Wildcats defeat Commodores 69-58 with all-around performance

After scoring a goal, K-State forward Makol Mawien lets out a celebration cry during the game against Vanderbilt on Dec. 22, 2018. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s basketball team defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 69-58 Saturday evening at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

On both sides of the court, the Wildcats were at full force tonight from the opening tip until the final seconds. Multiple dunks from various players had the crowd at the Sprint center erupting.

It was an all-around performance as seven players– redshirt sophomore Cartier Diarra, senior guard Kamau Stokes, senior guard Barry Brown, junior forward Makol Mawien, junior forward Xavier Sneed, sophomore guard Mike McGuirl and junior forward Austin Trice– were able to put the ball in the basket to help achieve the 69 points in the victory.

From the beginning, the Wildcats had a handle on this game. K-State went into the under-16 timeout with an 8-2 lead and maintained control of the game from then on.

The defensive performance contributed this control. The Commodores did not put reach double-digits in the scoring column until the six-minute mark of the first half. K-State held Vanderbilt to just 31 percent shooting on 26 shots.

K-State forward Austin Trice dunks and scores two points for the Wildcats during the game against Vanderbilt on Dec. 22, 2018 in the Sprint Center. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The offense was there for the Wildcats as well which paired with the defensive performance. Mawien led the team in scoring in the first half with 10 points, making all five of his shots.

The Commodores kept themselves in the game as K-State went into halftime with a 30-20 lead.

In the second half, both teams shot the ball fairly even. K-State shot 33 percent, and Vanderbilt shot 41 percent.

One of the reasons why the Wildcats were able to maintain their comfortable lead in the second half was the points off turnovers as they forced Vanderbilt to commit 15 turnovers, resulting in 16 points.

The three-point shooting wasn’t excellent for K-State as they only shot 29.4 percent, resulting in 15 points. The three-point shot has been a struggle for the Wildcats for much of the season so far.

The Wildcats got nearly half of their points in the paint, as they scored 30 points down low.

Continuing to be a strong force for the Wildcats, Mawien ended the game as the team’s leading scorer for the night for the first time this season with 15 points, a season high.

Mawien spoke on how it felt scoring those 15 points.

“It was a great time,” Mawien said. “It felt good to be there for my teammates.”

Three other Wildcats joined Mawien in the double-digit scoring column— Diarra with 10 points, Brown with 12 points and Stokes with 12 points.

The Wildcats, now 9-2, will now take their two-game winning streak back to Manhattan as they face George Mason Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.