K-State runs away from Colonials; Martin not satisfied
For the Kansas State basketball team, Thursday night’s game against George Washington was a classic case of ‘the good, bad and ugly’.
That is just not good enough in the eyes of K-State coach Frank Martin, despite the game ending in a 69-56 victory.
“We have to learn how to play offense the way we play defense, which is unselfishly and disciplined,” he said. “Our guys were pretty good defensively. We just got too relaxed and played too casually.”
For about ten minutes in the second half, the Wildcats played very good basketball. K-State stretched a 32-29 halftime advantage to a 19-point lead with 7:31 left. But Martin said the whole game should have gone that smoothly.
“We decided to do what we practice (during the second-half run),” Martin said. “I have no idea why we can’t perform that way for more of the game.”
Behind nine straight points from guard Will Spradling, K-State outscored the Colonials 15-1 during a crucial four-minute stretch.
“We did a better job of making the extra pass, and that opened up some shots for us,” Spradling said.
Martin was displeased with how his team returned to playing “lazy and selfishly” after a lead opened up.
“We played team basketball on offense and defense, and then went right back to playing bad basketball,” he said.
“We defended fairly well, but we are nowhere near where we need to be on the offensive end.”
The game began in a back-and-forth manner, with neither team leading by more than six until the Wildcats made their second half run.
A three-pointer from Shane Southwell started the spurt, Samuels followed with his own three-pointer and the game was on its way to being in hand for the Wildcats.
K-State was paced by double-doubles by Thomas Gipson and Jamar Samuels. Gipson, with his 17 points and 13 rebounds, led the team in scoring for the third consecutive game.
“Thomas has the ability to score around the rim,” Martin said. “He has a big body and he knows how to use it.”
“He’s good. He is a very good player and we are glad he wears our uniform,” Martin added.
Samuels said having another presence inside the paint is a big advantage for the team.
“You don’t get a lot of freshman doing what he does down low,” he said. “ It helps to take the load off everybody else when he’s playing like that.”
Gipson’s double-double marked the first time a Wildcat freshman has accomplished the feat since Michael Beasley in 2008.
George Washington coach Mike Longeran cited poor free throw shooting as a reason his team was unable to keep up with the Wildcats.
“It is a disappointing performance for us overall,” he said. “Our horrendous free throw shooting prevented us from having a lead at the half. We could not stay in the game because we could not score.”
The Colonials were just 11 of 21 at the charity stripe and shot just over 31 percent for the game.
On the Wildcat side, Samuels added to Gipson’s effort with a 10-point, 10-rebound effort of his own. Spradling added 14 points on 5 of 12 shooting and Jordan Henriquez snagged 11 rebounds in just 15 minutes.
With the victory, K-State moved to 4-0 on the season, but has a very difficult stretch ahead. The Wildcats play at Virginia Tech on Sunday and against West Virginia in Wichita next week. Martin admits he wishes the team had one more game to prepare for what lies ahead.
“It would be nice to have another game,” Martin said. “We still have to learn, we still have to grow.”
Samuels, who was raised in the Washington, D.C. area, is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m looking forward to it, but we have to get better,” he said.