MANHATTAN, Kan. – Gardner-Webb will wrap up its tough non-conference slate on Wednesday night, battling a red-hot Kansas State squad at 8:00 pm in Bramlage Coliseum.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (7-5) started their two-game road swing in strong fashion, holding off Big Ten foe Nebraska, 70-62, on Sunday afternoon. It marked Gardner-Webb's third win over a Power 5 conference in men's basketball in the past two seasons. The 'Dogs picked up wins over Clemson and Purdue during the first half of the 2014-2015 season.
Tyrell Nelson earned Big South Conference Player of the Week honors following the win, averaging 19.0 points and 9.0 boards over two games last week. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound senior netted a season-high 24 points – just three of his career-high – in the win at Nebraska.
Nelson (13.6 ppg), sixth man David Efianayi (13.5 ppg) and point guard Laquincy Rideau (12.8 ppg) continue to lead the charge for Gardner-Webb, which is averaging 77.9 points per game as a team – while limiting opponents to 67.9 points per game.
Starting guards Liam O'Reilly and Jamaal Robateau have also shown the ability to score in bunches and forwards Brandon Miller and D.J. Laster have been sturdy off of the bench. Freshman point guard Christian Turner pilfered a career-high three steals vs. the Cornhuskers and ranks second to Rideau with 33 assists so far this season.
Center L'Hassane Niangane was hampered by foul trouble at Nebraska, logging just eight minutes, but scored six points – including four on dunks – while playing solidly when on the court. The 6-foot-10, 245-pound junior averages a team-high 1.0 block per game and leads the 'Dogs with 27 offensive rebounds.
Coach Tim Craft's team regularly goes 10-11 men deep, as that depth continues to emerge as the non-conference season closes.
Kansas State (10-1) is off to a magnificent start to the season, and has blown past much of its competition so far in 2016-2017. The Wildcats' defense has been smothering, with 8.2 steals per game forcing 16.1 turnovers per game on average.
Kansas State has allowed just 58.9 points per game, running often as a result of their opponents' miscues to average an healthy 18.4 ppg margin of victory thus far.
The lone loss, a 69-68 setback at Maryland, came on November 26.
Four Wildcats average in double figures, led by Barry Brown (13.3 ppg). Two more men average better than 9.0 points per game.
Wednesday night's game will air live on Fox Sports Kansas City and will also be available via ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com). Ben Boyle and Stan Weber will call the action from Bramlage Coliseum.