K-State Hosts Marquette in Inaugural Big East/Big 12 Battle Saturday

Sports

KANSAS STATE (5-2) vs. MARQUETTE (6-2)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

8:05 p.m. CT Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) >> Manhattan, Kan.

Inaugural Big East/Big 12 Battle

TELEVISION

ESPN2

  • Kevin Brown (play-by-play)
  • Sean Farnham (analyst)
  • Steve Kurtenbach (producer)

RADIO

K-State Sports Network

Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580

Online: TuneIn.com [free] / www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]

Sirius 113 / XM 199 / Internet 953

  • Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
  • Matt Walters (analyst)

LIVE STATS

www.kstatesports.com

kstate.statbroadcast.com [media only]

TICKETS

www.kstatesports.com/tickets

(800) 221.CATS [2287]

Gameday: $25 (bench & GA)/$50 (chairback)

Wildcat 4-Pack: $75 ($18.75 each)

Group (12+): $15

COACHES

Kansas State: Bruce Weber (Wis.-Milwaukee ’78)

Overall: 468-246/22nd season

At K-State: 155-91/8th season

vs. Marquette: 0-1 (0-0 at home)

Marquette: Steve Wojciechowski (Duke ‘98)

Overall: 103-71/6th season

At Marquette: 103-71/6th season

vs. Kansas State: 1-0 (0-0 on the road)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Kansas State (5-2)

G: #00 Mike McGuirl

G: #2 Cartier Diarra

G/F: #20 Xavier Sneed

F: #11 Antonio Murphy

F: #14 Makol Mawien

Marquette (6-2)

G: #0 Markus Howard

G: #25 Koby McEwen

G/F: #2 Sacar Anim

F: #1 Brendan Bailey

F: #4 Theo John

BIG EAST/BIG 12 BATTLE

Saturday’s game is one of 10 that will be contested in the inaugural Big East/Big 12 Battle. The series began on Wednesday and runs until December 22. The Big East leads 2-0 after wins by Georgetown and DePaul on Wednesday night with two more games on Saturday.

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: K-State leads 7-4

Current Streak: Marquette, 1

In Manhattan: K-State leads 3-0

At Bramlage Coliseum: First meeting

Last Meeting: L, 71-83 [12/1/18 in Milwaukee]

Weber vs. Wojciechowski: First meeting

OPENING TIP

  • Kansas State (5-2) continues its 3-game homestand on Saturday evening, as the Wildcats welcome Marquette (6-2) in the inaugural Big East/Big 12 Battle set for 8 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum. The contest is being dubbed a “White Out,” as fans are encouraged to wear white attire to match the team’s new classic “Wildcats” script uniforms, first worn by K-State during the 1973-74 season.
  • K-State and Marquette have multiple connections in a series that dates back to 1953 when the top-ranked Wildcats knocked off the then Warriors, 88-72, in historic Ahearn Field House. They also share late legendary coach Fred “Tex” Winter, who led Marquette to a National Catholic Championship in 1952 before beginning a 15-year stint (1953-68) at K-State, where he led the Wildcats to 261 wins, eight league titles and trips to the Final Four in 1958 and 1964. Saturday’s game will conclude a home-and-home series between the schools that began in the Golden Eagles’ 83-71 win at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis., on Dec. 1, 2018. This will be the first meeting in Manhattan since 1986 and the first at Bramlage Coliseum.
  • Saturday’s matchup will be a rare occurrence that K-State will host a fellow Power 6 opponent in non-conference play at Bramlage Coliseum and the first since Georgia in 2018. This will be just the 10th Power 6 foe to play at Bramlage Coliseum since 2007-08 season. The Wildcats have hosted 3 SEC opponents (Georgia and Ole Miss [twice]) in the Big 12/SEC Challenge history, while it has played home-and-home series with Oregon (2007 and 2008), California (2006 and 2007), Washington State (2009 and 2010), Xavier (2008 and 2009) and Virginia Tech (2010 and 2011). The team is 7-2 in these matchups with the last loss coming to Georgia in 2014.
  • The Wildcats have won 33 consecutive games against non-conference opponents at Bramlage Coliseum since the start of the 2015-16 season. Overall, the school has a 109-6 (.946) record at home venues in non-conference play since 2006-07, including 100-5 (.951) at Bramlage Coliseum, and has won 96 of its last 100 non-conference home games. The last non-conference home loss came to Tulsa, 61-54, on Dec. 9, 2017 in Wichita, while the last at Bramlage came to Georgia, 50-46, on Dec. 31, 2014.
  • K-State played its best offensive game of the season in Monday’s 76-58 win over  Florida A&M, as the Wildcats set season-highs for points (76), field goals made (29), field goal percentage (53.7) and assists in extending their winning streak to 12 straight games at Bramlage Coliseum in the month of December. Senior Xavier Sneed led the team in scoring for the fifth time in 6 games with 18 points, while junior Cartier Diarra dished out 7 asssists and a career-tying 5 steals.  
  • With the offense still developing, K-State has relied on its defensive foundation to grind out wins in the early going. The team is allowing a Big 12-best 58.4 points on 40.9 percent shooting, including 28.3 percent from 3-point range, while posting league-bests in steals (10.2 spg.) and turnovers forced (19.7).

