Men’s basketball takes third in Las Vegas invitational

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The Kansas State Wildcats men's basketball team play the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. on Nov 14, 2017. (File photo by Cooper Kinley | Kansas State Athletics/Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s basketball team spent its Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas competing in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The Wildcats went 1-1 in games and took third place in the invitational, with their season record now being 5-1.

Prior to traveling to Las Vegas, K-State played two “campus games” of the invitational at home. In those games, the Wildcats defeated the University of California, Irvine with a score of 71-49 and Northern Arizona University with a score of 80-58.

The Wildcats first matched up against Arizona State on Thanksgiving Day. Both teams’ records were 4-0 at the time.

The game between the Wildcats and the Sun Devils was electric and high-scoring, but in the end K-State fell 92-90 for the season’s first loss.

Despite the loss, K-State scored 15 total 3-point field goals, while Arizona State only scored nine 3-pointers. Both teams also shot over 50 percent from the field. The game saw nine ties and nine lead changes.

After the semifinal loss, K-State moved on to face George Washington University in the third place game.

The Wildcats controlled the first half. The Wildcats went into the halftime break with a 38-29 lead over the Colonials.

K-State led for much of the second half, but the men’s team let George Washington creep its way back in toward the end. The Colonials narrowed the gap to 56-54 with just over five minutes left in the game. The Wildcats responded and closed out the game with a 67-59 victory.

While the Wildcats did not shoot as well from the field as they did during the Arizona State game — just 47 percent this time around — K-State was strong from the free-throw line, shooting nearly 89 percent from the charity stripe. This is the best that the Wildcats have shot in free throws all season.

Additionally, junior guard Kamau Stokes, junior forward Dean Wade and sophomore forward Xavier Sneed were all perfect from the free-throw line. Stokes was also the top-scoring player for the Wildcats, with 19 total points against the Colonials.

After a lackluster five-point performance against the Sun Devils, Wade bounced back nicely against the Colonials. Wade scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots.

After defeating K-State, Arizona State went on to win the invitational in a final match against Xavier. The last time K-State played in this tournament was in 2009, where the Wildcats finished in fourth place.

The next game for K-State will be on Wednesday when the men’s team hosts Oral Roberts University in Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats and the Golden Eagles will tip off at 7 p.m. and the game can be viewed on ESPN3.

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