Iwundu shows glimpses of the offensive spark he can give K-State

Slashing to the rim is among the skills Wesley Iwundu can add to the Wildcats' too-often stagnant offense.

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — With all the talk about Marcus Foster and his game-high 23 points in Kansas State’s 58-53 win over TCU on Wednesday, almost forgotten was the performance of sophomore swingman Wesley Iwundu.

For the first time since the Texas A&M game last month, Iwundu resembled the player Kansas State coach Bruce Weber is counting on.

"We really need him," Weber said.

Iwundu provides many services to combat the Wildcats’ too-often stagnant offense. And some of those services were on display Wednesday night as he scored nine points and dished out three assists.

Iwundu can slash to the rim, he can distribute the ball, he can rebound, he can hit the 3-pointer, and he is reliable at the foul line.

But Iwundu hasn’t been able to do any of that lately due to a hand injury. In fact, in his previous game against Oklahoma State, he was nothing more than a one-dimensional player because he couldn’t grip the basketball. So, he played 33 minutes of basically just defense while contributing zero points to the offense.

"The hand feels better now," said Iwundu, who has dealt with nagging injuries all season.

"Wes has been really good," Weber said. "The coaches have given him a lot of personal attention. He missed two weeks of practice (earlier this season) and it just killed him.

"But he has really put in some time. He is going to the hoop stronger, made some big plays, and made some big free throws for us. We need him to do all of the little things and then he even jumps up and makes a three, so that is a nice confidence builder for him."

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True, Iwundu’s first shot from the floor was a 3-pointer that he nailed.

In the second half, Iwundu also made a terrific slashing move along the baseline and finished with a strong layup in heavy traffic.

Then, in the closing minute, Iwundu nailed two free throws.

"It would be nice if we could get him and (guard) Justin (Edwards) going," Weber said, "Against Texas A&M they had 18 points between them. That really helps us. Tonight you get nine from Wes, but Justin only has one. We need at least 15 to 18 between them because that really helps us at that position."

Iwundu simply was happy to get the win.

"It feels good, but we still have a lot to accomplish," he said. "We are still on a mission to win the Big 12, but this win feels good. We will enjoy this for the time being."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.