Kansas State University

Newcomers help Kansas State win 98-68

Southern Utah guard Trey Kennedy tries to block the path of K-State guard Justin Edwards during Friday’s game in Manhattan.
Southern Utah guard Trey Kennedy tries to block the path of K-State guard Justin Edwards during Friday’s game in Manhattan. The Wichita Eagle

It’s been a long time since Kansas State had a basketball player like Stephen Hurt.

Fifteen years to be exact.

That was the last time the Wildcats used a forward with Hurt’s size both inside and on the perimeter. Back then, it was Shawn Rhodes, at 6-foot-11, knocking down threes one minute and fighting for rebounds the next. Now it is Hurt, at the same height plus 40 pounds, doing the equivalent.

Hurt matched Rhodes as the tallest player in K-State history to hit a three-pointer during a 98-68 victory over Southern Utah on Friday at Bramlage Coliseum. The shot came early in the second half when Southern Utah’s zone defense sagged off him. He didn’t hesitate, finding the bottom of the net and giving his team a 49-38 advantage in his K-State debut.

“Big Hurt, he loves to shoot those threes,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “In practice, I have gotten on him a little bit, because he hasn’t made them. I have told him to concentrate on that 15-footer, but he got an opportunity tonight and made it. It was good for him.”

The Wildcats went on to easily win a game that was close at halftime. Hurt was a big reason why. He didn’t lead his team in scoring like Nigel Johnson, who had 18 points, and he didn’t lead his team in rebounds like Thomas Gipson, who had 17 points and six rebounds. But good things happened when he was on the court.

Hurt was perfect from the floor and the free-throw line on his way to 11 points, three rebounds and two assists. The junior-college transfer also stretched the floor with his three-pointer on a night K-State scored more points than it ever had under third-year coach Bruce Weber. His versatility could come in handy as the season progresses.

“Obviously, Hurt can shoot the ball,” Gipson said. “I don’t think he has missed a jump shot since he started playing with us. I am just trying to be dominant inside. I think it is a good tandem with us playing together.”

Of course, this night wasn’t all about Hurt.

K-State dominated on college basketball’s opening night – a welcome change from last year’s loss to Northern Colorado — and there were plenty of highlights to go around. The biggest crowd-pleaser was an alley-oop dunk from Jevon Thomas to Brandon Bolden. Thomas, a point guard, took the ball on a fastbreak and lobbed it off the backboard to Bolden, a 6-foot-11 center, who jammed it home for a 91-59 lead.

Bolden had a blast in his first game since transferring from Georgetown, also throwing down a two-handed slam in the second half.

No one wearing home colors disliked the experience, though. Six K-State players reached double figures, with Marcus Foster and Tre Harris scoring 13 points each and Justin Edwards adding 11.

Combined, it was more than enough for the Wildcats to manhandle a visiting opponent that went 2-27 last season. Southern Utah kept things close early behind the hot shooting of A.J. Hess, who had 16 points, and a zone defense. The Thunderbirds also finished with five more rebounds than the Wildcats.

But K-State was far too strong.

Things will get tougher when UMKC, which opened with a win over Missouri, visits Bramlage Coliseum on Monday.

“We still need to get better at a lot of things,” Gipson said. “But this was a good first step.”

Ailing Wildcats — Kansas State, once again, was not at full strength on Friday. Just like an exhibition game against Washburn, the Wildcats were without three contributors. Wesley Iwundu, Malek Harris and Nino Williams all watched from the bench with minor injuries. Iwundu, a sophomore forward, and Harris, a freshman forward, were in uniform and were available to play in case of emergency, while Williams, a senior forward, wore sweats. Bruce Weber said he expects Iwundu back soon, possibly for the UMKC game. But Harris and Williams may require more rest.

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

S. UTAH

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Langston

15

1-3

4-6

2-4

0

2

7

Marshall

23

0-1

7-8

0-1

6

3

7

Major

27

3-5

1-3

0-2

1

3

7

Oliverson

12

1-2

0-0

3-4

0

4

2

Hess

21

5-10

1-2

0-2

0

5

16

Waddoups

6

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

Kennedy

16

1-4

0-0

0-0

2

2

3

Parsons

17

2-5

1-1

1-5

0

1

6

Rawson

21

0-3

3-7

4-6

0

3

3

Wilson

11

0-2

1-2

0-0

0

2

1

Thompson

12

4-5

1-1

2-2

0

1

9

Hanks

19

3-8

1-2

3-5

0

4

7

Totals

200

20-49

20-32

15-32

9

31

68

Percentages: FG .408, FT .625. 3-Point Goals: 8-20, .400 (Hess 5-8, Langston 1-1, Parsons 1-3, Kennedy 1-3, Wilson 0-1, Waddoups 0-1, Thompson 0-1, Major 0-1, Rawson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 0. Blocked Shots: 3 (Hanks, Thompson, Rawson). Turnovers: 24 (Langston 6, Thompson 3, Wilson 2, Kennedy 2, Major 2, Marshall 2, Hanks 2, Rawson 2, Parsons, Hess, Oliverson). Steals: 10 (Marshall 3, Langston 2, Kennedy, Rawson, Hess, Hanks, Major). Technical Fouls: None.

KANSAS ST.

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Thomas

23

2-6

4-6

1-2

5

3

8

Foster

19

3-4

5-6

0-2

1

4

13

Edwards

31

3-6

5-8

0-2

4

4

11

Hurt

23

4-4

2-2

1-3

2

3

11

Gipson

25

4-6

9-13

1-6

0

2

17

T Harris

25

4-5

2-2

0-2

2

3

13

Schoen

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Bolden

13

2-3

2-4

1-4

0

1

6

N Johnson

26

5-8

4-5

0-0

5

2

18

Rohleder

10

0-2

0-0

1-1

0

2

0

Meyer

3

0-2

1-2

0-0

0

1

1

Totals

200

27-46

34-48

8-27

19

25

98

Percentages: FG .587, FT .708. 3-Point Goals: 10-18, .556 (N. Johnson 4-6, T. Harris 3-4, Foster 2-2, Hurt 1-1, Rohleder 0-1, Edwards 0-2, Thomas 0-2). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 3 (Bolden 3). Turnovers: 12 (Gipson 3, T. Harris 2, Foster 2, Edwards 2, Bolden 2, Thomas). Steals: 12 (Thomas 3, Edwards 3, Rohleder 2, N. Johnson 2, T. Harris, Bolden). Technical Fouls: None.

S. Utah

36

32

68

Kansas St.

44

54

98

A—12,405. Officials—Kipp Kissinger, Jeb Hartness, Rodrick Dixon.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

  Comments