Kansas State really struggled shooting against Arkansas.They were 3 for 22 from three-point range and missed all 10 of their attempts in the first half.
Shot selection and mental approach were lacking, according to Bruce Weber. Some were just rushed because of how aggressively they were being closed out on by the Razorback defenders.
They also missed some open looks because they weren’t in rhythm.
Arkansas also didn’t shoot it well. They had the exact same percentage from distance as the Wildcats.
During the postgame session, Nijel Pack acknowledged that they had a poor shooting performance and that those will happen at times throughout a long season. Their issue was not adjusting quicker.
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BETTER SECOND HALF
After being down 18 points at the break, K-State won the second half by 10 points.
An area of improvement from one half to the other was points in the paint. They tallied 14 points in the paint in the first half and responded with 22 in the second. That is because they were attacking the rim more, according to Weber.
That was an emphasis for him at halftime when speaking to his team. They wanted to use Arkansas’ ball pressure against them to provide themselves with easier looks in the lane. Not only that, they valued the ball better.
They were just more aggressive, according to Pack, and not over-thinking it.
Kaosi Ezeagu (USA Today)
A lineup that was effective for Kansas State in the second half was one that included Ismael Massoud playing the ‘5’. As most coin it anymore, it was a ‘small ball’ lineup.
That lineup was tossed out to help spread the floor and create driving lanes to the basket to once again take advantage of the ball pressure being applied by the Razorbacks. The in-game adjustments were to react to the ball pressure, but it probably came too late.
Per Weber, that small ball lineup was another reason for the 22 paint points in the second frame.
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Wildcats. They played late last night and have to flip over and play at 6 p.m. CST, today.
Though Illinois has played poorly to begin the 2021 season, they are ranked No. 20 in the nation and it will be a challenge. They also have one of the best bigs in America in Kofi Cockburn. Though to be fair, he was lackluster on Monday night in Kansas City against Cincinnati.
Weber noted the intensity differences that the Wildcats played with against Arkansas and shared that they’ll need the high-intensity version to compete with Illinois. But they need to combine it with better execution.
A few more defensive stops and a few more assists will be necessary moving forward.
They must have a short-term memory. That is something that Weber delivered to the team after falling in night one. When the clock hits midnight, they have to forget what happened against the Razorbacks.
The contest against Illinois is another opportunity to play a good team and grab a great win. They must learn from Monday and apply it to Tuesday.
Their response on Tuesday will be something to watch. How much can they improve? How much can they learn? How well do they respond? If they have great toughness and mettle, it should be on display.
Though Monday was a black eye and disappointing, they can choose for it to not define them, as Selton Miguel said after the game.