MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Marcus Foster struggled in his college debut, right along with the rest of his Kansas State teammates, so Bruce Weber pulled him aside after a morning shoot-around Wednesday.
“I just told him, ‘Relax. Enjoy it. Worry about what you can control,’” Weber recalled.
Once he hit his first basket, Foster certainly looked at ease.
He went on to hit four 3-pointers and finished with 25 points, helping the Wildcats bounce back from a humiliating loss to Northern Colorado with a 71-63 victory over Oral Roberts.
“Marcus is a good player. We were very fortunate to get him,” Weber said. “We kind of sat back, just laughing, when people didn’t have him in the top 100. We couldn’t figure it out.”
D.J. Johnson added 12 points and Will Spradling 10 for the Wildcats (1-1), who struggled early on against the Golden Eagles (1-1). They finally found their rhythm early in the second half, then made enough plays in the closing minutes to put them away.
Obi Emegano, a transfer from Western Illinois, scored 24 points to lead Oral Roberts. Utah transfer Shawn Glover scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half.The Golden Eagles, coming off a season-opening win over Tulsa, roared to a 16-4 advantage midway through the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats didn’t hit a field goal until there was 13:12 left, and had more turnovers (four) than baskets (three) through the first 12 minutes.
Foster finally hit a 3-pointer to end the Golden Eagles’ opening salvo. He hit another 3 moments later, and wound up scoring 10 of his 16 first-half points during a 14-1 spurt that gave Kansas State an 18-17 lead with 7:17 remaining in the first half.
“I just noticed that our team was looking sluggish,” Foster said. “I’m a pretty good scorer, so I took it upon myself to get my team going. It got everybody going.”
Glover got hot late in the second half, scoring 10 of the Golden Eagles’ 12 points during one lengthy stretch. And when Spradling missed a pair of foul shots and Nino Williams missed an open shot inside, Oral Roberts had a chance to trim into a 59-53 deficit.
Oral Roberts made one last charge, closing within 62-57 on Korey Billbury’s 3-pointer with 3:15 left. But Spradling showed some senior resilience by knocking down a pair of foul shots, and then feeding Foster on a run-out for an easy dunk that helped put the game away.