Friday marked Bruce Weber's 17th season-opening victory in his 19-year coaching career.
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Barry Brown paused during Friday night’s postgame press conference when it appeared something was wrong. He stood up and tried to get rid of an oncoming charley horse.
For Brown, that charley horse was well earned.
Brown had 11 of his 18 points in the first half, and Kansas State opened the season with an 82-55 win over Western Illinois on Friday night.
"The thing I like is that he was very efficient," head coach Bruce Weber said about Brown.
"Going 7 for 11, six rebounds, three assists … there were some times where I thought he needed to pass the ball a little bit quicker when the offense got stagnant. We’ve had a lot of guys who played well, but Barry’s probably been the most consistent day in and day out."
After a slow start by both teams, Brown’s offense got the Wildcats going first, and they relinquished the lead only once in the first half. At one point, Brown had as many points as Western Illinois with 11 apiece.
Xavier Sneed and Wesley Iwundu added 17 points each for Kansas State while Garret Covington was the high man for Western Illinois with 17 points as well.
"Wasn’t too nervous before the game," said Sneed who was in his college debut. "Had a couple of butterflies. I think I’ll be clear of them by the next game."
Despite struggling from the field for a majority of the contest, the Wildcats led by no less than eight in the second half. Kamau Stokes chipped in 11.
Western Illinois struggled to be consistent from the field, shooting 36.5 percent for the ballgame.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
After shooting 32 percent in the first half, the Wildcats shot 62.5 percent from the floor in the second, including 7 for 7 from the three-point line.
Kansas State forward Dante Williams was missing from Friday night’s contest as he was going through the concussion protocol. Weber is not sure he will be ready for Tuesday’s contest against Omaha.
Western Illinois: The Leathernecks had only one player other than Covington in double figures on the night as Dalan Ancrum scored 12 points.
Kansas State: The win by Kansas State gives head coach Bruce Weber his 17th season-opening victory in his 19-year coaching career and the program’s third straight since 2014.
Western Illinois: Two games await the Leathernecks at home against Oak Hills Christian and Southeast Missouri State before heading on the road to face Eastern Illinois.
Kansas State: The Wildcats will host Omaha for the second game of a five-game home stand to start the season before going to the Barclays Center Classic.