LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. —
“We expected a run and I thought they’d shoot the ball a little bit better than they’ve been shooting it,” Central Arkansas coach Clarence Finley said. “They’ve been struggling with their outside shot and I should have probably started zone.”
Kansas State’s undersized frontline dominated the Bears on the boards by holding a 27-13 advantage — 14 on the offensive end.
Southwell paced the Wildcats with 10 first half points while DJ Johnson added eight of his 10 total rebounds.
Second-half adjustments weren’t effective for the Bears as the Wildcats opened on an 11-4 run by scoring 10 of those points in the paint.
“We know they were going to get second and third shots because we don’t block out as well in the zone,” Finley said. “In the man-to-man, we tried to double down on the post, Gipson. He got it off quick before we could get into our double down.”
The performance was benefited greatly by the continued emergence of Gipson, Kansas State’s best returning big man. He added nine of his 17 points in the second half.
The junior big man’s performance follows a 12.7 scoring average in Puerto Rico and marks his third straight game in double figures.
With a rather significant lack of depth in the paint, Weber said these performances are incredibly important.
“He’s been a very much improved and dominant player in our practices,” Weber said. “We expect this from him. Can he do it consistently? Can he keep his weight off?”
With an 87-49 lead and 1:56 left in the contest, the Wildcats carried their largest lead of the game as well as their largest margin of the season.
“Over that break we improved on our offense, our spacing and our patience,” Southwell said. “Patience is one thing we really need to work on. I felt that it was better today.”