
• Senior Nino Williams led three Wildcats in double figures with a career-tying 20 points… He also scored 20 at Baylor (2/15/14) in a double-overtime loss… It marked his sixth double-digit scoring game of the season, including his fourth in a row, as he went 6-of-8 from the field, including 8-of-8 at the line.
• Williams’ 75 percent success rate from the field marked a season-best and was the fifth time this season he has shot 50 percent or better…Williams also led the team in rebounds with 7.
• Rounding out the Wildcats’ trio in double-digit scoring were Marcus Foster and Thomas Gipson…Foster finished the night with 13 points, including a team-high 7 assists, while Gipson recorded all his 10 points in the second half to go along with 3 boards and 1 block.
• Senior Brian Rohleder played a career-high 16 minutes, recording two points, one assist and one block, as well as drawing three-straight charges in one sequence during the first half… He, along with eight other Wildcats, registered scoring performances on the evening.
• Holding the Tigers to 53 points, K-State has now held 33 opponents to 60 points or less under Weber…This marked the second-straight game K-State has accomplished the feat this season.
• K-State finished the evening converting on 58.5 percent (24-of-41) of its attempts from the field, including 45.5 percent (5-of-11) shooting from 3-point range and 71.4 percent (20-of-28) shooting from the line…The Wildcats’ field goal success rate was second only to their performance against Southern Utah (58.7 percent) this season – also the highest rate in the Weber era.
• The Wildcats dominated the glass, out-rebounding Savannah State 34-20…They also racked up 19 assists on 24 made attempts… Both teams recorded 30 points scored in the paint, while K-State cashed in 13 points on 15 Savannah State turnovers.
• K-State held the lead for 39:01 of the contest’s 40 minutes, with its largest lead, 23, coming at the 1:58 mark in the second half.

How It Happened | First Half
• In a sloppy half that included the teams combining for 21 personal fouls and 18 turnovers, the Wildcats were able to keep the Tigers at bay, 30-23, thanks to 10 first-half points from Williams and 8-of-10 team shooting from the free throw line.
• Action got off to a quick start with Foster connecting with Justin Edwards on an alley-oop for the first basket of the game… Edwards would notch the first two baskets for the Wildcats, but saw only four minutes of action after committing two early personal fouls.
• The Wildcats, as a whole, were in foul trouble early with Savannah State hitting the bonus at the 13:25 mark and three players, Edwards, Thomas Gipson and Wesley Iwundu, committing two fouls each… Savannah State did not take advantage, going 5-of-11 from the line for the half.
• Both teams struggled to convert from the field, as K-State led Savannah State 20-14 at the 6:01 mark… The teams traded threes soon after, closing the half with the Wildcats outscoring the Tigers, 10-9… Terel Hall’s layup as time expired cut the Wildcats’ lead to seven.
• K-State connected on 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from the field, including 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range, while Savannah State hit 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) field goal attempts, including 2-of-7 (28.6 percent) attempts from beyond the arc… The Wildcats recorded nine assists on their 10 baskets made.
• Williams’ 10 points led the way, on 3-of-5 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from the line… Hall led the Tigers with 9 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and hit 3-of-4 attempts from the free throw line.
• K-State dominated the paint, scoring 16 points to Savannah State’s 10, while the teams’ benches contributed nine and eight points, respectively…The Wildcats out-rebounded the Tigers 15-to-12 and notched three blocks as well.

How It Happened | Second Half
• The Wildcats caught fire in the second, converting a gaudy 70 percent (14-of-20) of their attempts from the field en route to securing a 20-point blowout win over the Tigers… The second half field goal percentage was the highest by K-State this season and the first time since Jan. 7, 2006 that the ‘Cats had converted on 70 percent or better of their attempts in a half.
• Williams mirrored his first half performance, tacking on another 10 points to go along with 4 boards… Both Foster and Gipson recorded 10 points in the half as well to give the Wildcats three scorers in double-digits for the game.
• Despite the hot start to the half for K-State, Savannah State would not go away, taking advantage of 3 turnovers by the Wildcats midway through the second half to go on an 8-0 run… The run cut K-State’s lead to 47-41 with 10:20 to play.
• The Wildcats would pull away from there though, going on a 10-0 run of their own to balloon the lead to 57-41 with a little over six minutes left in the half… Following the run, K-State closed out the contest out-scoring the Tigers 16-12.
• Both teams had considerably more success on the offensive end in the second half… Along with the 70 percent shooting from the field, K-State was 3-of-5 from 3-point range and 12-of-18 from the charity stripe… Savannah State converted 44.8 percent (13-of-29) of its field goal attempts, went 0-of-2 from three and 4-of-6 from the line in the closing half.

Beyond the Boxscore
• With the win, K-State has won 38 consecutive home games in December dating back to 2004… Overall, the Wildcats are 50-9 in the month since 2006.
• This was the 4th meeting these teams have faced one another on the hardwood and the first since 2010… With the win, the Wildcats are now a perfect 4-0 against the Tigers and 26-0 all-time against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
• K-State is now 16-2 under Bruce Weber in December with 11 straight home wins dating back to 2012.
• K-State is now 70-3 at home in non-conference play dating back to 2006-07, including a 68-2 mark during the regular season… The squad has won 59 of its last 60 non-conference home games.
• Weber is 37-3 at Bramlage Coliseum since taking over as head coach at K-State with losses to No. 3 Kansas (2012), Northern Colorado (2013) and Baylor (2013)… Those 3 losses came by a total of 8 points.

• “It was a little more of a grind-out game than I had hoped or anticipated. I guess they must have watched the Bradley tape and said hey, we are going to make them defend. I think they maybe ran one of their sets and then they just made us guard. We got into foul trouble early. We did not have great mixes, and we had some guys that played extended minutes. We still guarded pretty well and gave them a goal to keep it under 55, and they did that. There was still some questionable decision making, but I think we were hard on ourselves. We want to make them play on the first action, which is not always there. Sometimes it is not the passing but more of the decision making or the quick shot that makes a difference. These two guys to my right and left [Nino Williams and Brian Rohleder] were big time. Nino has been very consistent. He has been our best player. He is always happy, comes to practice, and plays with great energy. He has been banged up a little bit, but every day he gives his all. I could not be happier for him. Rohleder has been great in practice. He played his heart out, almost to exhaustion. I told him he would be playing with these seniors today because the way he has practiced deserves a chance to play. Guys do not always compete in practice, but he does and he got rewarded with three straight charges. He maybe played too much and got a little tired, but we really appreciate his attitude. If both of their attitudes could be contagious then it would help us.”” said head coach Bruce Weber.

Up Next
• K-State will take the week off for semester exams before returning to action on Saturday, Dec. 20 against former Big 12 foe Texas A&M (7-2) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri for the Wildcat Classic. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. and will air nationally on ESPNU.

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