Xavier Sneed pounded the floor at center court before kissing the Powercat to thunderous applause as he checked out for the final time during Kansas State’s 79-63 senior night clobbering of Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum.
“We’ve been through an Elite Eight, we’ve been through a Big 12 Championship. We did a lot of things in our time here,” senior forward Sneed said. “I was just reflecting about everything that I’ve been through and the banners that we have put up there. I was looking up at those. It meant a lot to me and it was a surreal moment.”
Sneed went out on top: obliterating his former career high of 23 points with a 31-point performance and leading K-State to snap their 10-game losing streak.
“I wanted to do everything for my ball club just to get a W and I feel like I did a good job,” Sneed said.
Sneed was joined by former walk-on senior forward Pierson McAtee, who tied a career high with six points, and senior forward Makol Mawien who fouled out late with just one point and three rebounds.
“I feel bad for Mak [Mawien],” head coach Bruce Weber said. “But he’s been pretty good in Kansas City so maybe he’ll get second life there.”
McAtee started the game off with a dunk on a backdoor cut. He set a career high of 25 minutes in his first career start. His previous was 14 earlier this year against Baylor.
“He comes every day, whatever we ask,” Weber said. “It’s a testament to his character and how much K-State basketball means to him … I’m glad we were able to reward him and he was able to reward himself.”
Freshman guard DaJuan Gordon gave up his starting spot to the former walk-on. Gordon scored four points in 19 minutes off the bench.
“It’s just a true testament to who DaJuan is as a person, I had no idea that he was going to [give up his starting spot],” McAtee said. “He showed me a text that he’d sent to coach. He was like ‘I’m gonna help you out’… for him to do that and be that unselfish just shows his true character.”
The Wildcats had not won since late January and had already locked up the 10th and final seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.
“Anything can happen,” Weber said. “It’s either going to be TCU or Oklahoma right now.”
K-State heads to their opening match of the Big 12 Tournament against the seventh seed team.