S. Dakota-Kansas St. Preview
Kansas State coach Bruce Weber wasn't surprised his team suffered a letdown in its last game, but he knows that can't continue with Big 12 play starting next week.
The 25th-ranked Wildcats will try to deliver a more well-rounded effort on Monday when former Wildcat Juevol Myles leads South Dakota into Manhattan.
Coming off a 67-61 victory over then-No. 8 Florida on Dec. 22 - the team's first regular-season, non-conference win over a Top 10 team in 31 years - Kansas State (10-2) shot a season-worst 32.1 percent in Saturday's 52-44 win over Missouri-Kansas City.
"I do not think it is lackadaisical," said Weber, whose team hosts No. 22 Oklahoma State on Saturday in its league opener. "It is hard coming down for the big high and we had a huge high against Florida and then we got in the top 25."
Staying there could depend on how quickly the Wildcats pick up Weber's motion offense. The first-year Kansas State coach has been pleased with the team's defense - the Wildcats are limiting teams to 38.8 percent shooting and 56.6 points per game - but the team is hitting just 41.4 percent of its field goals.
"I hope for a little better offensive flow," Weber said of Monday's game.
The possible return of starting point guard Angel Rodriguez could help with that. The sophomore missed Saturday's game with tendinitis in his foot after weather delays in Puerto Rico over the holiday prevented him from getting adequate treatment.
Backup Martavious Irving (knee) is also questionable after missing Saturday's game.
"(Injuries are) not an excuse,'' said senior guard Rodney McGruder, the team's scoring leader with 13.6 ppg. "Coach always talks about situations like this, if guys can't play. We're prepared for situations like this. We just have to play better.''
The Wildcats will get that chance against Myles, who returns to Kansas State after transferring to South Dakota after playing 19 games backing up Jacob Pullen in 2010-11.
Myles, the Coyotes' scoring leader with 15.3 points per game, scored just six as the Cougars (6-8) ended a 10-game road skid with Saturday's 95-72 win over Nebraska-Omaha. The Wildcats, though, are expecting a more inspired effort on New Year's Eve.
"I know he is going to bring it and give it his all because it is a big game," McGruder said. "A lot of us were his teammates when he was here so I know he is going to bring it and he is going to amp up his teammates to get them to compete."
If the Cougars are going to end Kansas State's 18-game home unbeaten streak against non-conference opponents, they could use another solid shooting effort. They made a season-best 57.6 percent on Saturday and hit a season-high 11 3-pointers. Casey Kasperbauer and Eric Robertson each hit four off the bench while sophomore guard Brandon Bos made three en route to his career-best 23-point outing.
South Dakota missed 14 of 18 from beyond the arc in the teams' last matchup, a 91-69 road loss on Jan. 3, 2010, that moved Kansas State to 7-0 in this series.