Wildcats thrive offensively in 89-71 win over Southeast Missouri State
MANHATTAN, Kan. — With around 50 friends and family coming in on a nearly six-hour bus ride from St. Louis, Xavier Sneed felt at home in more ways than one at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday night.
Sneed scored 23 points to lead Kansas State over Southeast Missouri State 89-71.
A week after Kansas State (9-2) had a cold-shooting night in its 61-54 loss against Tulsa, the Wildcats found comfort with the baskets at home, shooting 63 percent (35 of 56) from the field and making 11 of 23 from long range.
Sneed scored a thundering alley-oop and two 3-pointers, one of which turned into a 4-point play during a 9-0 spurt. Early in the second half, Sneed scored six straight points and capped a 15-6 surge with a layup, and the Wildcats had a 21-point lead with 14:20 to play.
“It was really great for us to get a win, especially after a long week,” Sneed said. “It was a pretty good one for us and we’re looking forward to the next game.”
Sneed shot 9 of 10 from the field and made four 3-pointers. Dean Wade added 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting for the Wildcats.
Denzel Mahoney led Southeast Missouri (6-5) with 23 points and made five 3s. Daniel Simmons chipped in 17 points.
Early and often, the Wildcats were causing a bevy of problems for the Redhawks who just couldn’t recover. When Southeast Missouri attempted to pull within 10 points, Kansas State turned up the scoring.
However, for Southeast Missouri coach Rick Ray, it was the early turnovers that set the tone for the Redhawks. “We talked to our guys about how they force 16 turnovers a game. Once they get the turnover it ignites their fast break,” Ray said.
“They are very lethal once they are in fast-break opportunities. I think the first three minutes of the game we had four turnovers, so they were scoring off of our turnovers. They were getting so many paint opportunities because of our poor transition defense.”
The Redhawks couldn’t overcome scoring spurts from Kansas State, had frequent scoring droughts and couldn’t get within 10 points over the course of the second half.
After shooting 32 percent from the field against Tulsa last Saturday, the first-half shooting explosion and a 53-39 halftime lead were a welcome sight. Seeing Xavier Sneed continue to emerge as a scoring threat bodes well once the Wildcats enter Big 12 play. Kansas State has their final non-conference road test against Washington State before traveling to Iowa State on Dec. 29 and No. 11 West Virginia on New Year’s Day.
Southeast Missouri: The Redhawks host Bradley on Wednesday.
Kansas State: The Wildcats travel to Spokane, Washington and face Washington State on Wednesday.