After pushing themselves into the national rankings, the now 25th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats will look to keep rolling when they host the UMKC Kangaroos at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
The Kangaroos have been struggling of late with losses in four straight games after a 66-65 loss to Southeast Missouri State in its last outing. Three of those losses came at home for UMKC which is bad news since the Kangaroos haven't exactly excelled on the road (1-3).
Last Saturday Kansas State topped then No.8 Florida 67-61 and just a few days later joined the top-25. The Wildcats are 9-2 overall and have won four of their last five games. The Wildcats are also a perfect 5-0 at home.
If history has anything to say about this game then UMKC is in trouble. The Wildcats have won 15 of 16 previous meetings including an 80-64 victory the last time these teams met during the 2010-11 season.
Kirk Korver nailed a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining to give UMKC a 65-64 lead over SEMO. However, Tyler Stone drew a foul on the other end and sank two free throws and a pair of 3-point shots were off the mark in the final seconds for the Kangaroos in the loss.
Fred Chatmon had a strong showing in the loss as he hung up an 11-point, 13 rebound double-double. Chatmon (7.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is the fourth leading scorer on the roster and the only player averaging more than 3.4 rebounds per game. Estan Tyler (10.2 ppg, 3.8 apg) is the only player scoring in double figures for the Kangaroos though he has managed to shoot just 40.9 percent from the field. Staton (9.7 ppg) has shown the ability to score well but has not done so consistently enough. Without a good group of individual scorers UMKC has struggled on offense, netting just 63.4 points per game, while hitting on 41.7 percent from the field. Those numbers have been dwarfed by what the Kangaroos allow on the other end (72.8 ppg, .475 FG percentage).
Kansas State led for the entire second half against Florida and used a 20-10 edge on points from the free-throw line to secure the victory. Neither team shot particularly well in the contest with the Wildcats hitting on 41.7 percent of their shots to 40.4 percent from the Gators. Will Spradling carried the Wildcats with 17 points.
Limiting opponents has been a strength for Kansas State. The Wildcats are giving up on 57.7 points per game and holding teams to less than 40 percent shooting. On the other end the Wildcats have been scoring well enough (71.1 ppg) by constantly making the extra pass as they assist on 16.1 field goals per game. Kansas State also does a good job on the boards, ranking 20th in the nation in rebounds (41.5 pg), while holding a +8.8 edge on the glass. Although Spradling (9.5 ppg) has shown flashes of offensive ability his shooting has been too erratic (.395 FG percentage) for him to consistently score at a high level. Rodney McGruder (13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is the lead scorer on the squad while Angel Rodriguez (10.1 ppg, 4.3 apg) has scored and distributed pretty well. Thomas Gipson (7.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) anchors the team in the paint.