December 20, 2008
Kent helps Cats pull away from Centenary
Coming off back-to-back crisp performances, the Kansas State Wildcats looked anything but fresh in the opening 16 minutes of their game with the Centenary Gents on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum. Then, senior forward Darren Kent came to life and awoke his fellow Cats on their way to a 73-51 victory.
Coming off the end of finals just the day before, K-State found itself tied with the Gents at 20 with 4:37 remaining in the first half, and then Kent scored 12 of the Wildcats' final 13 points of the first half as the Wildcats pulled away to a 33-21 halftime lead.
"It felt good to finally knock down some outside shots. I've been struggling the last few games to just find a rhythm out there," said Kent, who scored a career-high 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field. "At the beginning of the game, I struggled a bit but then I knocked down a few and got some confidence. It just went from there the whole game."
In addition to the career high in points, Kent added 10 rebounds, marking his third career double-double. Sophomore guard Fred Brown chipped in 14 points, with freshman forward Jamar Samuels contributing eight rebounds, eight points and six assists to the Wildcats' effort.
The victory moves K-State to 8-3 on the season, while Centenary drops to 2-10. The Gents were led in scoring by Nick Stallings, who poured in 27 points, including hitting 4 of 6 3-pointers.
Coach Frank Martin said the team did not have much time to prepare for the game because he chose to lighten the Wildcats' practice load as they finished up the semester with final exams.
"This was a hard day to play a game," Martin said. "Those kids have been studying all week, dealing with finals. ... It's just difficult. They were taking finals yesterday and we had to play a game today. It's unfortunate, but that's how we scheduled it.
"Because of how we play with such aggression, defensively and offensively, every time you take the court, you have to (play that way) and repeat it to stay sharp. Unfortunately, this week it was my decision to back off practice because we've had a very good academic semester and I wanted them to finish it the right way."
On a day when K-State athletics honored those serving at Ft. Riley with Big Red One Appreciation Day, the Wildcats came out looking uninspired. K-State led 17-10 in the first half, but then the Gents of Shreveport, Louisiana rallied to tie the game at 17.
"It was tough. At one time, they had four guards out there and that's something we don't practice against much," Samuels said. "It was nice because Baylor has a team like that that just wants to penetrate and dish."
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