Sneed’s Career-High Leads K-State Past SE Missouri State, 89-71

Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) dunks over Southeast Missouri State guard Daniel Simmons (23) and Southeast Missouri State forward Milos Vranes, lower right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Kansas State defeated Southeast Missouri State 89-71. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Courtesy: Kansas State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Sophomore Xavier Sneed paced four Wildcats in double figures with a career-best 23 points, as Kansas State connected on a season-best 62.5 percent from the field in an 89-71 win over SE Missouri State on Saturday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Sneed, who posted his second 20-point game in his last four outing, was joined in double figures by juniors Dean Wade (19) and Kamau Stokes (12) and sophomore Makol Mawien (11), as the Wildcats posted season-highs for field goals made (35), assists (25), points in the paint (44) and dunks (7).

HOW IT HAPPENED
Bramlage Coliseum was rocking early, as the Wildcats sprung out to an early lead behind several big plays. In the opening minutes, Stokes led a Wildcats’ fast break that was lobbed to Sneed who threw down the alley-oop.

Minutes later, Sneed received a pass in the corner of the court, where he connected on a 3-pointer and was subsequently fouled on the shot, converting on a four-point play. Sneed led K-State to an early 16-6 lead at the 15:45 mark with 8 early points.

Defensively, the early run came in light of an opportune defense, as junior guard Barry Brown cut off the Redhawk passes throughout the game, including 3 steals in the first half.

Coming off the bench, junior guard Amaad Wainright made an immediate impact offensively, recording 3 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in the first half. Wainright’s efforts on the boards helped K-State out-rebound SE Missouri State 14-5 in the first half.

Late in the first half, Stokes took over the scoring for K-State, scoring 5 consecutive points behind the strength of the pull-up 3-pointer and drive to the basket. Stokes tallied 7 points at the half, while Wade led the team with 13 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field.

Collectively, K-State shook off a tough shooting performance from a week ago against Tulsa, as the team bounced back with an impressive 68.8 percent (22-of-32) from the floor, and 60 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-10) to jump out to a 53-39 lead in the first half.

Out of the break, Sneed started the Wildcat scoring with 7 consecutive points, including a trey from the top of the arc to get the team rolling.

At the 15:29 mark, Mawien collected a pass from Stokes on a K-State fast-break and threw it down over a Redhawk defender that excited the crowd. The slam was a theme throughout the game for the Wildcats, as they attacked the rim dunking 7 times on 7 attempts. Mawien scored in double figures for the second time on 5-of-6 shooting.

The Wildcats opened up their largest lead of the game in the second half with 7:55 remaining, as the team led by 25 following a Sneed 3-pointer. K-State would hold their advantage throughout the remainder of the game, winning for the 22nd consecutive time at Bramlage Coliseum in non-conference play.

Redhawk sophomore Denzel Mahoney led SE Missouri State in scoring, tallying 23 points on 6-of-9 shooting. As a team, the Redhawks shot 44 percent (25-of-57) from the field.

As a team, the Wildcats connected on 62.52 percent (35-of-56) from the field and 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from beyond the arc, including a season-high 25 assists as a team. K-State also doubled SE Missouri State in rebounds, grabbing a total of 37 rebounds to the Redhawks’ 19.

PLAYER OF THE GAME
Xavier Sneed – Coming off a complete performance against Tulsa, where he recorded a team-high in five statistical categories, sophomore Xavier Sneed continued his fine play by recording a team-high 23 points on 9-of-10 from the field, while also grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing 2 assists. Sneed’s 23 points marks a new career-high, and the second time this season he has tallied 20 or more this season.

STAT OF THE GAME
25 – K-State tallied a season-high in assists on Saturday night, dishing out 25 en route to an 89-71 victory. Junior Kamau Stokes set a career-high in assists, recording 9 in the game, while Brown also posted a career-best 7 assists and Wainright tallied 3.

SEASON RECORD UPDATE
• K-State 9-2 (0-0 Big 12)
• SE Missouri State 6-5 (0-0 Ohio Valley)

IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the adjustment on defense at halftime…
“I said to the coaches at halftime let us just play zone the first possession to get them off a little bit. The first possession I do not think they knew that we were playing zone and they putzed around. The kids wanted to stay in it. We did work on it, but we took a little time to play it. We probably caught them off guard a little bit, but I am trying to get our guys to understand that when you get in foul trouble and the other team goes on a run, you could change the pace with a zone. It could help you get a couple of stops and change the direction of the game.”

On strong start…
“I thought against Tulsa to start we had good energy, but because we did not make shots it sucked all of the emotion out of the game. We did not have poise, even tonight. I told Kamau [Stokes] all week he has to push it, but sometimes you have to be smart, and he turned it over, but he had nine assists. If we could have taken away a couple of those turnovers because he is not pushing it, that means he has a nine to three assist to turnover ratio and that’s good. We had great energy from the start with good defense and ball movement. I told them to do what we do, and we will get better at rebounding. Tonight the rebounding was good.”

