K-State bounces back with a 76-58 win over Florida A&M

K-State's men's basketball team plays against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in Bramlage Coliseum on Nov. 19, 2019. The Wildcats came back strong in the second half and defeated the Golden Lions 62-51. (Emily Lenk | Collegian Media Group)

The men’s basketball team defeated Florida A&M 76-58 on Monday night in a matchup where the Wildcats dominated the entire game.

Senior guard Xavier Sneed, junior guard Mike McGuirl and redshirt junior guard Cartier Diarra all scored double digits in the win.

“Our starters were very good if you look at the plus-minus.” Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber said after the game. “Xavier Sneed was plus 27, Mike McGuirl and Cartier Diarra were plus 17. Those three had a good night, and they were locked in,” Weber said.

The K-State Wildcats jumped ahead early in the matchup, which has been an area of concern for K-State, who has only entered halftime leading once this season.

Florida A&M held the lead for the opening 1:19 of the game, but it was all K-State the rest of the game.

K-State took a commanding 24-12 lead over the Rattlers with an 8-0 run on top of a Florida A&M scoring drought. The Wildcats forced four turnovers within three minutes.

The Wildcats built up a 39-25 lead before the half, the largest lead at the break all season. Led by 13 points by Mike McGuirl, K-State shot 45 percent from the floor.

K-State out-rebounded the Rattlers 22-12 in the half led by five by Makol Mawien.

Florida A&M struggled from three going 0-for-6, the Rattlers finished the half shooting 42 percent from the floor. Junior center Evins Desir led Florida A&M with eight points.

Each team turned the ball over nine times in the first half, but K-State outscored the Rattlers 10-9 off turnovers.

K-State opened up the second half with an 11-0 run within the first two minutes of the half. The Wildcats did not miss a bucket until under 15 minutes remaining in the half.

The Rattlers went on an 8-0 run in under a minute midway through the second half, which was the best scoring run of the night and forced two quick turnovers in the run, but still trailed 65-49.

K-State continued to dominate Florida A&M and outscored the Rattlers 37-33 to improve to 5-2 with a 76-58 victory.

Evins Desir finished with a career-high 18 points for the Rattlers in the loss. The Rattlers shot 45 percent from the floor and went 1-11 from three.

Sneed led K-State with 18 points as the Wildcats finished the game shooting 53 percent from the floor.

K-State turned the ball over 20 times in the game, which led to 26 points off turnovers for the Rattlers.

Carelessness with the basketball was one of the key components for the Wildcats. “They had steals,” Bruce Weber said. “They had 10 steals that means we are very careless with the ball.”

After the game, there was an emphasis on taking care of the basketball throughout the week of practice.

“We just have to get better taking care of the ball, value the ball in practice as well,” Sneed said.

The Wildcats still forced 17 turnovers with five steals by Diarra. K-State scored 20 points off the turnovers.

The Wildcats out-rebounded Florida A&M 35-25 led by six by Mawien. Every K-State player that played recorded a rebound in the game.

Diarra continued distributing the ball with seven assists on the night, which have set up easy baskets for his teammates.

“He’s done a good job reading them (the defense) and finding other players and setting them up to make plays for themselves. He’s taken pride in it, too. It’s something that’s worked for him and us,” McGuirl said.

Diarra has the most assists through six games in school history and 41 total on the season. Diarra had 44 total assists last season.

The Wildcats will host Marquette on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.