Kansas State coach Frank Martin showed some empathy for Iowa State and hard-luck coach Greg McDermott Saturday during his post-game remarks to reporters.
He also piled on departed Cyclone guard Lucca Staiger, who last month abruptly left the team to pursue a professional career in his native Germany.
K-State won its eighth straight game in the series and fourth straight at Hilton Coliseum with its 79-75 victory.
Martin has his team rolling at 19-4 overall and 6-3 in the Big 12. He recognizes the significance of a win in Ames, even against an undermanned ISU team with just eight scholarship players.
“These arenas are so hard to play in. Fans here at Iowa State are great and they have a good basketball team,” Martin said. “My heart goes out to Greg and those kids because to deal with the injuries to (Jamie) Vanderbeken and (Charles) Boozer and then to turn around and have some selfish guy quit on his team, and for them to still be playing as hard as they are is a credit to their team and coaching staff. I think Iowa State is going to win a bunch of games here.”
ISU fans may have only nine more games to watch big man Craig Brackins.
The junior forward is likely to leave early for the NBA after flirting with the idea last offseason. Brackins had his 26th career double-double Saturday against K-State, scoring 29 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
After a frustrating start to conference play, he’s looking more like the player who earned first-team all-Big 12 honors a season ago.
“He’s quick and he’s a great shooter,” KSU forward Curtis Kelly said. “I didn’t know he was that good of a shooter because I’ve never played him before. You really have to pressure him. If he gets one sight of the rim it is going in.”