Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State's Diarra Making Name for Himself

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State's Diarra Making Name for Himself

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Bill Self didn't want to disrespect Kansas State's Cartier Diarra, not after the display the redshirt freshman had just put on against Self's No. 12 Kansas Jayhawks.

"I don't want to mispronounce his name because I know it's not pronounced like it's spelled, at least in my eyes," a smiling Self said before asking his media audience for clarification.

For the record, Self isn't alone in his confusion regarding the point guard's surname. Most believe it is pronounced [zharra]. Some, however, say [zhatta]. Others even suggest it really doesn't matter -- [zharra, zhatta]; [tuh-MAY-toh, tuh-MAH-toh].

What can't be debated, though, is Diarra's improved play.

For the second straight game since replacing injured junior Kamau Stokes in K-State's starting lineup, Diarra made an indelible impression. After scoring just two points in the first half of the Wildcats' eventual 73-72 loss to KU on Saturday, Diarra gouged the Jayhawks for 16 second-half points, teaming with Dean Wade to erase an 11-point deficit.

"He was great," Self said. "He was terrific and he controlled the game the second half for them."

Diarra was at his best during a 21/2-minute stretch that began at the 11:25 mark. When he drilled a 3-pointer to slice KU's lead to 49-45, it marked the beginning of a run that saw him score 11 straight points for K-State and single-handedly outscore KU 11-6.

Diarra's personal run featured a pair of nifty layups on aggressive moves, intentional attacks meant to capitalize on Devonte' Graham's foul troubles.

"That opened up drives for me because he didn't want to make fouls and wanted to stay in the game," Diarra said. "That was that."

Diarra complemented his success at the rim with efficient perimeter shooting, going 3 for 5 from beyond the arc. He not only started and ended his personal 11-point run with treys, he added his third 3-pointer at the 5:58 mark to give the Wildcats a 62-59 lead.

"He got to the basket," K-State coach Bruce Weber said. …

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