MANHATTAN — The Kansas State Wildcats returned from the Fort Myers Tip-Off in sunny Florida licking their wounds after two straight losses.
They will look to get back on track at 7 p.m. Monday when they face Florida A&M at Bramlage Coliseum, with another test looming at the end of the week.
Marquette will visit Bramlage on Saturday night as part of the Big 12/Big East Alliance series on Saturday, but first K-State (4-2) must try to shake off back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and Bradley against a 0-5 Florida A&M team.
Most disturbing to K-State coach Bruce Weber after Wednesday's 73-60 consolation game loss to Bradley was the Wildcats' defensive struggles. The Braves, who had been blown out by Northwestern in the semifinals, shot 50%.
"Our defense has been so good, but we didn't have answers (against Bradley)," Weber said following the game. "At half we had 37 and I told our guys, 'It has nothing to do with offense. That's the most points we scored all year at half.'
"But our defense broke down."
Not that the offense was much better. After trailing 38-37 at halftime, the Wildcats shot just 32% in the second period, including 1 of 13 from 3-point range.
"We have to go back to the drawing board," Weber said. "Obviously it's disappointing. You don't want to go home 0-2. I thought we played at a pretty high level against Pittsburgh. It hurt me and I know it hurt (the players)."
Now the Wildcats face a Florida A&M team that has played all five of its games away from home, with three road losses and two on neutral courts. The Rattlers are coming off an 87-51 loss at Seton Hall.
Senior guard Rod Melton leads FAMU in scoring with 11.2 points per game, with sophomore guard MJ Randolph adding 10 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds. The Rattlers have been offensively challenged, shooting just 35.2% from the field and 24.2% from beyond the arc. They also have been outrebounded by an average of 44-33 per game.
K-State also is struggling offensively, shooting 40.8% overall and 28.3% from 3-point range. Xavier Sneed leads the Wildcats with 14.5 points per game and point guard Cartier Diarra is contributing 11.5 points and 6.8 assists.