MANHATTAN, Kan.– No. 12/11 Kansas State held Kennesaw State to just 41 points, including 14 in the second half, as the Wildcats used a strong defensive effort to open their season with a 56-41 victory on Friday night in front of 11,021 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State (1-0) held Kennesaw State (1-1) to just 32.7 percent shooting (17-of-52), including just 21.4 percent (6-of-28) in the second half, while also forcing 21 turnovers. The Wildcats scored 20 points off those 21 Owl miscues and held a 24-4 advantage in fast-break points. The team has now held 70 opponents to 60 points or less under head coach Bruce Weber, including in their fourth straight season opener.
The 41 points were the fewest allowed in a season opener at Bramlage Coliseum and the fewest allowed in a home opener since holding Northern Iowa to 38 points on Dec. 1, 1979.
Offensively, three Wildcats scored in double figures led by a game-high 15 points from senior All-Big 12 selections Dean Wade and Barry Brown Jr. Junior Makol Mawienadded 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Wade (8) and Mawien (7) combined for 15 rebounds, while newcomer Austin Tricegrabbed a game-high 12 boards.
In addition to his 15 points, Brown swiped 4 steals, improving his career total to 193 steals, which moves him into the second-most in K-State history, surpassing Steve Henson(190). Brown is second to only Jacob Pullen, who accumulated 210 steals in his 135 career games.
With the win, K-State ran its non-conference winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum to 24 consecutive games, which dates back to start of the 2015-16 season. The Wildcats have now won 15 of their last 16 home openers, including six of seven under Weber. The squad is 90-25 all-time in season openers since its first campaign in 1903.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Wildcats got started on Friday with success from the K-State big men, with Wade and Mawien accounting for all of K-State’s points in the opening six minutes of play. Despite the run by the K-State forwards, Kennesaw State was able to rattle off a 6-0 run to take over the lead at 11-8 through the first 5:35 of play.
After briefly trailing, the Wildcats put together a run of their own to take over the lead at 15-11 with 11:58 left in the first half.
In a back-and-forth first half, K-State pulled ahead just before the break on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Mike McGuirl, to put the Wildcats ahead 31-27 at halftime. In the first half, the lead changed six times, as K-State led for 11:50 of the first half.
Brown paced the Wildcats with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting at the break, while Trice had 8 boards. K-State connected on 40.6 percent on 13-of-32 shooting in the half, while forcing Kennesaw State into 13 turnovers.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Wildcats stuck to their lead in the second half, as they did not trail the remainder of the game. Just 3:23 into the second half, the Wildcats found a transition dunk by Wade assisted by senior guard Kamau Stokeson a cross-court pass to extend their lead to 35-30.
Later in the half, the Wildcats continued to dominate in the paint, as sophomore guard Cartier Diarradrove the lane and eluded a Kennesaw State defender with a spin move, leading to a transition layup. Diarra’s score was a part of an 8-0 run that put the Wildcats ahead 49-37 with 6:49 remaining.
Over the final minutes, the Wildcats extended their lead to as many as 17 points, as K-State pulled away with a 56-41 victory. Brown and Wade led the way with 15 points each, while Trice added 12 rebounds.
As a unit, K-State shot 41.7 percent in the game on 25-of-60 shooting, while scoring 42 points in the paint. The defense held strong for the Wildcats by holding the Owls to just 41 points on 32.7 percent (17-of-52) from the field. K-State also forced Kennesaw State into 21 turnovers.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
SeniorBarry Brown, Jr.’s effort of 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field, while swiping 4 steals, dishing out 3 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds. Brown’s 4 steals add to his career total of 193, moving him into second in K-State history in career steals.
STAT OF THE GAME
70 – K-State has now held 70 opponents to 60 points or less in the Bruce Weberera, where the Wildcats boast a 63-7 in those contests. The Wildcats held Kennesaw State to just 41 points on Friday.