February 29, 2008

Walker moving on from his worst game

Kansas State senior point guard Clent Stewart on Thursday stoically recalled the locker room aftermath that ensued after the Wildcats' 74-65 loss to No. 5 Texas three nights before as if he were reliving a nightmare. "Bill came in and said, 'That's the worst game I've played. I can't play like that for us to win.'" Playing without his version of the Superman cape - his headband - Bill Walker missed all 14 of his shot attempts for the poorest shooting effort by any player in America this season.

Guess what? It probably won't happen again.

"I didn't realize Bill was 0 for 14 until after the game," Stewart said after practice at Bramlage Coliseum. "Bill always bounces back. He's always going to give you his 100 percent effort, so there are no worries."

Terence Johns of Cal-State Bakersfield missed all 13 of his shots in a game this season. Four others missed 12. When Walker aimed at being at the top of a list this season, this certainly wasn't what one of the nation's most athletic talents had in mind.

"I never had a game like that in my life," Walker said, "never without a field goal."

Back to the headband, though.

"I have about 10 different ones but I couldn't find any of my headbands for the game," Walker said. "I just misplaced them. For as long as I've been playing I've had headbands. It's sort of a superstition for me."

Expect Walker to pack plenty of his white headbands just in case for when the Wildcats look to end their four-game Big 12 road curse at No. 6 Kansas in ESPN's primetime game at 8 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

K-State, 18-9 overall and 8-5 in the Big 12, remains two games behind Kansas, 25-3 and 10-3, for second-place in the league standings with three games to play in the regular season. For as much as Walker dislikes the Jayhawks ("I know it's going to be a hostile environment and it's going to be tough to play in," he said), he's grown an equal distaste for the league season.

Since starting on a 5-0 tear for their best league start in 20 years, the Wildcats has lost five of their last eight and haven't won on the road since a 16-point win at Colorado on Jan. 23.

"Conference play, you think you have a handle on things and know how to win games," Walker said, "then you go on a slide like we're going on. That's probably the thing I hate worst."

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