MANHATTAN, Kan. – Senior Xavier Sneed scored 26 of his career-high 31 points in a dominant first-half effort by Kansas State, as the Wildcats ended their losing streak with a 79-63 win over Iowa State on Senior Day before 8,439 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
K-State (10-21, 3-15) led by as many as 24 points in the second half, including 19 at the half, in earning its first win since late January, as the Wildcats connected on 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field, including 70 percent (21-of-30) from inside the 3-point line. It was the highest field goal percentage since shooting 59.2 percent (29-of-49) against No. 12/13 West Virginia on Jan. 18. 2020.
Sneed, who became the first Wildcat with a 30-point game since Barry Brown, Jr., scored 34 at Baylor on Jan. 22, 2018, was nearly perfect in helping K-State build its largest halftime lead (19 points) in Big 12 play, as he connected on 8-of-11 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line in scoring 26 points. Sneed was responsible for more than 63 percent of the Wildcats’ 41 first-half points, as the team hit on 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field, including 88.9 percent (8-of-9) from inside the arc.
K-State kept the momentum going in the second half, pushing the lead out to as many as 24 points, including 76-52 on back-to-back jumpers by junior Mike McGuirl with 4:28 to play. The Wildcats would connect on 51.6 percent (16-of-31) after halftime, including 61.9 percent (13-of-21) inside the arc, to hit on 50 percent or better in both halves for the first time since that West Virginia game in January.
Sneed finished with 31 points on 10-of-21 field goals, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range, and 7-of-8 free throws to go with 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in 33 minutes. He was joined in double figures by junior Cartier Diarra (14) and McGuirl (10). Senior and former walk-on Pierson McAtee enjoyed a dream end to his home playing career by tying or eclipsing career-highs in 6 categories in first career start, including points (6), rebounds (5), field goals made (3) and attempted (8) and minutes played (25).
Iowa State (12-19, 5-13 Big 12) was led by junior Solomon Young’s 17 points on 6-of-8 field goals.
In addition to snapping its 10-game losing streak, K-State also extended its streak with a winning record on its home courts to 74 straight seasons with a 9-7 record at Bramlage Coliseum.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Unlike in previous games, it was K-State who got off to the fast start, as a pair of 3-pointers by senior Xavier Sneed keyed an early 10-4 advantage at the first media timeout at the 16:20 mark. The early run started with a big dunk from senior Pierson McAtee on the game’s opening possession.
Iowa State closed the gap fast at 10-9 with 5 straight points capped by a layup by from sophomore Terrance Lewis.
Sneed responded to the run with 8 consecutive points of his own to push the Wildcats back out to an 18-9 advantage at the second media timeout at the 11:54 mark.
However, in what would seem to be a game of runs, the Cyclones put together a 6-0 spurt to close to within 18-15 and force head coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout with 9:42 before halftime.
Junior Cartier Diarra changed the momentum out of the timeout with a step back 3-pointer that ignited a 9-1 run that pushed the Wildcats ahead 27-16 and forced ISU head coach Steve Prohm to call a timeout at the 6:33 mark.
The run continued with 5 more points for Sneed that gave K-State a 32-16 advantage at the final media timeout.
The Cyclones closed to within 34-23 on a 6-2 run with 2:11 to play, but the Wildcats ended the half on a 7-0 run that included 5 more points from Sneed to take a 41-23 lead into halftime. The 18-point halftime lead was the largest of Big 12 play and the largest since leading 52-16 over Alabama State on Dec. 11, 2019.
Led by Sneed’s career-high 26 points, K-State connected on 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field in the first half, including 31.3 percent (5-of-16) from 3-point range, and went 10 of 11 (90.9 percent) from the free throw line. Iowa State hit on just 25 percent (6-of-24) before halftime, including 0-of-9 from long range, and made 11 of 13 (84.6 percent) free throw attempts.
Sneed led all scorers at the half with his career-high 26 points on 8-of-11 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and perfect 6-of-6 effort from the free throw line. Diarra added 7 points on 2-of-5 shooting.
