KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Senior Barry Brown, Jr., logged three steals and set the Kansas State career mark at 211, while keying a Wildcat defensive effort that held Vanderbilt to a season-low for points in a 69-58 win before 14,062 fans at the Sprint Center on Saturday evening.
Brown passed Wildcat great Jacob Pullen, who tallied 210 career steals from 2007-11, while helping K-State force a combined 15 Vanderbilt turnovers and limit the Commodores (7-3) to just 31.9 percent shooting (15-of-47) from the field, including 28 percent (7-of-25) from long range.
K-State (9-2) improved to 8-1 all-time in the Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center, while also improving the series history against Vanderbilt to 7-4. The Wildcats also moved to 112-81 when playing in Kansas City, with a 17-14 mark at the Sprint Center.
Vanderbilt was limited to a season-low 58 points, including a season-low 20 points in the first half. K-State, which ranks sixth nationally in scoring defense at 57.8 points per game, has now held opponents to under 60 points in 8 of 11 games this season.
Junior Makol Mawien paced the Wildcats with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including 1-of-1 from 3-point range. He was joined in double-digits by Brown (12), Kamau Stokes (12) and Cartier Diarra (10). In addition, junior Austin Trice set a new season-high in scoring, totaling 7 points in 15 minutes of play.
The Commodores were led by Matt Ryan, who scored 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field..
HOW IT HAPPENED
Junior Xavier Sneed came out firing early on Saturday, as he found an open 3-pointer from the top of the key to score the opening basket of the game. On the ensuing offensive possession, Sneed collected a missed Stokes’ 3-pointer and threw down a slam to give K-State an early 5-0 advantage just 1:08 into the game.
After the hot start from Sneed, the Wildcats made only one of their next nine from the field. However, on the next possession, Mawien brought the energy back with a dunk over a defender to give K-State a 10-4 advantage at the 12:25 mark. The Mawien dunk led K-State to connect on its next three field goals, as the Wildcats spouted off a 7-0 run to garner a 19-7 lead with 9:08 left in the half.
Over the final minutes of the first half, Vanderbilt inched closer with a 6-0 run that put them behind 25-17 with 3:08 left. However, K-State was able to grow its lead to 10 at the break, 30-20. The 20 points by the Commodores were the fewest they have scored in the first half this season, with their previous low of 34 points coming in a loss on Dec. 1 against N.C. State.
The second half started similar to the first for the Wildcats, as K-State opened up a 6-0 run behind the strength of strong defensive play, as K-State pushed its lead to 16 (38-22) a little more than four minutes into the half. Minutes later, Trice poked the ball loose from a Vanderbilt player, which led to a fast-break slam by Brown. K-State led by as many as 22 points near the midpoint of the second half.
While the offense plugged along, the defense was stout. Vanderbilt went more than 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half, missing its first 10 field goals of the half before ending the drought with 9:41 to go. The Commodores then used an 11-0 run to bring the score to 49-38 with 7:22 left in the contest.
Brown notched steal No. 211, as Vanderbilt chipped away at the lead and pulled within nine in the waning minutes, but the Wildcats leaned on free throw shooting from Sneed, who hit a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats up 63-49 with 2:03 left.
With under a minute left, Joe Toye connected on a 3-pointer to bring Vanderbilt to within single digits again at 67-58 with 53 seconds left, but the Wildcats would connect on a number of free throws down the stretch to put the game away at 69-58.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Makol Mawien – Junior forward Makol Mawien led the game with 15 points, including 7-of-10 from the field, including a perfect 1-of-1 from beyond the arc. Mawien’s presence in the paint led K-State to a 30-16 advantage.
STAT OF THE GAME
211 – With three steals on Saturday night, Barry Brown, Jr., becomes the all-time K-State leader in steals with 211 career steals. Brown surpasses Jacob Pullen, who tallied 210 career steals for the Wildcats between 2007-11.