Nov 06, 2019 5:10 AM

K-State opens season with 67-54 win over North Dakota State

Posted Nov 06, 2019 5:10 AM

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- The defending Big 12 Champions took the floor at home for the first time since cutting down the nets last year as Kansas State beat North Dakota State 67-54 on Tuesday night.


Cartier Diarra had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists, Makol Mawien had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds after the Wildcats lost their top three scorers off last year's team.


"We are a new team and we knew it'd be a really hard game," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "I'm happy for our guys; proud of them."


Rocky Kreuser led the Bison with 14 points, Tyson Ward had 12 and Sam Griesel was vital, providing eight points and nine rebounds. Kansas State kept 2019 Summit League Tournament MVP Vinnie Shahid quiet as he scored eight points, going 2-12 in the game.


North Dakota State brings back lots of experience from last year, including six of the top seven scorers, but it wasn't enough to take down Big 12 foe Kansas State.


The Bison, whose season ended in a second-round loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament last season, gave the Wildcats all they could handle while leading the majority of the first half.


"We didn't come here to get beat by 13 and run out of here with smiles," North Dakota State coach David Richman said. "There is some encouraging things, to be up at half, to tie a Big 12 team on the glass on the road. There's some encouraging things to build on."


The Wildcats played three freshman -- Montavious Murphy, Antonio Gordon and DaJuan Gordon. They combined for seven points and 10 rebounds. Murphy led the team in minutes played.


"I felt great," Murphy said. "I just told myself I was going to come out here and play hard. I just wanted to make sure I played hard and I feel like I did that and we came out with the dub."


North Dakota State went to the line 25 times, shooting 64%. The Bison kept it close by hitting eight three-pointers, just short of their 9.5 makes per game last season.


The Wildcats proved to be no match for the Bison in the paint, scoring 34 points from inside and holding North Dakota State to 14.


"We talked about dominating two's and the points in the pain," Weber said. "We thought that had to be the difference for us."


Already up by five, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run in the second half to extend their lead and never looked back.


HIGHLIGHT REEL


In the second half, Diarra found Mawien on an alley-oop which sparked the Wildcats as Kansas State used that momentum to close out the Bison.


BIG PICTURE


North Dakota State brings back most of its scoring from a team that went to the NCAA Tournament last year. Don't be surprised if they are playing on the big stage again this season.


The Wildcats are a much different team than they were last year. K-State will lean on Sneed and Diarra to carry the load.


UP NEXT


North Dakota State hosts Mayville State for their home opener at 7 p.m. on Thursday.


Kansas State travels to UNLV on Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip-off.


--- Associated Press ---

Continue Reading St Joseph Post
Nov 06, 2019 5:10 AM
Nebraska loses to UC Riverside in Hoiberg's debut

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The enormity of the project Fred Hoiberg has undertaken at Nebraska hit him square in the face Tuesday night.


The new-look Cornhuskers lost 66-47 to UC Riverside, one of the bottom programs in the Big West Conference.


It marked the first time the Huskers had lost a season opener at home since 1980 and the beginning of what could be a long winter in Lincoln.


"You can use the excuse of we've got so many new faces and new players. We're not going to do that," Hoiberg said. "We got outplayed today. Adversity hit us in a huge way tonight. You can talk to your guys until you're blue in the face. It's going to hit you every time you step on the floor. What will define you will be how you handle it. We didn't handle it well tonight."


Reserve DJ McDonald scored a career-high 15 points and George Willborn III had 13 points and 18 rebounds for UC Riverside.


The Highlanders, who went 10-23 last season and have had one winning season since joining Division I in 2000, won for the first time over a Power Five opponent since beating California in November 2017.


"We're not going to come into an environment with this many people in the Big West, but this shows we can compete with anybody," second-year UCR coach David Patrick said. "We still have work to do. We have four guys sitting at home that aren't with us that will join us over the next couple of weeks. Their addition, with the group we have, I think good things are in store for this group."


Cam Mack had 11 points and nine rebounds and Matej Kavas added 10 for the Huskers, who shot 29 percent from the field and were 9 of 19 from the foul line.


UC Riverside made 7 of 9 3-pointers to start the second half, with McDonald hitting three in a row, and it was 59-40 when fans headed for the exits en masse at the under-4 timeout.


"First game. Not going to go crazy about it," the Huskers' Haanif Cheatham said.


The Highlanders, who got 14 points and four 3s from Dragan Elkaz, made 12 shots from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Huskers 49-29.


"I thought early on we had a good burst out of the locker room," Hoiberg said. "Our transition was excellent, defensively we were doing a good job of disrupting them and turning them over and that's what got us out in transition.


"Obviously, that changed and momentum shifted. Once the ball started going in the hoop for them, the defense wasn't as good. We pressed to try to get all the momentum back at once."


The 47-year-old Hoiberg, who coached Iowa State to four NCAA Tournament appearances from 2010-15, is back in the college game after three-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls.


Hoiberg was at the top of wish lists for several schools looking for a new coach last March. There was a sentimental pull to Nebraska. He was born in Lincoln, his parents had ties to the university, and his maternal grandfather was head basketball coach from 1955-63.


As coaches who came before him can attest, this job isn't easy. The Huskers have never sustained success in basketball, are the only Power Five team to have never won an NCAA Tournament game and haven't won a conference title since 1950.


Hoiberg, who signed a seven-year contract valued at $25 million, offered a quick left-handed wave to fans as he walked into the arena before tipoff, and the Huskers made 6 of 7 shots to get out to an early lead in the first five minutes.


The other 35 minutes belonged to the Highlanders.


Nebraska hit only 4 of its last 22 shots of the half, Willburn scored nine points during a 20-5 spurt that pulled UCR even, and Elkaz swooped in for a putback just before the buzzer to put the Highlanders up 32-28 at the break.


"Their run caught us off guard," Cheatham said. "It was a little slap in the face. We didn't pick it up from there. One game doesn't define us. We still have got 29 more games. We'll be fine."


BIG PICTURE


UC Riverside: The Highlanders capitalized on Nebraska's offensive ineptitude, getting stronger as the game went on. They'll get another crack at a Power Five opponent when they travel to Washington State next month.


Nebraska: It's going to take a while for a roster with 14 newcomers to coalesce. On this night, the Huskers looked every bit the team picked 13th in the Big Ten.


UP NEXT


UC Riverside hosts Idaho on Saturday.


Nebraska hosts Southern Utah on Saturday.


--- Associated Press ---