Instant analysis: Kansas State outlasts Columbia, 81-71

Playing in its first game against a Division I opponent, Columbia (1-1) hung around for a while against Kansas State (2-0), but faded down the stretch and fell, 81-71.

On one hand, the Lions did a good job handling the environment inherent to playing a Power Five conference team on the road. Their half-court offense generated a solid number of in-close looks. On the other end of the floor, Kyle Smith switched things up a bit midway through the game, installing a 1-3-1 zone that the Wildcats really struggled to overcome.

On the other, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Monday night’s game was a big missed opportunity. Columbia is a team that thrives on its three-point shooting. But until Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg and Grant Mullins hit three straight treys to pull the Lions within three points 15 minutes into the second half, they had been shooting 1-for-17 from distance. That’s not going to get it done against a Power Five opponent (or any opponent for that matter).

Reason for optimism

One week before the season started, Kyle Smith told me that the offense would have a “sleeker” look with Luke Petrasek.

He wasn’t lying.

Petrasek did a good job cutting to the basket and fit into the offensive system almost flawlessly. He wound up co-leading all scorers with 19 points and also made a few hustle plays that will certainly earn him points with Smith going forward.

Whether or not Petrasek will wrest full control of minutes at the five from Conor Voss remains to be seen, but he’s certainly made a good case for himself so far.

Reason for frustration

Besides the uncharacteristic three-point shooting performance, the Lions didn’t do themselves any favors by getting into early foul trouble.

Mullins (who was tagged for a third personal only 28 seconds into the second hald) and Nate Hickman both picked up two fouls apiece early in the game, putting Columbia in a tough spot early on.

It was over when…

After Mullins’ three pulled the Lions within three points, the Wildcats responded with a D.J. Johnson dunk. Then, K-State forward Dean Wade added with a trey of his own and picked Isaac Cohen’s pocket at the other end. That led to an easy Wildcats bucket in transition, and just like that, a three-point deficit had swelled to 10 with 3:46 to go.
Up next
Columbia plays at Northwestern on Friday night, its second and final opportunity to pick up a win against a Power Five team.

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