Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber said there was a good chance he would alter the Wildcats’ starting lineup against Purdue.
He blamed a loss to Long Beach State on a lack of urgency, especially in the opening moments. In the Maui Invitational, he wanted a starting five that valued every second of playing time. So he used Wesley Iwundu and Nino Williams in place of Stephen Hurt and Justin Edwards. The change had the desired effect in an 88-79 victory on Monday.
“We needed a sense of urgency,” Weber said. “We weren’t very good early and we did a better job with that. They were all good. It was a good team win with good balance.”
Iwundu, a sophomore wing, made his first start after battling a nagging shoulder injury in the season’s opening games and had 10 points and six rebounds.
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“I thought Wesley was really good,” Weber said. “Just real versatile. He had very good numbers.”
Williams brought energy to the floor and scored 10 points.
Though the changes were effective, they didn’t surprise Purdue coach Matt Painter.
“I wrote their starting lineup on the board before they gave it to me,” Painter said. “They are going to be better playing small in my opinion. I love Williams.”
Kansas State had few answers for Purdue big man Isaac Haas, who scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds. Stephen Hurt, Brandon Bolden and Thomas Gipson piled up eight fouls trying to defend him. But the Wildcats thought some of those fouls shouldn’t have been called, especially when Haas regularly swung his elbows after rebounds without getting whistled.
Frustration boiled over in the second half when Malek Harris picked up a foul against Haas and Foster said something the the officials didn’t like, earning him a technical.
“It was me losing my composure,” Foster said. “As a leader on this team, I can’t let that happen again.”
▪ Tre Harris continued his run of good shooting, making two three-pointers on his way to eight points.
▪ K-State officials said they sold 150 tickets to the Maui Invitational. The Wildcats were well supported Monday, with purple outnumbering black in the stands.
▪ Justin Edwards was held scoreless following a disappointing game against Long Beach State. The Maine transfer is off to a slow start.
▪ Key play: Nigel Johnson made back-to-back steals and shots that gave K-State a 21-13 lead.
▪ Key stat: K-State forced Purdue into 11 turnovers and scored 17 points off them.
▪ Key play: Marcus Foster banked in a three-pointer that gave K-State a 10 point lead in the closing moments.
▪ Key stat: Purdue made nine three-pointers.