After a rough two games in the Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off, Kansas State appears to have the perfect pick-me-up scheduled when winless Florida A&M visits on Monday. The Wildcats are fresh off losses to Pittsburgh and Bradley while the No. 341st-ranked Rattlers were thumped 87-51 by Seton Hall on Nov. 23.
Pittsburgh beat Kansas State in the final seconds and Bradley drained 13-of-23 shots from the arc and shot 50 percent against a Wildcats team that entered allowing 54.3 points and 40 percent shooting before dropping a 73-60 decision in the third-place game on Wednesday. "Our defense has been so good, but we didn't have answers tonight," coach Bruce Weber said. "I think at half we had 37 and I told our guys - that has nothing to do with our offense - that's the most points we've scored all year at half, but our defense broke down." K-State did force Bradley into 23 turnovers with 13 steals, scoring 22 points off those miscues. The Wildcats' defensive efficiency rating has been ranked in the Top 35 in each of the past four seasons and is 13th this season (88.2 points/100 possessions). They force turnovers on 29.3 percent of possessions (3rd in the nation).
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ABOUT FLORIDA A&M (0-5): Other than a three-point loss to South Dakota, the Rattlers have lost all other games by double digits, including 77-48 at USC in the opener. Senior guard Rob Melton Jr leads the team in scoring (11.2 points) and MJ Randolph chips in 10 points and team highs of 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists. The Rattlers rank dead last in D1 with 16 3-pointers and rank among the bottom 10 in field-goal (35 percent) and 3-point (24) percentage.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (4-2): Senior Xavier Sneed (14.6 points, 6.3 rebounds) had 15 points and nine rebounds against Bradley and Cartier Diarra (10.7 points, seven assists, 2.8 steals) tied his career highs with eight assists and five steals for the Wildcats, who shot just 40 percent and committed 15 turnovers. Mike McGuirl and Shaun Williams scored 10 points each, their first time in double-figures this season. "We have to go back to the drawing board. Obviously, it's disappointing," Weber said. "You don't want to go home 0-2. We got to get a better flow offensively. We all tried to make plays, but we got to make plays for each other."
1. The Bradley loss marked the first time the Wildcats have allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent or better from the field since Iowa State shot 52.7 percent on Feb. 16, 2019.
2. Diarra ranks 2nd in the Big 12 and 13th in the nation in assists (6.8) and is third in the Big 12 in steals (2.5).
3. Of K-State's four wins, the best according to KenPom, was against No. 169 UNLV.
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