Coming off its best performance in almost two years, the Kansas State Wildcats host Albany on Wednesday night in Manhattan, Kan.
Kansas State (3-2) defeated North Dakota 84-42 Sunday afternoon, the most points the Wildcats have scored since Jan. 18, 2020. They shot better than 60 percent and held the Fighting Hawks below 30 percent from the field, including 3-of-31 from 3-point range.
"Obviously it's not a win against Arkansas or Illinois (two ranked teams K-State lost to last week)," K-State coach Bruce Weber said, "but it's definitely improvement. Hopefully we're starting to understand how hard you have to play, the passion you have to play, the defense you have to play. We were pretty hard on them when we got back Wednesday. After watching film, we challenged them and their pride.
"We had a three or four-minute period where that defense was as good as it's been all year and as good as some of our other teams. We were flying around. That was my big emphasis was play with a passion and play (hard)."
The biggest change for K-State was balanced scoring. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, including Mike McGuirl for the first time this season. He had slumped in the first four games but scored 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field.
"I mean, it's nowhere I haven't been before," McGuirl said. "I'm not new to struggling or going through this. But I have great teammates around me who always support me. They get me through every day and they're the reason I was able to get through it."
Albany (1-5) is coming off its first victory of the season. The Great Danes defeated Eastern Illinois 64-62 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Justin Neely. Eastern Illinois had taken a 62-61 lead with 12 seconds left.
De'Vondre Perry, a graduate student, passed the ball to Neely, a freshman, to take the big shot.
"It shows the trust that we have, an older guy giving it to the freshman and putting the game in my hands, essentially as a major player," Neely said.
The victory was the first of first-year head coach Dwayne Killings' career. Matt Cerruti led the team with 14 points.
--Field Level Media