December 11, 2008

Colon muscles Cats to win over USM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Neutral site or not, junior forward Luis Colon and Kansas State, who came into Thursday's game at the Sprint Center in the throws of a three-game losing streak, desperately needed to find a way to win one away from Bramlage Coliseum. So while K-State's 74-55 victory over Southern Miss isn't going to be the cornerstone of this team's postseason resume, at least for now, it seems as big as a house.

"We came from three losses," Colon said following the win. "It's time to go. We can't be losing games anymore if we want to make it to the NCAA Tournament. That was a big win right there."

Sure, Thursday's contest wasn't a road game in its truest form, but even still, the Wildcats will most certainly take it.

Oh, and the career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds Colon, not usually know for his offensive prowess, gave K-State in the win?

Yeah, the Wildcats will take that too.

"I couldn't be happier for a kid who has worked as hard as he has," Wildcat head coach Frank Martin said of Colon, who was a perfect 9 for 9 from the floor. "He played all of last year with a torn labrum. … Seeing him find success is gratifying, but like I told him, he has to keep building on it."

"I always like being able to score and rebound," said Colon, whose double-double was the first of his career. "I haven't done that since my last game of high school. It was a fun game because we won. If we would have lost that game, I wouldn't be happy if I scored 60 points."

After building a 15-point halftime advantage, fueled in large part by Colon's 12 first-half points and nine first-half rebounds, K-State's lead would not dip back to double digits in half No. 2.

This one was rarely in doubt, and though Colon's career game was a large reason for it, it wasn't, by any means, the only one.

Sure, the Wildcat offense, which Martin refers to as "a work in progress," was better against Southern Miss than it has been in recent days, but it was K-State's defensive effort, which forced the Golden Eagles to shoot just 29 percent from the floor, that once again looked to be the squad's strong point.

"That's a hard challenge for young kids to understand sometimes," Martin said. "They have to be so involved on both ends of the floor. Young kids in today's generation think that if they're a good offensive player, they don't need to guard."

But Martin's team guarded on Thursday.

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