What We Learned: Kansas State needs a full 40 minutes
For the second straight game, Kansas State started hot n the first half and their lead grew to as many as 17 points after making nine three-pointers. According to acting head coach Jermaine Henderson, a sense of urgency was created by their backs being against the wall.
The Wildcats wanted to step up for everyone that was unavailable, and it manifested into an 'us against the world' mentality on the road in Morgantown.
They shot 45 percent from the floor in the first half and had 11 assists on 14 of their made shots after being a team that has been plagued by bad starts for most of the season.
Starting faster is something that the team has been working on, and that goes to practice time. An adjustment they have made, other than giving them a bit more freedom before games, is ensuring that they are saving their players' legs in practices.
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It's been an interesting week for K-State when it comes to player and coach availability.
After only having eight players and only having Shane Southwell and Jermaine Henderson as coaches for Tuesday night's tilt with Texas, the Wildcats were again down to eight players Saturday afternoon and Henderson was the only full-time coach available.
He did not know he would be the only coach for the contest on Saturday until Friday morning.
That makes it three coaches in the last three games for Kansas State. What's it like having three different coaches in three games?
According to Mark Smith, Bruce Weber has still been a big part of the game-planning from his house. Smith also praised Southwell and Henderson's preparation for the last two games as well. He believes the execution was high, too.
Once again, after building a comfortable lead against West Virginia,, it all fell apart in the second half on both ends of the court.
K-State shot 45 percent in the first half and made nine three-pointers, and in the second half, only shot 30 percent from the floor and only went 4 of 15 from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, the Mountaineers shot 32 percent from the floor and were 2 of 10 in the first half from distance and shot a scorching 50 percent from the floor and 5 of 12 from deep in the second half.
In Big 12 play, especially this year, teams can't afford to have a bad half and Smith reiterated that and added that the margin for error is even more slim on the road.
One observation Henderson made is he thinks the lack of offense in both second halves has impacted Kansas State on the defensive end of the floor and spilled over and caused some issues.
Wednesday night's game against TCU is a must-win if the Wildcats still have dreams of making the NCAA Tournament. They are now 8-6 overall and 0-3 in Big 12 play. They're also just 2-6 in games against high-major teams.
What's the mindset of the locker room at this point?
Nijel Pack acknowledged that the game against the Horned Frogs is an important one, but he also quickly added that every next game is the most important one on the schedule for K-State.
It is important that they jump into the win column as soon as possible within the league to try and build some momentum.
Kansas State took some things they learned from the Texas game and applied them to the West Virginia game, and they can apply what they learned from Saturday's game to the following contest with TCU.
K-State responded to adversity twice this week and played well at times in both games. Moving forward, they will likely be closer to full strength. Can they capitalize on that? Stay tuned.