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K-State ready for early challenge

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, at 6:38 a.m.

LAMAR AT KANSAS STATE

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan

Records: Lamar 0-0, Kansas State 1-0

TV: ESPN3

Radio: KWLS, 107.9-FM

Lamar at Kansas State

PLamarHtYrPtsReb
FRhon Mitchell6-5Fr.
F Amos Wilson6-5Jr.
FStan Brown6-8Sr.4.94.3
GHondo Webb6-2So..
G Donley Minor6-1Sr.2.41.4

2011-12 statistics

Lamar (0-0): Former Texas Tech coach Pat Knight is in his second season at Lamar and led the Cardinals, who play in the Southland Conference, to the NCAA Tournament in his first season.…The Cardinals won both of their exhibition games, 74-66 over McMurry and 87-76 over Northwood.… Lamar plays its first 11 games on the road, including games at Alabama, Purdue and Baylor.… Kansas State and Lamar last met in 1991in Beaumont, Texas, a 119-75 win by Lamar.

PKansas St.HtYrPtsReb
GRodney McGruder6-8Sr.6.05.0
GAngel Rodriguez7-0So.13.02.1
GWill Spradling6-5Jr.1.62.0
FJordan Henriquez6-11Sr.8.04.0
FNino Williams or6-5So.3.05.0
FAdrian Diaz 6-10Sr.3.03.0

Kansas State (1-0): Preseason All-Big selection Rodney McGruder had a rough game offensively in Friday’s season-opening win over North Dakota, hitting just 3 of 12 shots for six points.… K-State assistant coach Alvin Brooks III has Lamar ties. His father, Alvin Brooks II, was the point guard on Lamar’s 1980 Sweet 16 team and his 6.9 assists per game is still the school record.… K-State coach Bruce Weber started Williams against North Dakota because of smaller matchups, but Diaz started the Wildcats’ two exhibition victories.

There will be plenty of opportunities for Kansas State to find out what type of a team it is before Big 12 play starts.

There’s the obvious — games at George Washington, against Gonzaga in Seattle and against Florida at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Then there are the not-so-obvious tests, games where a slip-up could raise all kinds of red flags early in the season.

Like Monday night, against Lamar (0-0) in the first game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

“A lot of us, we’ve played in Big 12 games so we know how tough that can be,” K-State senior guard Martavious Irving said. “You need to play games like this.”

Alabama-Huntsville will play North Texas in Bramlage Coliseum following K-State’s game, with the winners facing each other on Tuesday. The winners of the four regionals advance to New York to play in semifinal games on Nov. 21.

“It’s a good test and it’s big for us,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “You get two wins and you get to go to New York and play some pretty high-level teams in Madison Square Garden.”

Lamar has two exhibition victories and reached the NCAA Tournament last season in coach Pat Knight’s first year, but lost four starters off that team.

“I’ve known Pat since probably (he was in) junior high, I go back that far,” Weber said. “I watched him as a player, then I saw him get into the coaching profession. (Lamar) was pretty good last year but they lost a lot of important guys.”

The Wildcats have a distinct size advantage against Lamar — K-State could start 6-foot-10 sophomore forward Adrian Diaz and 6-11 senior forward Jordan Henriquez against the Cardinals, creating matchup problems for a team whose tallest starter is 6-8 senior forward Stan Brown.

K-State started 6-5 sophomore forward Nino Williams in Friday’s regular-season opener, an 85-52 win against North Dakota.

Lamar’s other two starting forwards — Rhon Mitchell and Amos Wilson — are both 6-5.

“We’ve got a size advantage early here against some of the teams we’ll face,” Weber said. “We need to rotate those big guys in and out and that should be a handful for a lot of teams.

“If we can be consistent and play as hard as we have been we have a chance to be good but we’ve got a long ways to go.”

Reach Tony Adame at tadame@wichitaeagle.com or 216-268-6284

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