Diarra, Wildcats Shoot Past Bison to Open 2019-20 Season

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Courtesy of K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Cartier Diarra led all scorers with a career-high 23 points and helped K-State shoot out of a halftime deficit in a hard-fought, season-opening victory over North Dakota State, 66-52, at Bramlage Coliseum Tuesday night.

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K-State trailed by one at the break, 22-21, despite holding North Dakota State to 28 percent (7-of-25) from the field. The Wildcats made just one of 12 attempts (8.3 percent) from beyond the 3-point line in the game’s first 20 minutes, but caught fire in the second half, by draining 5-of-9 after the break.

The Wildcats used back-to-back triples to push the lead to eight at the 11-minute mark, then hit another to go up by 11 just before the eight-minute media timeout. North Dakota State pulled within seven, but couldn’t get any closer as K-State held on to win the 16th of its last 17 home openers, including a 7-1 mark under head coach Bruce Weber.

Diarra led the Wildcats with eight points at the break, and scored 15 in the game’s final 20 minutes to top his previous career-best point total of 18 at Kansas last season.

Makol Mawien scored 15 points and notched a double-double – the third of his career – with a game-high 10 rebounds.

North Dakota State was led in scoring by Rocky Kreuser (14) and Tyson Ward (12). Sam Griesel was the Bison’s leading rebounder with nine.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.