MANHATTAN — Following a 54-61 loss to Tulsa in Wichita Dec. 9, the K-State basketball team (9-2) returned to Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan Saturday night, as it faced off against Southeast Missouri State. The Wildcats quickly overcame the loss to Tulsa by securing an 89-71 victory Saturday.
“It was a long week (following the Tulsa game). We had really good practices (last week). It was good. They came with great energy. I thought they were engaged. There were a lot of good things that each guy did. I like our group. They care. They want to win. They want to be successful. We just have to keep improving,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said.
One of the big standouts for K-State Saturday night was sophomore guard Xavier Sneed. Sneed scored a career high 23 points on a 9-of-10 shooting clip from the field, including a 4-of-5 mark from the three point line. He also finished second on the team with seven rebounds. Weber talked about Sneed’s performance Saturday.
“I like that he’s rebounding. I know he’s worked on his shooting, but a couple of times he got rebounds and he pushed it (up the court) and got us into our offense. That’s a weapon. That’s tough to guard if you have a guy that can get a rebound, push it, and make good decisions. He rose to the occasion,” Weber said.
Sneed talked about his performance.
“I just let the game come to me. Things were flowing (Saturday night) and my teammates were looking for me. My shots were going in for me,” Sneed said.
Junior forward Dean Wade, who finished second on the team Saturday with 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field, talked about Sneed’s performance.
“I just like that he’s being confident and aggressive. If the shots don’t fall, he’s still being aggressive with everything. He’s being aggressive on defense and rebounding. He’s athletic, so we just throw it towards the rim and he is probably going to be at the other end dunking it. I think he is going to have a great Big 12 season,” Wade said.
Sneed’s big performance came in front of about 50 family members. Sneed talked about what kind of motivation having family watching him Saturday night gave him.
“(They were) an especially big motivation. I haven’t seen them yet. I saw a couple of them in the crowd. I haven’t seen some of them in a long time. It’s really great to have a career high and playing good (Saturday). It was great to show them what I can do,” Sneed said.
As a team, K-State shot 63 percent from the field Saturday night. This shooting performance is coming after the Wildcats shot 32 percent from the field in the loss to Tulsa. Weber talked about the improved offense K-State showed Saturday night.
“I thought (the offense against Tulsa) was pretty good at the beginning of the game. We moved it and we were open. We forced some things. (Saturday) we got more inside touches. That was something we emphasized all week. If you get the ball inside the paint, usually good things happen,” Weber said.
Junior guard Kamau Stokes finished third on the team with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field. Sophomore Makol Mawien added 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Off the bench, junior Amaad Wainright added seven points on 2-of-3 shooting from the field, while also grabbing nine rebounds.
K-State will be back in action Dec. 20, as it will travel to Pullman, Wash. to face off against Washington State. The game will start at 10 p.m. (CT).