K-State beats Fort Hays State in basketball exhibition, 79-56

Mawdo Sallah looks to pass the ball during the men's basketball game between Fort Hays State University and Kansas State University at Bramlage Coliseum in Mahattan, Kan. on Oct. 29, 2017. (Photo by Cooper Kinley | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s basketball team won its second exhibition game of the season 79-56 over the Fort Hays State Tigers on Sunday at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State started the game on fire, making their first four baskets to take a 10-2 lead at the 17-minute mark.

Sophomore forward Xavier Sneed got the scoring started with a three-pointer on the first K-State ball possession. Sneed contributed a couple of fast break dunks later in the first half.

“I’m trying to get to the hole more, of course, and do a lot more things for our team to help us win,” Sneed said after the game.

K-State stretched its lead all the way to 20 points with just over nine minutes left after a steal-and-dunk from Sneed.

Toward the end of the first half, Fort Hays started making a comeback, cutting the K-State lead to nine points after a pair of free throws from junior guard Marcus Cooper.

K-State held the Tigers at arm’s length for the rest of the first half. The Wildcats took a 37-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.

“I think it was more us than them, we got a little lackadaisical on defense and just kind of got lazy,” junior forward Dean Wade said. “We started off the game hot … we just got a little lazy on defense.”

Sneed led K-State’s scoring with 18 points and seven rebounds. Wade contributed 15 points and three rebounds.

Fort Hays’ offense pulled forward to be within five points of the Wildcats at the beginning of the second half, but K-State answered with a wild scoring run to take an 11-point lead into the under-16-minute media timeout.

“I hope our depth is a big plus for us, but we just have to wait and see,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said in the post-game press conference.

Even with the Wildcats’ offensive balance, it remains to be seen who will be the team’s go-to scorer in late game situations.

K-State went on a 19-7 run in the middle of the second half to open up the scoreboard 59-41 at the under-12-minute media timeout.

The Wildcats’ lead would float around 20 points for the last 12 minutes of the game and eventually turned into a 23-point lead after freshman forward Nigel Shadd hit a jump shot at the buzzer.

Even without 6-foot-11 redshirt freshman forward James Love III, the Wildcats had a distinct height advantage. K-State outscored the Tigers 38-12 in the paint.

Junior guard Kamau Stokes did not play for the Wildcats due to recently having his wisdom teeth removed.

K-State will play one more home exhibition match Friday against Emporia State. Tip-off will be at 8 p.m. following the conclusion of the women’s basketball game against Emporia State.