Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State Topples Maryland-Eastern Shore in Season Opener, 80-53

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State Topples Maryland-Eastern Shore in Season Opener, 80-53

Article excerpt

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State cannot immediately count on consistent contributions.

Not after the Wildcats lost 75 percent of their scoring from last basketball season. They are attempting to rebuild behind role players and newcomers.

That's the kind of thing that happens when the bottom falls out, which it did as K-State finished 15-17 and mutually parted ways with a handful of players.

Friday provided the Cats their first official opportunity to put that mess behind them, which they did pretty handily in their season opener, blasting Maryland-Eastern Shore 80-53 at Bramlage Coliseum.

"This is about them -- our guys coming together as a team, learning about roles and each game will get a little tougher," K- State coach Bruce Weber said. "We'll be competitive if we stay healthy."

Junior guard Wesley Iwundu was most instrumental.

The 6-foot-7 junior recorded a double-double with a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. His previous best for scoring came in his first game as a Wildcat, a 13-point performance in the 2013 opener.

"I was pretty excited for it," Iwundu said. "I wanted to come out and make a statement, not just for myself, but for our team. We still have a lot of work to do, but it'll get better. ...

"I just see a lot of things different being an older guy, and I can help out the younger guys seeing things they may not see."

Senior guard Justin Edwards, whose 6.3-point average last season made him the Cats' top returning scorer, added 17 points. Freshman guard Barry Brown also added 17 to lead the K-State newcomers.

The opener was a work in progress. K-State had difficulty solving the Hawks' zone defense in the first half and missed its first nine attempts from 3-point range.

"Our zone caused them a lot of problems. …

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