Stats and basketball analysis could be used to explain why Kansas State once again allowed a comfortable lead to turn into a disappointing 74-66 loss to Colorado on Wednesday at Bramlage Coliseum.
But in this instance, neither are needed. Frank Martin covered everything pretty well with this statement:
“We have too much drama on our basketball team,” Martin said. “It is hard to move forward when you are constantly dealing with guys that are in-out, in-out, in-out. We are not very disciplined. Mentally, we have a couple of rough patches as far as getting through the tough moments.”
Against Colorado, those tough moments came with less than 3 minutes remaining in the first half. K-State led 33-24, and it seemed as if the Wildcats were on their way to a routine victory over the Buffaloes. But then Colorado reeled off nine straight points to finish the half and quickly took a 51-40 lead in the second.
It was a game-changing run reminiscent of previous losses to Florida and Oklahoma State. And just like those defeats, K-State was unable to come back.
Now the Wildcats are 0-2 in Big 12 play and must try to come back from that hole.
It won’t be easy.
K-State’s next game — a Saturday home tilt with hapless Texas Tech — is now an absolute must win. Seriously, if the Wildcats fall to the Red Raiders, veteran players may end up longing for their 0-4 start to conference play in 2008-09.
Because after Texas Tech, K-State must travel to 15th-ranked Missouri, 14th-ranked Texas A&M, host a strong Baylor squad and travel to third-ranked Kansas.
It will be the toughest four-game stretch of the season.
Curtis Kelly is finished with his six-game suspension, and K-State will surely benefit from the return of its top big man. But Kelly is notorious for his ups and downs. He will need to play to the max of his ability the rest of the way for K-State to return to its winning ways.
But more than anything, the Wildcats need to continue looking for ways to find easy points and put an end to these lapses. Martavious Irving stepped up against Colorado and scored 12 points. That’s a nice start, but K-State’s frontcourt contributed little and was outrebounded 38-29.
Kelly will help in both areas. We will soon find out if his help is enough.
“We do not have everything together right now,”Rodney McGruder said. “We are working on finding a leader right now and just coming together as one.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Levi Knutson. The Colorado sharpshooter made six three-pointers and led the Buffaloes with 20 points. He won the game for them.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Knutson’s three-pointer moments after K-State cut Colorado’s lead to 63-62 was the biggest shot of the night.
THAT WAS SWEET: Two players not named Jacob Pullen made three three-pointers against the Buffaloes. The Wildcats made seven treys overall, and were consistently a threat to score from the outside.
WHAT A DOWNER: This was a game K-State fans looked at as a sure win before the season started. Now that the Wildcats have lost to Colorado at home, what does that mean for their return trip to Boulder?
NEXT UP: Texas Tech is coming off a 31-point home loss to Texas. K-State needs to take advantage of a struggling opponent while it can.
SAY WHAT? “It is my job to get them through this, and we are going to go after it and fix it,” – Martin.