Men’s basketball comes back from Paradise Jam and takes care of Lehigh, 77-58

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The Kansas State men’s basketball team defeated the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 77-58 Saturday afternoon at Bramlage Coliseum.

The No. 12 Wildcats advanced to 6-0 with the win, the best season start since the 2004-2005 K-State team started 8-0, while Lehigh dropped to 4-2.

The first half was very competitive, as the Wildcats went into halftime with just a two-point lead at 37-35.

In all three of the Wildcats non-conference home games, they have had trouble getting going from the start.

The competitive first half featured nine ties and five lead changes. Three of the five lead changes belonged to the Wildcats.

Both teams shot the ball well in the first half. Lehigh shot 13-24 in field goals, 54.2 percent and made four out of 10 three pointers. K-State was 13-32 in field goals, 40.6 percent and made three of 10 three pointers.

The Wildcats came out stronger in the second half and they were able to control the game the whole second half.

Head coach Bruce Weber spoke to that hot second half start after the game.

“We had more energy and emotion in the second half,” Weber said. “I talked about it before but they probably didn’t listen to me as much. Lehigh is good, you got to come to play. When you’re ranked in the top 20, teams are geared and ready to play you.”

The second half began with a 6-0 run by K-State that put it ahead 43-35. The Wildcats were able to get their lead to double digits as senior guard Barry Brown converted a three-point play with 13:47 in the second half, and the Wildcats were in solid control of the game after that.

In the second half the Wildcats continued to shoot the ball well, shooting 14-for-33 on field goals (42.4%) and converted three of their 10 shots behind the three-point line.

That led to the Wildcats blowing the game open and winning by a wide margin of 19 on Saturday night.

The Wildcat defense was also a big part of the second half, as they held Lehigh to 28.1 percent shooting, including just one three pointer on 11 attempts. The Wildcats forced Lehigh to commit 16 turnovers, resulting in 18 points.

“Our defense is something we all take pride in,” Brown said after the game. “Even in the first half we had some steals and easy layups but in the second half we picked it up.”

A big note for the Wildcats Saturday night was free throw shooting. In the first half they were 8-of-11, and in the second half 9-of-10, totaling a 17-of-21 mark.

K-State’s starting five played a big part in the win, as four of the five starters — Dean Wade, Brown, Kamau Stokes and Makol Mawien – scored at least 10 points to get themselves in the double-digit column, combining for 54 of the team’s 77 points. Senior forward Wade led the team with 18 points.

The Wildcats will now wait until next Saturday, Dec. 1 as they travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to take on Marquette University.

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