The Kansas State men’s basketball team stomped Southeast Missouri State by a score of 89-71 to win their second to last non-conference game.
The Wildcats got out to a 6-0 lead within the first two minutes, highlighted by a Barry Brown reverse dunk after a steal.
K-State played very aggressive on offense for a good portion of the first half, taking advantage of open jump-shots, and attacking the paint as well.
Junior forward Dean Wade was the team’s leading scorer in the first half, totaling 13 points.
Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown both scored seven points in the opening period, but they also did a good job of producing outside of themselves. Stokes dished out six assists, while Brown tallied five.
For the Redhawks, Denzel Mahoney and Daniel Simmons practically carried the team in the first half. Mahoney racked up 20 points, while Simmons scored 14. Only two other Redhawks scored in the first half.
Despite the hot start, the Wildcats seemed to get a bit lackadaisical and sloppy during the last five minutes of the half. However, they made up for it with great shooting and fast break play.
The Wildcats shot very well in the first period. Their overall field goal mark was 69%, as well as a 60% mark from three-point range. Southeast Missouri State shot just 48% from the field.
K-State’s transition game in the first half was tremendous. The team got multiple steals and quick outlets off rebounds, that led to numerous dunks and layups. It totaled 10 fast break points, and 14 points off turnovers in the first half.
Just as it did to start the game, K-State came out hot to begin the second half. Sneed scored seven straight points to start the half, and the Wildcats did not look back after that.
Throughout the game, K-State was dominant down low. They outscored the Redhawks 44-22 in the paint.
It was very evident in the second half that the team was aggressive and hustling all over the court. Wildcats were going after offensive rebounds and diving on the floor for loose balls.
I asked K-State head coach Bruce Weber about this after the game, particularly if he had told the players to hustle and be more aggressive. Weber said, “It is something we have talked about all week, and really all year with offensive rebounds.”
Weber went in depth talking about junior guard Amaad Wainwright. He said that he must “find a niche,” and compared his role to that of former Wildcat Wesley Iwundu’s role with the Orlando Magic in the NBA.
“Even when other guys come back, I know you’re going to give me three rebounds, a couple of assists and a bucket. That’s why I keep trying to convince Amaad that I’ll play you if you do those things that are important.”
Wainwright’s stat line was seven points, nine rebounds, and three assists.
Four Wildcats finished the game in double digits scoring wise. Sneed led the way with 23, Wade added 19, Stokes scored 12, and Mawien finished with 11. Stokes was just shy of a double-double as he finished with nine assists.
Sneed’s 23 points set a new career-high for the sophomore. He shot 9-10 from the field, and 4-5 from three-point range. In response to his performance, Sneed said, “I really just let the game come to me. Things were flowing, teammates were looking for me, and shots were going in today.”
Sneed also noted that he had close to 50 family members in attendance. He said it was great to see them in the crowd, and especially put on a career-high performance to show them what he can do.
K-State will look to carry this momentum into its next game. The team will play again on Wednesday, Dec. 20 in Spokane, Washington as they visit the Washington State Cougars. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN2.