Junior Solomon Young led ISU with 11 points at the half on 3-of-3 field goals and 5-of-7 free throws.
The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the second half before back-to-back layups by junior Mike McGuirl pushed the lead to 49-30 and forced an early Cyclone timeout with 16:43 to play. A layup by junior Levi Stockard III on the next possession extended the lead to its largest at 51-30.
ISU closed to within 51-35 on a quick 5-0 run that included its first 3-pointer of the game from senior Prentiss Nixon with 15:26 remaining. However, K-State responded with 7 of the next 9 points to again push the lead to 21 (58-37) with 13:31 to play.
Just after the second media timeout, a jumper by freshman DaJuan Gordon and a corner 3-pointer from fellow rookie Antonio Gordon gave the Wildcats their largest lead at 66-42 at the midway point of the second half.
A 3-point play by junior David Sloan just before the third media timeout halted a 7-0 Cyclone run that had closed the deficit to 66-49 with 8:04 to play. The Sloan 3-point play started a 10-3 run by the Wildcats that extended the lead back to 24 at 76-52 after back-to-back jumpers by McGuirl with 4:28 remaining.
Iowa State finished off the game by scoring 11 of the last 14 points for the final 79-63 score.
K-State connected on 51.6 percent (16-of-31) from the field in the second half, while ISU hit on 48.4 percent (15-of-31). McGuirl led all scorers with 10 points on 5-of-5 field goals, while Nixon and senior Michael Jacobson finished with 7 points each to lead the Cyclones.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Xavier Sneed registered his first career 30-point game with a career-best 31 points on 10-of-21 field goals, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range, and a 7-of-8 effort from the free throw line. It marked his 28th career game leading the team in scoring, including the 13th this season.
Senior Pierson McAtee set or tied career-highs in 6 categories, including points (6), field goals made (3) and attempted (8), rebounds (5), assists (1) and minutes played (25), in his first career start on Senior Day. It marked the first time leading the team in rebounding.
STAT OF THE GAME
51.8 – K-State connected on 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field, including 70 percent (21-of-30) from inside the 3-point line. It was the highest field goal percentage since shooting 59.2 percent (29-of-49) against No. 12/13 West Virginia on Jan. 18, 2020. The Wildcats shot 50 percent or better in each half for the first time since that same West Virginia game in January.
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“Yeah, just so happy. The first thing is DaJuan (Gordon). DaJuan, as a freshman, texted me and said ‘Pierson (McAtee) should start in my spot’. That’s so selfless, so heart-warming that he would even think of it. Pierson did a great job, career high in minutes, points, rebounds, anything he did was probably a career high, so it was great for him. Coach (Jermaine) Henderson had the scout and his whole thing was don’t accept anything but being special. Xavier (Sneed) had his career high, obviously got going, couldn’t make any in the second half, but 31 is pretty good and got us that big lead. Pierson with a career high. And (head coach) Steve (Prohm), they’re under manned, but we’ve been under manned and people beat us. He’s a great coach and he’s done a really nice job. It’s tough when you start over after you’ve got a lot of guys. We went through it, he’s gone through it. It’s hard to recover. And then you lose Haliburton. Tyrese is a special young man, and so it’s hard. But very, very pleased. Our guard play was good. Cartier, 5 for 9, five assists, two turnovers. Mike McGuirl, 5 for 7, 10 points, two assists, zero turnovers. And then David Sloan, at the beginning he was a little casual but then he got going and got some good things going. But it was a nice win. We had to go zone quite a bit because we just had so much foul trouble, and it actually worked. I think we had nine straight shutouts in the zone against them in that one stretch.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State has now posted a 387-125 record at Bramlage Coliseum, including a 9-7 mark in 2019-20… With the win, the program extends its streak of a winning record on its home courts to 74 straight seasons.
- With the win, K-State snaps its 10-game losing streak, which was the longest such streak since 2000.
- K-State now leads the all-time series, 141-90, with Iowa State, including 82-28 at home and 22-10 at Bramlage Coliseum… It was the first win in the series at home since 78-66 win on Feb. 17, 2018.