On changes veteran backcourt needs going into Big 12 play…
“We want Kamau [Stokes] to push it. We have athletes and good players. We can spread you with good players, but I thought we locked it against Tulsa and we got stagnant. We have to push the ball. I told Kam it does not matter what defense they are in, we just have to move the ball from one side to another. Barry [Brown] has not shot it well the past two games. He has been in the gym, and is a little frustrated. He had a tough week of practice shooting it, but I told him to worry about what he can control. Part of Barry’s problem is that he gets the ball at the end of the shot clock and he takes tough shots. Like at the end of the half, he needs to penetrate and dish it to someone. We need Xavier to be our leading rebounder or second leading rebounder.”

Sophomore Forward Xavier Sneed
On the game…
“It was really great for us to get a win, especially after a long week, but it was a pretty good one for us and we are looking forward to the next game.”

On his career high 19 points…
“I just let things come to me right now, and things are flowing. My teammates are looking for me and the shots were going in today.

Junior Dean Wade
On the offense tonight compared to last week…
“Sharing the ball and passing has a big thing to do with it, but when we make shots we look a lot better, and we were making shots tonight and spreading the defense out and being ultra aggressive. Makol (Mawien) played amazing tonight, Ahmad (Wainwright) played great, and everyone played their role and we did what we had to do and we looked great tonight and hopefully we can keep it going for Washington State.”

On Xavier Sneed’s game…
“I like that he is being confident and being aggressive, if the shots do not fall he is still being aggressive with everything. Rebounding, he’s athletic so you just throw it towards the rim anywhere and he is probably going to be at the other end dunking it. I think he is going to have a great Big 12 season.”

Sophomore Makol Mawien
On the game…
“(We were) a little more aggressive today, more focused today because of the loss we had, and we wanted to get more aggressive and focused.”

On the parts of his game he’s been working over the last couple weeks…
“My shot, and just being more aggressive and physical really. Working on my body, and being more physical.”

SE Missouri State Head Coach Rick Ray
On K-State’s fast start…
“We talked to our guys that they force 16 turnovers a game and once they get the turnover, it ignites their fast break. They are very lethal once they are in fast break opportunities. I think the first three minutes of the game we had four turnovers, so they were scoring off our turnovers. They were getting so many paint opportunities because of our poor transition defense.”

On having scoring droughts…
“We were constantly just trying to get the lead to single digits. We would get right on the cusp of getting it to single digits and then they would go on a run. I think for the most part we created that run by us not being discipline on the basketball court.”

On Denzel Mahoney’s game…
“He is a terrific player and he is able to match up physically with these guys and is never afraid of the competition. For us, they went to that zone and we did a poor job of finding him some opportunities against that zone. I have to do a better job of getting him something against that zone.”

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
• K-State is now 128-33 in non-conference play dating back to the 2006-07 season, including 89-5 at Bramlage Coliseum… The Wildcats have now 22 consecutive games against non-conference opponents at Bramlage Coliseum, which dates to the start of the 2015-16 season.
• K-State scored 89 points on a season-high 62.5 percent shooting (35-of-56), including 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from 3-point range… The Wildcats have posted six games of 80 or more points this season… The team posted season highs for field goals made (35), assists (25) and points in the paint (44).
• K-State connected on better than 50 percent of its field goals in both halves for the third time… The team also posted season-highs for points (53) and field goal percentage (68.8/22-of-32) in a half (first half).
• Sophomore Xavier Sneed scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with 7 rebounds and 2 assists… He led the team in scoring for the fourth time in his career, including his third time this season… It marked his second career 20-point game, all coming in the last four games… He has now scored in double figures in 20 career games, including seven this season.
• Junior Dean Wade scored 19 points on 7-of-8 field goals in just 19 minutes of action… He has now scored in double figures in 42 career games, including eight games this season… He registered double figures points in a half for the fifth time this season with 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
• Sophomore Makol Mawien scored 11 points on 5-of-6 field goals… Mawien scored in double figures for the second time… He connected on his first career 3-pointer at the 12:36 mark of the first half.
• Junior Kamau Stokes scored 12 points on 5-of-10 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range.. He has now scored in double figures in 45 career games, including 10 of 11 this season… He dished out a career-best 9 assists… He took his 31st career charge, including his fourth this season, in the first half.
• Junior Barry Brown, Jr. dished a career-high 7 assists to go with 7 points and 3 steals.

WHAT’S NEXT
K-State plays its final non-conference game before the start of Big 12 play on Wednesday, Dec. 20, as the Wildcats travel to Spokane, Wash., to play Pac-12 foe Washington State (7-3) at 10 p.m. CT at Spokane Arena. The game will air nationally on ESPN2 with Eric Rothman and Caron Butler on the call.

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