MANHATTAN — The K-State basketball team opened its 2017-18 exhibition schedule with a pair of wins over Missouri State (78-62) and Fort Hays State (79-56). The Wildcats will have one more exhibition before beginning the regular season Nov. 10 against American. The final exhibition match will come Friday night against Emporia State at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan. K-State head coach Bruce Weber gave some of his thoughts on his team’s performances over its first two exhibition games Tuesday night at the Ice Family Basketball Center in Manhattan.
“There’s no doubt we like the starts. We’ve had a lot of energy at the start of both games. The big thing now is sustaining it. One of our goals is about runs. If we get stops, we get a score, and we get a stop, it’s 2-0. Now you have to put those together, and that’s how you break a team. That’s one thing I hope we can learn from. If we get up big, we can’t lose that energy,” Weber said.
One of the early standouts of the exhibition slate has been redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra. Through two games so far, Diarra has averaged 12.5 points per game on 70 percent shooting from the field. Weber talked about Diarra’s performance in his first two games.
“I love that he’s scoring efficiently. It’s not like he took 20 shots to get 12 points. He’s put up great numbers, and (against Fort Hays State) he had six assists and no turnovers. It’s pretty good for a guy who hasn’t played basketball (in a year). He’s never played in this type of environment, in a big arena (like Bramlage Coliseum). He’s been very positive. Obviously we still want more. I think he can give us more,” Weber said.
Junior forward Dean Wade only scored six points in K-State’s first exhibition game against Missouri State. Against Fort Hays State, Wade improved those numbers to 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Wade talked about his performance against Fort Hays State.
“In the second half (against Fort Hays State), I kind of disappeared a little bit. I’m trying to get consistent through the whole game, whether that’s making plays or helping my teammates do something. I think (his performance against Fort Hays State) is a sign of consistency for me over the rest of the season,” Wade said.
Weber talked about Wade’s performance.
“I was pleased with his confidence level. He’s different in practice, and now he did it in a game. He’s a different person. He’s going to have to continue to do it consistently. He’s a very, very good player, and he’s playing with a lot more confidence. Somebody showed him a (Wayne) Gretzky quote the other day, ‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take’. He’s a great passer, and he does a lot of things for us. If he’s open, he has to shoot it. I like where he is. He needs to be consistent,” Weber said.
Wade talked about some improvements that he wants to see from his team in the final exhibition game against Emporia State.
“(We need to improve) our conditioning. We died a little bit here and there against Fort Hays State. I also want to see more aggressiveness from the new guys. The new guys aren’t really playing with the aggression on defense that we want to see. I think in this next game, they’re going to come out and show how they’re going to play the rest of the year,” Wade said.
K-State will tip off against Emporia State Friday night at 8 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.