Hot start jolts men’s basketball to an 86-41 win over Alabama State

Senior forward Xavier Sneed looks to the basket for a shot during the men's basketball game against Alabama State in Bramlage Coliseum on Dec. 11, 2019. The Wildcats defeated the Hornets with a final score of 86-41. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The men’s basketball returned to action with an 86-41 win over Alabama State on Wednesday night. Senior guard Xavier Sneed led all scorers with 20 points.

This blowout win came on the heels of a loss to Marquette last Saturday in which Kansas State only shot 32 percent from the field.

“Being humbled a little bit [after Marquette], being a little more coachable, disappointed, and frustrated,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “We said, take it out on whoever we’re going to play.”

K-State dominated immediately in the first half with a 20-2 run over the first six minutes of the game, shooting 78 percent from the floor.

“We just wanted to come out there and show what we were about,” Sneed said. “We had a rough stretch the last couple of games, so we had to get back on a winning way.”

Efficiency was the story of the first half for K-State, entering the half shooting 71 percent from the floor. This put the Hornets in a hole early.

“We picked the wrong night to come in here,” Alabama State head coach Lewis Jackson said. “They shot it well from the perimeter, like 71 percent in the first half, 66 percent from the three-point line. That was really tough for us.”

Three Wildcats finished with career-highs in the second half.

Senior guard Pierson McAtee scored his career-high with six points, freshman guard DaJuan Gordon recorded his career-high with 13 points and freshman forward Antonio Gordon also finished with a career-high 13 points.

K-State finished the game shooting a season-high 63 percent from the floor, and 66 percent from three. Alabama State struggled the entire game, shooting just 27 percent.

The Wildcats were in the giving spirit with a season-high of 29 assists led by Cartier Diarra with 10.

“Ten assists, it’s big-time, he’s one of the best in the country,” Weber said.

K-State will face off against Mississippi State at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday in the Never Forget Tribute Classic in New Jersey.