Balanced effort carries K-State past Cowboys

Courtesy: Kansas State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Senior Nino Williams posted his second straight 20-point game to lead a balanced Kansas State attack in a 63-53 win over Oklahoma State Saturday before a sellout crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State (12-8, 5-2 Big 12) held the lead for all but 14 seconds of the game, as the Wildcats connected on 57.1 percent (24-of-42) from the field, including 75 percent (12-of-16) in the second half. It was the highest shooting percentage in a Big 12 game since the squad shot 57.4 percent (27-of-47) at Iowa State on Jan. 7, 2006.

The Wildcats were equally impressive on defense, as Oklahoma State (13-6, 3-4 Big 12) was held to its second-lowest point total and a tie for their fewest made 3-point field goals (3) this season. The team has now held 38 opponents to 60 points or less in head coach Bruce Weber’s three seasons, including 18 Big 12 foes.

Williams paced three Wildcats in double figures with his fourth career 20-point game, including his third this season, he went 10-of-13 from the field with a game-high seven rebounds. Sophomore Marcus Foster and junior Justin Edwards each added 14 points, as the team moved to 8-2 when three or more players score in double digits.

The Basics
Final Score: Kansas State 63, Oklahoma State 53
Records: Kansas State (12-8, 5-2 Big 12); Oklahoma State (13-6, 3-4 Big 12)
Attendance: 12,528 (paid)
Next Game: Tuesday, Jan. 27 \\ vs. 18/17 West Virginia (16-3, 4-2 Big 12) \\ 6 p.m. CT \\ ESPN2

The Short Story
• K-State played perhaps its best all-around game, scoring 63 points on 57.1 percent shooting, including 75 percent in the second half, while holding Oklahoma State to its second-fewest points (53) on 43.2 percent shooting. The Cowboys were held to season-lows in 3-point field goals (3) and rebounds (19).
• K-State led for 39:46 of the contest with only one tie for 14 seconds.
• The Wildcats have now held 38 opponents to 60 points or less in Bruce Weber’s three seasons as head coach, including 18 Big 12 foes. The squad is 33-5 mark in those contests, including 17-1 vs. the Big 12.
• The 57.1 field goal percentage was the highest vs. a Big 12 opponent since connecting on 57.4 percent (27-of-47) at Iowa State on Jan. 7, 2006. It was fifth-highest overall this season.
• K-State has now connected on 50 percent or better in game 8 times this season, including twice in Big 12 play. The team connected on 75 percent (12-of-16) in the second half, which was the second-highest percentage in a half this season and the highest in a second half.
• K-State moved to 8-2 on the season when three or more players score in double figures, as Williams led the way for the third straight game with his second consecutive 20-point game and his third this season. He has tallied 60 points in his last 3 games, including 58 in the last 5 halves.
• Edwards and Foster both scored 14 points, while Foster had a team-high 5 assists and Edwards a team-best 3 steals. In all, seven different Wildcats scored in the contest.
• 35 of Oklahoma State’s 53 points came from Phil Forte (22) and Le’Bryan Nash (13), who combined to shoot 47.7 percent (9-of-19) from the field. The rest of the team shot 38.8 percent (7-of-18).
• Both teams shot better than 80 percent from the free throw line with Oklahoma State shooting 81.8 percent (18-of-22) and K-State 81.3 percent (13-of-16). Forte went a perfect 10-of-10 from the line.

How It Happened | First Half
• K-State scored the first six points of the game, including two free throws from a technical foul issued to Oklahoma State’s bench, with only 55 seconds elapsed from the clock.
• The Wildcats pushed the lead to double digits at 23-13 on a jumper by Williams with 8 to play then extended it to a game-high 14 (31-17) on a pair of Foster free throws at the 2:02 mark.
• The Cowboys scored the final four points of the half with a pair of free throws and a lay-up by Nash to cut the deficit, 31-21, at the half.
• K-State limited its first half turnovers to just 1, while connecting on 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from the field. Oklahoma State shot just 35.0 percent (7-of-20) shooting in the first half.
• Williams led all scorers with 12 points in the first half on 6-of-6 field goals to go with 5 rebounds.
• Williams (12) and Foster (8) accounted for 20 of the K-State’s 31 first-half points.

How It Happened | Second Half
• K-State pushed the lead to 14 again at 37-23 with 17:46 left on a pair of Foster free throws.
• Oklahoma State won’t go away, rattling off seven straight points to cut the deficit to 37-30 on a 3-pointer by Forte with 15:55 remaining.
• The teams exchanged baskets until the Wildcats increased their lead to double digits again, 46-35, on a jumper by Williams with 10:04 to play.
• The lead hovered around double digits before a Thomas Gipson dunk gave K-State a 56-43 advantage with 5:44 to play. The Cowboys would get no closer than 9 points the rest of the way.
• K-State connected on a season-best 75 percent (12-of-16) from the field in the second half, while Oklahoma State shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17).
• Edwards scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half.

Beyond the Boxscore
• K-State leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State, 76-51, including, 38-15 at home… The Wildcats have won 4 in a row in the series at Bramlage Coliseum… The team split the season series with both squads winning on their home court… It marks the third straight season they have split season series.
• K-State is now 42-5 at home under Bruce Weber, including 20-2 in Big 12 play.
• With a 10-2 mark at home this season, the Wildcats have now earned double-digit wins in 22 of Bramlage Coliseum’s 27 seasons, including a current streak of 14 straight seasons.
• K-State had an assist on 16 of its 24 made field goals and have an assist on 36 of its last 50 field goals.
• Oklahoma State’s 14 points in the paints were the fewest by an opponent this season.

• “I thought it was a good team win. I thought Jevon (Thomas) set the tone of the game with great energy. Our defense got a couple of turnovers to start to get up 6-0, then 10-4 and pretty much maintain the whole game. I thought our defense was great. We held them at 49 (points) until those last couple of free throws by (Phil) Forte. We did a very good job on (Le’Bryan) Nash and Forte, even though he had 22. We talked about doubling both of those guys to make them give it up and make other guys make some plays. I thought we closed out better, got to their shooters, and made the next play. Nino (Williams) got us going offensively with his shot. His shot has been magical. I thought Marcus’s (Foster) game was very good all-around. He had to guard (Phil) Forte and chase him all around. A good all-around team effort and win, but we know we got to move forward to Tuesday,” said head coach Bruce Weber.

Up Next
• K-State returns to action on Tuesday, as the Wildcats play host to No. 18/17 West Virginia (16-3, 4-2 Big 12) at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

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