MANHATTAN — K-State sports fans who were heading to the Wildcats' football game against the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners Saturday afternoon got a first look at the men's basketball team. K-State faced off against Missouri State at around noon on Saturday in a charity exhibition game at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan to raise money to support the victims of the various hurricanes that have impacted the United States over the past two months.
K-State defeated Missouri Southern by a final score of 78-62.
K-State led by a 9-0 margin with 15:44 remaining in the first half. After building a 35-24 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half, Missouri State made a small comeback, cutting the deficit to eight points to end the half. At halftime, K-State led Missouri State by a score of 39-31.
K-State scored four quick points in the first minute of the second half to expand its score to a 43-31 margin. Missouri State rallied through the second half to get the score within six points with seven minutes to go in the second half. K-State continued to build a lead over the remainder of the game, securing a 78-62 win.
Redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra led the Wildcats with 14 points on 4-6 shooting from the field. Junior guard Kamau Stokes finished second in scoring with 13 points on 4-11 shooting. Junior guard Barry Brown finished third in scoring with 12 points on 5-10 shooting.
Diarra talked about his play Saturday afternoon.
"I thought I did pretty solid. I was a little too casual with the basketball. I could have been more aggressive. I just took my open reads and I was aggressive at those times and got to the line and made my free throws," Diarra said.
K-State head coach Bruce Weber talked about the contributions of some of his new players Saturday.
"(Diarra) did a nice job. I thought (sophomore forward) Makol (Mawien, who scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds) played better here in the game than he does in practice on a daily basis. We've talked to him about that," Weber said. "We were going to play everybody (in the last eight minutes of the game). Everyone got a chance to play. We have some film to watch. We did some good things. We didn't move the ball like I would want. It's still early."
Weber talked about some things that his team could improve on after Saturday's game.
"We've got to get (junior forward) Dean (Wade) the ball more. We have to find sets to get it to him. He gets mismatches on ball screens. That's got to happen. I'm disappointed in the rebounding (K-State got outrebounded by a margin of 37-44). I thought we did some good things. It's not perfect, but this is the start of the year," Weber said.
Stokes talked about what he thought of K-State's performance.
"I think it went pretty well for our first game. A lot of guys got to get in and get experience. They're going to need that, especially late on in the season. Overall, I felt like it went well. There are some things we could have done better," Stokes said.
Weber talked about the contributions of Stokes and Brown Saturday afternoon.
"They have to let the game come to them. They've got to find each other and play off of each other. I try not to play them together too much in practice. I want them to go against each other and compete. This is a little new for them even though they played two years together. They're our go-to guys. They've got to be our consistent guys every day," Weber said.