As a preview to its 10-day trip to Brazil, the Kansas State men’s basketball team played a spirited 30-minute scrimmage before an estimated crowd of 2,000 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday.
The Wildcats alternated between the Black and White teams playing with FIBA rules, which they will utilize during their 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. FIBA rules include four quarters of 10 minutes each (although the team used five-minute quarters for the scrimmage) and a 24-second shot clock. The two teams split four games with the Black winning games one (15-13) and two (11-6) and the White coming back to claim game three (13-11) and four (21-7). Junior Omari Lawrence and sophomore Adrian Diaz led all scorers with 15 points each, while freshman D.J. Johnson (14) and sophomore Nino Williams (13) also finished in double figures. Seniors Rodney McGruder and Jordan Henriquez scored eight and six points, respectively.
“I liked our energy today,” said first-year head coach Bruce Weber. “We got up-and-down pretty good and lots of guys were involved. We still have work to do before we head to Brazil, but it was nice to play a scrimmage in front of a crowd and give our team an actual live game situation."
McGruder had a big 3-pointer to give the Black team a 15-13 win in game one, as he led all scorers with five points. Johnson showed the ability to finish around the rim with eight points in the Black squad’s 11-6 win in game two. Lawrence gave the White team a 13-11 win in game three with a 3-pointer from the corner with under five seconds remaining to finish with eight points. Diaz led all scorers with six points in the White’s 21-7 in game four.
K-State will have three more practices before departing for Brazil on Wednesday. The 10-day trip from August 8-17 will include five games against Brazilian club teams in the cities of Sao Paulo (August 9-12) and Rio de Janeiro (August 12-16). The team will play its first game on Friday, August 10, against Sao Jose Dos Campos at 3:30 p.m. CT before tilts with Mogi Das Cruzes Club team at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 11 and Pingdamonhangaba Club team at 9 a.m. CT on Sunday, August 12. Upon moving to Rio de Janeiro, the squad will play Tijuca Club team at 4 p.m. CT on Monday, August 13 and Botafogo Club team at 4 p.m. CT on Wednesday, August 15.
The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this will be the first by the men’s basketball team since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, in October 2004.
Weber’s team returns 12 lettermen, including seven players with starting experience, in 2012-13. The group is headlined by two-time All-Big 12 performer Rodney McGruder (15.8 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) and fellow Big 12 All-Defensive Team member Jordan Henriquez (7.6 ppg., 2.4 bpg.) as well as senior guard Martavious Irving (5.5 ppg., 1.5 apg.).
K-State made its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons in 2011-12, as the Wildcats posted a 22-11 overall record and earned a tie for fifth place in the Big 12 standings with a 10-8 mark. It was the school’s unprecedented sixth consecutive 20-win season and sixth straight trip to the postseason.