By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Hays Daily News
MANHATTAN -- All it took was a few jump shots to jump-start Kansas State's offense and ground the UMKC Kangaroos.
Marcus Foster and Justin Edwards combined for three straight 3-pointers during a decisive 13-2 second-half run and forward Thomas Gipson took advantage with a big game inside as the Wildcats knocked off UMKC, 83-73, Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State improved to 2-0 with a victory in a game that technically was part of the Maui Invitational. After a road game Friday at Long Beach State, the Wildcats head to Hawaii for the rest of the tournament, starting with Purdue next Monday.
"UMKC was a great team," Foster said of the 'Roos (1-1), who were coming off a season-opening victory Friday at Missouri. "We respected them from the time we saw them on film.
"This is the type of team we're going to face in Maui, probably a little bit bigger, but it was definitely a good way to start off the Maui tournament."
The Wildcats trailed UMKC, 40-36, at halftime and were down six early in the second period before their shooters took over. K-State was 8 of 13 for 61.5 percent from 3-point range.
After Martez Harrison's 3-pointer put the 'Roos up 45-39 with 18-17 left, Foster connected twice and Edwards once from outside the arc, followed by four straight Gipson free throws to give K-State a 52-47 advantage at the 14:45 mark. UMKC got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
Foster, who finished with 16 points and four assists, hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range and Nigel Johnson scored half of his 12 points with a pair of threes as the Wildcats went to a smaller lineup against UMKC's different zone defenses. Edwards added 15 points, 13 after intermission.
"I definitely feel we can shoot the ball well with me, Nigel, Tre (Harris) and Justin," Foster said. "Then guys like Jevon (Thomas) and Wesley (Iwundu), they can shoot the ball out there too.
"So we definitely have a team of shooters and that's why it opens the game up for Gip and (center Stephen) Hurt. Because if guys are flying at us, we can get the ball inside to them."
Gipson made UMKC pay when the Wildcats did go inside, scoring 21 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Hurt had six of his nine points in the first half, playing just five minutes after intermission when K-State went with a smaller lineup.
"We couldn't guard them with Hurt in there," K-State coach Bruce Weber said. "I felt bad for Stephen -- he's better in the zone stuff and attacking it than other guys -- but they just were too small, too quick and got us all strung out."
UMKC coach Kareem Richardson credited the switch for not only slowing his team's offense but also for getting the 'Roo big men in foul trouble.
"(Weber) went small, putting four shooters surrounding Gipson, who we all know is a load inside," he said. "They emphasized getting the ball inside early and that got us in more foul trouble.
"Gipson did a good job on our opposing guys deep and getting (Shayok) Shayok in foul trouble. All of our big guys were in foul trouble so I thought they made a good adjustment by going small."
Gipson, who scored 13 points in the second half, said he was ready.
"It told them at halftime I didn't want to lose," he said. "I told them, 'You think it's bad now, if we lose that's going to look bad on us.'
"I just put the team on my shoulders and wanted to come out and play hard the second half."
Harrison, UMKC's sophomore point guard, finished with 21 points and five assists, but K-State held the rest of the 'Roos in check the second half as Broderick Newbill scored just three of his 11 points and Shayok four of his 10 after the break.
In addition to its four double-figure scorers, K-State got nine assists from Thomas. The Wildcats shot 58.3 overall from the field and outrebounded UMKC, 29-22.
Harrison's guarded 3-pointer over Thomas with 30 seconds left in the first half gave UMKC four-point advantage at intermission. The 'Roos led by as many as 11 points in the period.
"The first half they took it to us every which way," Weber said. "(But) other than the stress of the game, this is good for us."