It wasn’t the greatest of starts for the Kansas State basketball team. Friday’s 72-67 come-from-behind victory of Charleston Southern was much harder than expected, and had coach Frank Martin uttering the phrase, “We were awful.”
The Wildcats struggled most in the second half, when they looked sluggish on offense, turned the ball over too many times, failed to get back on defense and were unable to match Charleston Southern’s intensity. The Buccaneers raced to a 49-35 halftime lead, and during one stretch outscored K-State 19-2.
Martin was experimenting with different lineups in that first half. With Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling on the bench, none of them seemed to work. The depth, athleticism and aggressiveness that the Wildcats said would make them an exciting team this season wasn’t evident.
In the second half, Martin changed his approach and essentially only played his experienced players. McGruder, Spradling, Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Shane Southwell led K-State in the final 20 minutes. All but Irving scored in double figures, and McGruder came through with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
On opening night, that was enough.
“To win, you need five,” Martin said. “Not 25.” (more…)