- The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of junior Mike McGuirl, junior Cartier Diarra, senior Pierson McAtee, senior Xavier Sneed and senior Makol Mawien… This was the first time using this lineup and the 10th different lineup used this season, the most since 2014-15.
- Sneed has now played in 136 career games, including 103 starts (64 consecutive)… He is now all alone in second place on the all-time games played list with only Barry Brown, Jr. (139/2015-19) playing in more games… He also all alone in 10th place on all-time starts list… He remains in fourth place on all-time minutes played list with 3,820.
- Mawien has played and started in every game in his career, which now stretches to 102… He is on track to become the first 3-or-more-year player to start every game his in his career.
- Diarra has now appeared in 94 career games with 57 starts, including 26 of 31 games this season… McGuirl has now started in 20 career games, including 18 this season, while making his 74th career appearance… McAtee earned his first start on Senior Day and has now played in 59 career games.
- Junior Levi Stockard III was the first player off the bench.
- Freshman Montavious Murphy missed the game due to injury (knee) and has now missed 12 games.
- K-State’s 79 points were the most since scoring 84 against No. 12/13 West Virginia on Jan. 18, 2020.
- K-State connected on 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field, including 30.8 percent (8-of-26) from 3-point range, and made 13 of 18 attempts (72.2 percent) from the free throw line… It was the highest field goal percentage since shooting 59.2 percent (29-of-49) against No. 12/13 West Virginia on Jan. 18, 2020… The team shot 50 percent or better in each half for the first time since that same West Virginia game.
- K-State had 16 assists in its 29 made field goals, which was the highest assist total since West Virginia.
- Iowa State was held to 63 points (including 23 in the first half) on 38.2 percent (21-of-55) from the field, including 9.5 percent (2-of-21) from 3-point range, and made 19 of 27 attempts (70.4 percent) from the free throw line… It was the third opponent held to 2 or fewer 3-pointers in a game.
- K-State forced OSU into 19 turnovers, including 11 steals, and scored 25 points off those miscues… It marked the 12th time this season that the Wildcats have scored 20 or more points off turnovers.
- K-State registered double-digit steals for the 11th time this season.
- K-State also held a 34-28 edge in the paint, which marked the 10th leading in the paint in Big 12 play.
- K-State led more nearly 39 minutes (38:44), while holding opponent to without a lead for the first time since the Oklahoma game on Jan. 29, 2020.
- K-State led 41-23 at the half, which was the largest of Big 12 play and the largest since leading 52-16 over Alabama State on Dec. 11, 2019.
- Senior Xavier Sneed scored a career-best 31 points on 10-of-21 field goals, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range, while hitting on 7 of 8 free throw attempts… He also added 4 rebounds, 4 assists and a team-tying 3 steals in 33 minutes… It marked his first career 30-point game and the first by a Wildcat since Barry Brown, Jr., scored 34 at Baylor on Jan. 22, 2018… It marked his 28th career game leading the team in scoring, including the 13th this season… He has now scored in double figures in 77 career games, including a team-leading 24 this season… It marked his ninth game of 3 or steals this season.
- Junior Cartier Diarra scored 14 points on 5-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-6 from 3-point range, and went 2-of-4 from the free throw line to go with a game-high 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal in 27 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 39 career games, including 22 this season… He has now led the team in assists in 21 of 31 games this season.
- Junior Mike McGuirl scored 10 points on 5-of-7 field goals to go with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a season-tying 2 steals in 31 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 10 career games, including 8 this season… He has now scored in double figures in 3 of the last 4 games.
- Senior Pierson McAtee set or tied career-highs in 6 categories, including points (6), field goals made (3) and attempted (8), rebounds (5), assists (1) and minutes played (25)… It marked the first time leading the team in rebounding.
K-State will be the 10-seed at next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will play No. 7 seed TCU (16-15, 7-11 Big 12) at 8 p.m., CT on ESPNU. This will be just the third time (2015 and 2016) since 2007 that the Wildcats will play on the first day of the tournament, while it will be the third time (2001 and 2005) as the 10-seed.