December 26, 2006

Defense, Walker help ignite Wildcats

LAS VEGAS - When the Kansas State Wildcats limped home from a road trip to Cal and Colorado State, they brought with them two fresh losses, a 4-3 record and growing doubts that this group of players understood what Coach Bob Huggins wanted.

Soon, though, super freshman Bill Walker would become eligible, and the rest of the team would begin to show signs of being a Huggins team. Six games later, the Wildcats are breaking for the holidays after leaving the Orleans Arena with the championship trophy in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic and a 10-3 mark.

The first sign of life for the Wildcats came against Cleveland State on Dec. 5 when they used swarming defense to take a 50-23 halftime lead in a 33-point victory. Since then, the Wildcats have grown in defensive consistency and confidence, concluding in Vegas with an impressive 68-55 win over Southern California and a 72-56 trouncing of New Mexico in the tournament title game.

"I think we've turned the corner," 6-foot-6 senior Akeem Wright said. "We've been on a little win streak and starting with the Cleveland State game, guys have started to shoot the ball well."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!