Kansas State holds on to pass road test at Vanderbilt, 84-79 (Dec 03, 2017)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Kansas State isn’t known for its foul shooting, but it was hard to tell Sunday.

The Wildcats shot 91.7 percent from the free-throw line to pass their first road test of the season with an 84-79 win at Vanderbilt.

KSU’s 22-of-24 performance was the third-best in school history with a minimum of 20 attempts.

”Ironically, we haven’t shot very well at home – free throws,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. ”When we were in Vegas, we shot the ball very well from the free-throw line, but those are all big plays down the stretch.”

The Wildcats (7-1) entered the game with a 70.5 percent mark at the foul line, including a combined 23 of 27 (85.2 percent) at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Xavier Sneed scored a career-high 21 points by hitting 8 of 11 from the floor and all four foul shots.

”I’ve told people he might be one of the most improved players not only in our league, but the country,” Weber said. ”He’s an elite-level athlete. He has a lot of emotion, sometimes too much.”

Kamau Stokes added 20 points and Barry Brown had 18 for KSU.

”Any road win will mean a lot later on this season,” Stokes said. ”(Xavier) is playing with a lot of confidence on both ends of the floor. I feel like he needs to continue that for us to be good.”

Vanderbilt (3-5) rallied from a 16-point deficit to tie it at 71 with 3:33 remaining on Matthew Fisher-Davis’ 3-pointer, but was outscored 13-8 the rest of the way.

”First 15 minutes, they pretty much had their way with us and in the last 25 minutes we played at a much higher level,” Commodores coach Bryce Drew said. ”We gave ourselves a great opportunity to win this game down the stretch.”

Vanderbilt’s Jeff Roberson added to his Southeastern Conference lead with his fifth double-double by scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Freshman Saben Lee added 19 points, including 12 at the free-throw line, and Joe Toye scored 11.

After trailing by as many as 16 in the first half, Vanderbilt went on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 58-57 on LaChance’s 3-pointer with 9:15 remaining in the game.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State: The Wildcats got their first signature win over a team that made it to the NCAA Tournament last season.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores made an impressive rally in the second half, but couldn’t get important foul shots to fall during the final two minutes.

REMEMBERING PERRY

Vanderbilt held a moment of silence before the game to honor former Commodore star Perry Wallace, who died Friday. Wallace, 69, became the first black varsity basketball player in the SEC 50 years ago.

”Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wallace family,” Drew said. ”You definitely feel the impact that he made, not only at Vanderbilt but across the country and we’re definitely going to miss him and hopefully our program can represent him in a good way moving forward.”

SHORTHANDED RALLY

Vanderbilt’s second-half comeback was impressive, considering LaChance and Djery Baptiste both fouled out. ”We have a deep team,” Drew said. ”We feel like a lot of guys can go out there and help our team win and if they’re given the opportunity they take advantage of it. Obviously, we missed the guys that fouled out.” Vanderbilt has lost four of its last five games.

COACH’S TAKE

Weber saw a lot of positives in the Wildcats’ seventh win of the season. ”You shoot 58 percent on the road, only seven turnovers, a lot of good decisions,” he said. ”Xavier has a career high, Kam 20 (points) and even better: six assists, no turnovers.”

UP NEXT

Kanas State hosts South Carolina Upstate (3-7) on Tuesday. USC Upstate has lost three straight by double-digit margins.

Vanderbilt hosts Middle Tennessee (5-1) on Wednesday. MTSU’s Nick King posted career highs in points (32) and rebounds (11) in Saturday’s 81-76 win at Florida Gulf Coast.