December 30, 2008

Wildcats unload on Wagner, 82-53

Kansas State's Tuesday meeting with Wagner was one of those typical semester-break games, and the atmosphere reflected as much. It featured a limited number of students in the stands, no dance team and a missing band. Also absent, however, was any real threat of an upset, as the Wildcats made short and easy work of the Seahawks in an 82-53 victory that was never in doubt.

"It was just one of those nights, when we felt pretty good and everybody was on the same page," said sophomore Dominique Sutton, who led the Wildcats in both scoring and rebounding, pouring in 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Sutton, whose double-double was the first of his career, became the sixth K-State player to score 20 points in a game this season, a number which leads the Big 12. So while Tuesday was definitely a milestone day for the forward individually, it seems it was equally as crucial for his team.

"Go look at the stats of any high school team I've ever coached," said K-State coach Frank Martin. "This is the way I've always done it. I believe in balance. … My second-to-last high school basketball team had 12 Division-I players on the roster. We had 11 guys average double-digit minutes but only had two guys average double-digit points. There were just a whole bunch of other guys averaging around eight or nine points a game."

Balance or no balance, what took place inside of Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday can only be classified as buzzer-to-buzzer dominance. Sure, Sutton and company forced 17 Seahawks turnovers, while holding their opponents to 34-percent shooting, but it wasn't the K-State defense alone that did Wagner in.

The Wildcats shot better than 53 percent from the floor and outrebounded their competition 44-26, as three K-State players, including Sutton, fellow sophomore Jacob Pullen and junior Denis Clemente, logged double-figure point totals.

"I think our offensive effort was just as good as our defensive effort," said Pullen, who scored a game-high 24 points in the win. "We took a few bad shots, but since we had those three losses, as a team, we've been playing a lot better."

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