MANHATTAN — In one week, Kansas State went from its worst offensive performance of the season to its best.
K-State found its shooting touch that disappeared a week ago, ran the floor in transition for dunks and shared the ball superbly to defeat Southeast Missouri State 89-71 on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats (9-2) connected on a season-high 63 percent of their shots (35 of 56, 11 of 23 3-pointers) for a season-high point total and also established a season-best with 25 assists, their fourth 20-plus assist game.
“Sharing the ball and passing has a lot to do with it, but when we make shots we look a lot better,” Wildcat forward Dean Wade said. “We made shots tonight and spread the defense out and everyone was being ultra-aggressive. Everyone played their role and we looked great tonight.”
Xavier Sneed led the Wildcats with a career-best 23 points, making 9 of 10 shots, with seven rebounds.
“I’m just letting the game come to me,” said Sneed, a sophomore from St. Louis who had about 50 family members and friends at the game. “Things are flowing, teammates are looking for me and shots are going in.
“It was really great for us to get a win, especially after a long week hanging on to that (loss).”
Wade scored 19 points, Makol Mawien scored 11, Kamau Stokes had 12 points and a career-high nine assists and Barry Brown had a career-best seven assists.
“It was a long week,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “I can’t understand how in football they lose a game and then have to wait a week. They came with great energy and I thought they were engaged. There was a lot of good things.”
Coming off a flat performance a week ago in a loss to Tulsa when they shot 4-of-32 from 3-point range, the Wildcats came out running and gunning. Sneed canned a pair of 3s in the first five minutes and they had their transition game in gear for some fast-break dunks to build a 22-9 lead.
The Cats kept rolling, moving out to a 42-24 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. The last seven minutes weren’t nearly as sharp, particularly on defense.
The Redhawks(6-5) got back-to-back 3-pointers from Daniel Simmons and Denzel Mahoney — who had 20 first-half points with nine free throws — to cut their deficit to 46-34, resulting in a K-State timeout at the 2:48 mark.
Out of the break, Stokes buried a trey, drove the lane for a bucket and fed Brian Patrick for a layup at the buzzer for a 53-39 halftime lead. The Wildcats shot 69 percent in the half, 22 of 32 overall and 6 of 10 on 3-pointers, to put up one less point than they did the entire game against Tulsa.
Southeast Missouri pulled within 11 points quickly in the second half, but Sneed canned a 3-pointer and a 12-foot turnaround jumper to ignite an 11-2 surge that pushed the margin to 21 points with 14:20 remaining. That run, capped by a Sneed driving layup, included a trey by Stokes and back-to-back baskets by Mawien with a dunk cutting through the lane.
“We got more inside touches tonight and that was something we emphasized all week,” Weber said. “If you get the ball in the paint and move it side-to-side, usually good things happen.
“We told them we wouldn’t know what defense they were in half the time. Sometimes it was 1-3-1, sometimes a match-up, sometimes man. We said just push the ball and move the ball.”
Defensively, K-State played more zone in the second half and limited Mahoney to three points to finish his night with 23.
The Wildcats bounced back from the Tulsa loss and now get ready for a trip to Spokane, Wash., to play Washington State on Wednesday.
“We talked about you can’t worry about the past and you can’t worry about the future, all you can worry about is today,”
Weber said. “Those guys came focused. We got this done and got a little mojo back.”
SE MISSOURI (6-5)
Carpenter 6-13 1-1 13, Vranes 3-4 0-0 8, Dalton 2-4 0-0 5, Mahoney 6-9 9-9 23, Brewer 0-5 0-0 0, Gable 1-4 0-0 2, Duffus 1-3 0-0 3, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Simmons 6-15 0-0 17. Totals 25-57 10-10 71.
KANSAS ST. (9-2)
Sneed 9-10 1-1 23, Mawien 5-6 0-0 11, Wade 7-8 5-8 19, Brown 3-10 0-0 7, Stokes 5-10 0-0 12, Sallah 0-1 0-0 0, Stockard 1-1 1-2 3, Shadd 0-0 0-1 0, McAtee 0-0 0-0 0, Diarra 0-1 0-0 0, Schoen 0-1 0-0 0, Patrick 3-5 0-0 7, Kinnamon 0-0 0-0 0, Wainright 2-3 1-4 7. Totals 35-56 8-16 89.
Halftime — Kansas St. 53-39. 3-Point Goals — SE Missouri 11-25 (Simmons 5-9, Mahoney 2-3, Vranes 2-3, Duffus 1-1, Dalton 1-2, Brewer 0-2, Gable 0-2, Carpenter 0-3), Kansas St. 11-23 (Sneed 4-5, Wainright 2-3, Stokes 2-5, Mawien 1-1, Patrick 1-3, Brown 1-5, Wade 0-1). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — SE Missouri 18 (Vranes 6), Kansas St. 35 (Wainright 9). Assists — SE Missouri 16 (Dalton, Simmons 4), Kansas St. 25 (Stokes 9). Total Fouls — SE Missouri 16, Kansas St. 9. A — 7,389 (12,528).
Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.