Bruce Weber believes one of the best aspects of his Kansas State team is its scoring depth.
That trait was on full display in a one-sided win over Texas last month.
Coming off one of their more balanced performances, the 13th-ranked Wildcats look to sweep the season series from the Longhorns on Saturday night in Austin.
Kansas State (21-5, 10-3 Big 12) has only two players averaging double figures in points, with Rodney McGruder at 14.8 per game and Angel Rodriguez at 10.7, but the Wildcats have had 10 reach double digits at some point this season, tied with Baylor for the most in the conference.
Kansas State had five players score at least 10 in a game for the first time in Monday’s 71-61 victory over West Virginia. Junior Will Spradling had a career high-tying 19 while reserve Nino Williams scored 13 after totaling 11 in his previous 10 games for the Wildcats, who are tied with No. 9 Kansas for first place in the Big 12.
“I think it is probably the best thing about our team,” Weber said of the balanced scoring. “Every game, it is somebody else.”
Some unexpected sources contributed in Kansas State’s first matchup with Texas (12-14, 4-9).
With McGruder in early foul trouble and Spradling breaking his nose in the first half, Weber was forced to turn to his bench. The reserves responded with 45 points on 18-of-30 shooting (60.0 percent) as the Wildcats rolled to an 83-57 victory, their most lopsided win in the series since 1971.
Thomas Gipson led the way with 17 points off the bench and fellow reserve Omari Lawrence added a career-best 12.
Senior Jordan Henriquez, the lone forward in Weber’s four-guard starting lineup, had seven points in 14 minutes against the Longhorns, but his status is uncertain for the rematch after he traveled to New York on Tuesday for his grandmother’s funeral. His return has been hampered by a snowstorm that has blanketed much of Kansas.
If he can’t make it back, the 6-foot-7 Gipson seems likely to slide into his spot, having already made 13 starts and proven he can frustrate Texas. He made 7 of 10 shots and had seven rebounds in last month’s meeting.
That embarrassing defeat was just one of many disappointments this season for Rick Barnes’ young Longhorns team. Texas, which uses a rotation of six freshmen and five sophomores, is in danger of reaching double-digit defeats in conference play for the first time since a 6-10 Big 12 finish in 1997-98.
The Longhorns bounced back from last Saturday’s 73-47 loss at Kansas and picked up their first road win of the season in Tuesday’s 68-59 victory over TCU.
Connor Lammert had 13 points in his third start and Myck Kabongo had 12 points and seven assists in his third game back from a 23-game NCAA suspension for accepting airfare and personal training instruction and lying about it to school officials. Texas is 2-1 since Kabongo’s return.
The Longhorns made 24 of 48 shots Tuesday, and are shooting 51.0 percent in their three wins this month compared to 32.2 percent in their three February losses.
“The thing right now is consistency and put it together on the offensive end and defensive end,” Barnes said.