The Wildcats entered the game shooting an underwhelming .282 three-point percentage and averaging only 69 points per game, but the team hit a season-tying 12 three-pointers during Saturday’s game.
The Wildcats’ biggest challenge defensively was containing Georgia State junior guard D’Marcus Simonds, who entered the contest leading the Panthers in scoring, averaging 22 points per game. Simonds was limited to 10 points tonight, making it his season low.
The Wildcats came out victorious thanks to the balanced scoring throughout the lineup. Senior guard Barry Brown led the Wildcats with 21 points on the night. Senior guard Kamau Stokes, senior forward Dean Wade and junior guard Xavier Sneed all scored double digits in the game.
The Panthers opened the game in zone defense, forcing the Wildcats to take shots and force passes. After a cold start by K-State, Barry Brown single-handedly went on an 8-0 run before going on a two-minute scoring drought while the Panthers took their second lead of the game.
K-State went four-for-four in field goals to go on an 8-0 run and take back the lead, forcing Georgia State to call a timeout with the Wildcats leading 23-15.
The Wildcats built a nine-point lead that was quickly erased when Georgia State hit five of their last seven shots to force K-State head coach Bruce Weber to call a timeout late in the half. At that point, the score was 31-27.
The Wildcats lead the Panthers 35-32 at the half after senior guard Jeff Thomas hit a three-pointer in the final possession of the half by the Panthers.
Thomas led Georgia State with 10 points in the first half, and Barry Brown was the top scorer for the Wildcats with eight points.
K-State shot 48 percent from the floor and 45 percent from the three-point line while Georgia State shot 44 percent and only 25 percent three-point percentage in the first half. The Wildcats turned the ball over 11 times in the half. Georgia State scored 14 points off those turnovers.
The second half opened with a quick five-point swing to put the Panthers up 37-35. The Wildcats then went on a 10-0 run over three minutes to build a nine-point lead in the first five minutes to take a 48-39 lead.
A scary moment for Wildcat fans occurred in the second half when Wade went down holding his leg after fighting for a loose ball early in the second half. He left the court on crutches. Wade had 12 points and nine rebounds before the injury.
After the game, Weber said he does not have a definite answer to what injury Wade sustained.
“I know he didn’t break anything,” Weber said. “We’ll do an MRI tomorrow and see how severe it is.”
Georgia State went in a 9-0 run in two minutes during a four-minute-long scoring drought to tie the game at 48-48. The Panthers continued with a 14-2 run to take the lead 53-50.
Stokes went down with an ankle injury midway through the second half. He did not return but played a huge part for the Wildcats, scoring 15 points in his 29 minutes.
Weber gave an update on Stokes.
“It was the same foot he broke last year, I think he tweaked his ankle but there is a little pain in the foot and obviously when you go through that he’s frustrated, disappointed, scared,” Weber said. “So I don’t think he’ll have an MRI unless he has severe pain tomorrow.”
It is unclear right now if Wade or Stokes will be active in the next game.
Brown hit a layup and a three-pointer to take the lead. A fastbreak ally-oop shortly after by Cartier Diarra forced Georgia State to call a timeout trailing 57-53 after a 7-0 K-State run. K-State continued its run through the rest of the game, extending the momentum to a 21-6 run to end the game and earn the seventh win of the season 71-59.
The Wildcats’ defense dominated in the half, drawing charges and forcing long, contested shots. Sneed talked about the success on defense that helped get the win.
“We knew we had to get stops at the end of the day,” Sneed said. “We pride ourselves on defense as always. Just getting the shutouts and doing the right things on defense. All the little things on defense. Getting rebounds, finishing plays, we took a couple of charges today and all those things. All those things helped us get the wins.”
Sophomore guard Mike McGuirl’s night might not pop on a stat line, but in his 20 minutes of play, he played stellar defense helping contain Simonds. McGuirl had four rebounds and five assists.
Weber had high praise for McGuirl’s performance.
“His energy was big time for us and I know everyone wants to score, but if you figure out a role and help the team it obviously helped,” Weber said.
K-State will host Southern Mississippi at 7 p.m. Wednesday on FSKC before facing Vanderbilt in Kansas City, Missouri, in the Wildcat Classic on Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. on ESPN.