K-State Can’t Shake Cold Start in 82-69 loss to 21/22 USC

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Kansas State could never get on track offensively, as the Wildcats connected on just 31 percent from the field, including 25 percent in the first half, in an 82-69 season-opening loss to No. 21/22 USC on Monday night at the Hall of Fame Series Las Vegas before 7,595 fans at the T-Mobile Arena. The 31-percent field goal percentage was the lowest under head coach Jerome Tang and the lowest by the Wildcats since a loss at Ole Miss in 2022.
The Trojans (1-0), who ranked eighth nationally in field goal percentage defense (33.9) in 2022-23, continued that trend to open the new season, as the Wildcats missed their first 8 field goal attempts before junior Arthur Kaluma connected on a second-chance layup with just over 16 minutes to play in the first half. Overall, K-State connected on just 31 percent (22-of-71) from the field, including 24.2 percent (8-of-33) from 3-point range, while turning the ball over 17 times. USC also posted 8 blocked shots, including 5 from senior Joshua Morgan.
Despite the poor shooting, the Wildcats kept it close for most of the first half before the Trojans scored 12 of the last 18 points to take a 40-30 lead into the halftime break. Back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Tylor Perry and junior Cam Carter to open the second half closed the gap to 40-36, but they could get no closer, as USC outscored K-State, 25-11, over the next 5 minutes to take a commanding 65-47 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

Down 70-51 after a 3-point play, the Wildcats made one last charge, using a 13-2 lead capped by a Perry 3-pointer to close the deficit to 72-64 with 2:21 to play. Perry, who had 16 points in the second half, was responsible for 11 of the 13 points in the run. However, the Trojans scored 10 of the last 15 points to close out the game.

Perry rebounded from a poor start to pace three Wildcats in double figures with 22 points in his K-State debut, connecting on 5-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-12 from long range. He missed his first 8 field goals before hitting a deep 3-pointer right before halftime. He added team-highs in assists (6) and steals (4) to go with 6 rebounds in nearly 35 minutes.

Carter notched double figures for the 11th time in his career, including the ninth time at K-State, with 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting to go with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 28 minutes. Senior David N’Guessan collected his first career double-double with 10 points on 5-of-8 field goals and a career-high 10 rebounds in 27 minutes.

USC was equally as impressive on offense as it was on defense, connecting on 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from the field, including 55.2 percent (16-of-29) in the second half. The Trojans saw four players score in double figures, including a game-high 24 points by senior Boogie Ellis on 7-of-14 shooting. Ellis added a game-tying 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in nearly 36 minutes. Freshman phenom Isaiah Collier scored 18 points in his college debut to go with a game-tying 6 assists before fouling out.
K-State returns home to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Friday night (Nov. 10) when the Wildcats play host to Bellarmine (0-1) at 7 p.m., CT. It is the first two games in a 3-day span for the Wildcats, which hosts South Dakota State on Monday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchase online at kstatesports.com/tickets.
The K-State/USC box score is available here.
On the game…
“First off, my hats off to Coach (Andy) Enfield, his staff, and players, they were tremendous tonight. They are obviously one of the more talented teams in the country and they showed that ability in the win tonight. We did some good things and some not so good things, but we are incredibly grateful to part of such a great event.


“Our fans were terrific. We had such a great turnout for the event. I just can’t say enough good things about our fans and how supportive they are. They are the best in the world.


“This was a tremendous experience for our team. Everything except for the outcome of the game has been terrific. We will learn from this and become a better basketball team.”  


On the shooting woes and what those can be attributed to…
“I didn’t think we took bad shots or tough shots in the first half. I don’t know if we had nerves with it being opening night, you will have to ask them. I have seen us shoot the ball really well. We shot the ball pretty well in practice yesterday, so you have to give credit to USC. A lot of it was their defense. I didn’t stand on the sideline and think ‘that’s a tough shot.’ I know we are going to shoot the ball better.”

Ball Didn’t Fall: K-State missed its first 8 field goal attempts before junior Arthur Kaluma made a second-chance layup with 16:02 to play in the first half. The Wildcats managed just 9 made field goals in the first half, hitting on just 25 percent (9-of-36). It was the lowest field goal percentage in a half under head coach Jerome Tang and the lowest by the Wildcats since shooting 22.2 percent (6-of-27) in the second half against Texas at home on Jan. 4, 2022.

The Wildcats was slightly better in the second half, connecting on 37.1 percent (13-of-35) from the floor, including 29.4 percent (5-of-17) from 3-point range.

Noteworthy Numbers: USC scored 50 of its 82 points in the paint, as the Trojans hit on 65 percent (26-of-40) from inside the 3-point arc. In addition to their advantage in the paint (50-28), they also held an 18-12 edge in fast-break points

K-State out-rebounded USC, 44-41, including 23 offensive rebounds, which led to a 15-9 advantage in second-chance points. Despite turning the ball over 17 times, the Wildcats managed to tie the Trojans, 13-13, in points off turnovers.

Starting 5: Head coach Jerome Tang used a starting lineup of senior guard Tylor Perry, junior guard Cam Carter, redshirt freshman wing Taj Manning, junior wing Arthur Kaluma and senior wing David N’Guessan. Carter has now started 37 consecutive games dating back to 2022-23, while N’Guessan started for the 19th time in his K-State career. It was the first starts for Kaluma, Manning and Perry in their respective Wildcat careers.

Kaluma and Perry now have started 68 and 38 games, respectively, in their college careers.

All 11 available players saw action in the game, including all 3 true freshmen.

Seniors Ques Glover (injury) and Nae’Qwan Tomlin (suspension) did not play.

Season Openers: The loss was just the third in an opener in the last 21 seasons for the Wildcats, as K-State is now 93-27 all-time in season openers. The program is now 12-17 when starting the season away from home, including 3-4 in neutral-site openers. The team fell to 0-4 all-time in season openers against ranked teams in the first such matchup since 1999.

Perry Gets Going: After a rocky start, senior Tylor Perry finished with his 20th career 20-point game in his college career with a team-high 22 points on 5-of-17 shooting to go with game-highs in both assists (6) and steals (4) and 6 rebounds in nearly 35 minutes. He has now scored in double figures in 58 of the last 68 college games.

After starting 0-of-8 from the field, Perry made 5 of his last 9 field goals, including 4 of his last 6 3-pointers for 19 points (16 coming in the second half).

Carter Scores in Double Figures: Junior Cam Carter hit double figures for the ninth time in his K-State career with 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting, while adding 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in nearly 28 minutes. His 15 points were 2 shy of his career-high of 17 at Texas.
N’Guessan Snags First Double-Double: Senior David N’Guessan collected his first career double-double, scoring 10 points on 5-of-8 field goals to go with a career-best 10 rebounds in just over 27 minutes of action.
True Freshmen See First Action: Freshmen Dai Dai AmesR.J. Jones and Macaleab Rich all saw their first official action as Wildcats, combining for 31 minutes of action. Jones scored his first points as a Wildcat with a pair of free throws in nearly 11 minutes, while Ames dished out 3 assists in his 15 minutes of action.
K-State plays host to first-time opponent Bellarmine (0-0) at 7 p.m., CT on Friday (Nov. 10) in the home opener at Bramlage Coliseum. It is a Wildcat Weekend with the Wildcat football team playing Baylor at 2 p.m., CT on Saturday (Nov. 11).
A game recap will be published on www.kstatesports.com