Wildcats step up without Dean Wade, defeat Vanderbilt

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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.

IN THEIR WORDS

K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber

On the defensive effort…

“It was something I put on the board. They’re long, talented, and, athletic. Without Dean (Wade), it gives them an advantage with size and athleticism. We talked about doing it as a group, fighting for rebounds, I thought we handled ourselves pretty good on the boards, everybody kind of chipped in there. Xavier (Sneed) has been big time since Dean went out the last few games, 9 tonight, 14 the other night. We talked about a special defensive effort and frustrating them. That’s a team that’s averaging 80, they scored 80 against Arizona State who is supposedly a top 20 team. It was great lock-in defense by our guys and great job by the coaches preparing. Mak [Makol Mawien] doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves but he’s guarded some pretty good big guys and this one obviously is really good and probably an NBA guy down the road. Mak not only scored 15 but did a great job on the defensive end and obviously Barry [Brown] getting the steal record. You talk about going to a place and leaving a legacy with hopefully wins, but you know individual accomplishments are something special. Jake [Pullen] was a special player at K-State and Barry not only broke it but is probably going to shatter it with hopefully twenty games left. It is pretty impressive what he’s done. I remember when he was a freshman asking at one of the team meetings, who is going to be our lockdown defender and he raised his hand. I said ‘No, not you. Who is going to be our lockdown defender?’ But he’s been that guy since he got here and he takes a lot of pride in that.”

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE

  • K-State is now 112-81 all-time in games played in Kansas City, which date back to 1926.
  • K-State is now 17-14 all-time in games played at Sprint Center.
  • K-State is now 8-1 all-time in the Wildcat Classic, in this, the ninth edition (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018)… The Wildcats are now 4-0 against the SEC in the Classic.
  • K-State is now 104-6 in non-conference play at home dating back to 2006-07 with wins in 91 of its last 95 non-conference home games (Bramlage Coliseum, Sprint Center, INTRUST Bank Arena).
  • K-State has now held 77 opponents to 60 points or less in the Weber era with the Wildcats boasting a 69-8 mark in those contests, including 8 of 11 opponents this year… Vanderbilt was held to a season-low 59 on 31.9 percent shooting (15-of-47), including 28 percent (7-of-25) from 3-point range.
  • K-State scored 16 points off 15 Vanderbilt turnovers and has now scored at least at least 11 points off turnovers in all 10 games this season.
  • K-State turned the ball over a season-low 7 times, surpassing the previous mark of 9 done twice.
  • Junior Makol Mawien scored a game-high 15 points on 7-of-10 field goals, including 1-of-1 from 3-point line… He has now led the Wildcats in scoring twice, both in games played at the Sprint Center… He has now scored in double figures in 14 career games, including 4 this season… He also connected on his fourth career 3-point field goal, all having come in 4 separate games.
  • Senior Barry Brown, Jr., scored 12 points on 5-of-12 field goals to go with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in 34 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 71 career games, including 8 this season.
  • Brown now has 71 career double-digit scoring game, which is now the 10th-most in school history.
  • With his 3 steals tonight, Brown now has 211 in his career and surpassed Jacob Pullen (210, 2007-11) to become the school’s all-time steals leader.
  • Senior Kamau Stokes scored 12 points on 2-of-8 field goals and 8-of-12 from the free throw line… He has now scored in double figures in 57 career games, including 8 this season… He also added a game-high 5 assists, which marked the 31st time with 5 or more assists in his career.
  • Sophomore Cartier Diarra scored 10 points on 2-of-6 field goals with both coming from 3-point range… He has now scored in double figures in 11 career games, including 2 this season.
  • Junior Xavier Sneed grabbed a game-tying 9 rebounds to go with 7 points, 4 assists and 1 steal… He has now grabbed at least 9 rebounds in 3 consecutive games.
  • Junior Austin Trice scored a season-high 7 points on 3-of-5 field goals in 15 minutes.

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