The No. 12 Kansas State men’s basketball team defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels 95-68 Friday night in the opening night of the Virgin Island Paradise Jam Classic.
For the first time this season the Wildcats did what they were supposed to do, win significantly against a lesser opponent.
K-State did that with an all-around team effort, as five players – Kamau Stokes, Barry Brown, Xavier Sneed, Dean Wade and Cartier Diarra – ended the game in the double-figure point column.
Senior guards Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown scored 10 points, junior forward Xavier Sneed scored 16 points, senior forward Dean Wade scored 14 points and redshirt sophomore guard Cartier Diarra scored 14 points.
Know Your Opponent: Texas Tech
The Wildcats shot 55.2% in field goal percentage, and once again was a force offensively down low, as they scored 50 points in the paint, including 17 fast break points.
Although the three-point shooting percentage remained a concern for K-State, as they converted 4-17, just 23.5 percent on the night. The Colonels shot a better percentage from behind the three-point line, shooting 28.6 percent, going 8-28.
The Colonels, just like the Wildcats previous two opponents, had a tough time offensively against the suffocating defense. Eastern Kentucky turned the ball over 17 times, which resulted in 24 points for the Wildcats.
But the Colonels deserve some credit, as they hung with the Wildcats for most of the first half. With 5:29 remaining in the first half, Sneed tipped the ball into the basket to give the Wildcats a 25-22 lead. Stokes then followed his tip with a layup assisted by junior forward Austin Trice to put the Wildcats up 27-22. Lachlan Anderson of Eastern Kentucky was able to cut into the lead to make it a three-point game, but then K-State scored eight unanswered points to create distance from the Colonels with a 37-28 lead.
The Wildcats would go into halftime with a 37-28 lead.
K-State came out with a fiery passion in the second half. Sneed knocked down back-to-back threes to put the Wildcats up 43-33.
Then at 14:37 remaining in the second half, Diarra knocked down a three assisted by Stokes to put the Wildcats up 50-41, that was the beginning of a 12-0 run that put the Wildcats up a commanding 59-41. K-State would control the game after that, and go on to complete their defeat of the Colonels with ease.
K-State shot exceptional from the free-throw line, shooting 17-23.
As well as dominating the boards, with 11 offensive rebounds compared to the Colonel’s five, and 36 defensive rebound compared to the Colonel’s 27.
The Wildcats advanced to 3-0 on the season, and the Colonels dropped to 2-2.
The Wildcat will now play on Saturday in the second round of the Virgin Island Paradise Jam.