|5:01 PM PT6:01 PM MT7:01 PM CT8:01 PM ET1:01 PM GMT9:01 PM 北京时间6:01 PM MST8:01 PM EST, Nov 16, 2018
Virgin Islands Sport & Fitness Center, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Attendance: 2,162
No. 12 Kansas State hopes to slow down Eastern Kentucky
Playing styles will clash in the Paradise Jam tournament Friday night in the Virgin Islands. Eastern Kentucky will pit its 86-plus points per game offense against Kansas State's lid-on-the bucket defense.
Eastern Kentucky (2-1) is led by senior forward Nick Mayo, who leads the entire Ohio Valley Conference in scoring (28.0 points per game) and rebounding (12 per game). But he's not the only threat. Lachlan Anderson led five Colonels in double figures with a career-high 22 points and 14 rebounds in the team's most recent win, 107-52 over Midway on Tuesday. Kelvin Robinson dished out a career high 10 assists against Midway.
Head coach A.W. Hamilton will need every one of those players--and more--to come through against K-State (2-0), whose 48.5 points per game defense has the Wildcats ranked sixth in Division I through games of Nov. 14. The bench contributed 51 points against Midway, and Hamilton appreciated their effort.
"I've been a coach for seven years and I've had some teams where we've had to practice how to cheer from the bench," he said after the game. "These guys love each other and support each other We've got great chemistry on this team."
It's clear that the team is buying into the plans of the first-year coach.
"Coach said to come hard out of the gates and things like this will happen," Anderson said of the Colonels' performance on Tuesday. "I loved the team effort. We work hard every single day to play games like this."
While EKU has been finding the bucket frequently, the Wildcats have struggled in their first two games. In the two games combined, K-State has shot 40 percent from the field, including 17.5 percent from three-point range, and 45 percent from the line.
"We have great shooters on the team," said Dean Wade, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year. "I'm not concerned about it. We've gone through a little rough stretch here but we're going to get back in the gym, get our confidence back up. Everyone misses shots. It'll come back. I'm not worried about it."
K-State has only four players averaging more than four points per game, led by Barry Brown at 20 points-per-game. Wade is second at 13.5, followed by Xavier Sneed at 12.0 and Makol Mawien at 8.5.
But the stifling defense and strong rebounding through two games have lifted the Wildcats past Kennesaw State and Denver. Last season, the Wildcats were 340th in Division I in total rebounds (30.7 per game), but through two games they have a 41.0-32.0 advantage on the boards.
K-State hopes to break a trend of losing late in early-season tournaments. The Wildcats have lost in either the semifinals or the finals in tournaments in each of the last three seasons.
"I think it would mean something for all of us," said senior guard Barry Brown. "Me, Dean and Kam (Stokes) made a list of things that we've never done, and one was just win any kind of championship, any kind of tournament. This will give us that opportunity to come out, play three games in four days and hopefully come out with a championship."
But Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber is not looking past the Colonels.
"It's something we've talked about," he said. "It would be a nice little step, but you can't win a championship unless you win on Friday. You have to win the first one."
Updated November 15, 2018