NOTES ON MARQUETTE

  • Marquette enters Saturday’s game with a 6-2 record after dispatching of Jacksonville, 75-56, in its last outing on Wednesday. The Golden Eagles have high-major wins over Purdue (65-55), Davidson (73-63) and USC (101-79) with their two losses coming on the road at Wisconsin (61-77) and to No. 3/4 Maryland (63-84) in the championship game of the Orlando Invitational.   
  • Marquette is averaging 74 points on 42.6 percent shooting, including 39.8 percent from 3-point range, with 39.1 rebounds, 12.3 assists, 5.0 steals and 5.1 blocks per game, while allowing 66.1 points on 38.3 percent shooting, including 28.1 percent from 3-point range. The team has connected on 72.1 percent from the free throw line.
  • Led by senior Markus Howard, who leads the country in scoring at 26.0 points per game, the Golden Eagles have a veteran team with two seniors (Howard and Sacar Anim) and two juniors (Theo John and Koby McEwen) in the lineup. Howard has scored more than 2,000 career points, while hitting on 45.2 percent from the field, including 43.7 percent from 3-point range. He is connecting on 42.1 percent from the field, including 44.3 percent from long range this season to go with 2.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Anim is second in scoring at 11.8 points on 46.8 percent to go with 3.5 rebounds, while McEwen is averaging 10.6 points and a team-best 5.3 rebounds per game.
  • An All-American during his playing career at Duke (1994-98), head coach Steve Wojciechowski enters his sixth season at Marquette, collecting a 103-71 record, which includes NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2019. He spent 15 years as an assistant at his alma mater from 1999 to 2014.

SERIES HISTORY

  • K-State and Marquette will meet for the 12th time in a series that dates to 1953. Many of the meetings came during in a stretch from 1982-88 when the schools played 6 times, including home-and-home matchups in 1981-82 and 1982-83, 1984-85 and 1985-86 and 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons.
  • K-State leads the series, 7-4, including a 3-0 mark in home (1953, 1982, 1986). The Wildcats saw their 4-game winning streak end in the 83-71 loss to the Golden Eagles in 2018. This will be the first meeting in Manhattan since a 56-55 Wildcat win at Ahearn Field House on Jan. 2, 1986.
  •  K-State is 24-24 all-time against the Big East, including a 12-2 mark at home. The last meeting with a Big East foe at Bramlage Coliseum came in a 71-56 win over Xavier on Dec. 8, 2009.

1977 NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME AND THE “WINSTON RULE”

  • The K-State/Marquette NCAA Tournament game in 1977 finds an interesting place in school history, as its ending led to the adoption of the so-called “Winston Rule” named for former Wildcat Darryl Winston.
  • With K-State trailing Marquette, 67-64, in the final minute, Winston hit a tip-in lay-up while being fouled. But tip-ins weren’t considered controlled shots at the time, so the basket was waved off. Instead of counting the basket and going to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game, as would be the case under the current rules, Winston went to the line with his team trailing by three. He made both free throws, and K-State lost 67-66.
  • The NCAA adopted the “Winston Rule” the following year, allowing tips to be counted despite fouls, but that meant little to Winston. He vowed never to return to Oklahoma City. It wasn’t until K-State started the 2010 NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City as a No. 2 seed that Winston relented and returned to the city for the games.

BOTH SCHOOLS SHARE TEX

  • The schools share several connections, but no more important than that of Naismith and College Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Fred “Tex” Winter, who served as head coach at both schools during his illustrious coaching career.
  • A native of Huntington Park, California, Winter began his coaching career as the first full-time assistant at K-State for fellow Hall of Fame head coach Jack Gardner from 1947-51, helping the Wildcats to the Final Four in 1948 and 1951. He became the youngest coach in the nation at Marquette in 1951, guiding the Warriors to the National Catholic Championship in his first season. After his second season, he replaced Gardner as head coach at K-State in 1953.
  • Winter owns the second-most wins (261) of any K-State coach, and laid claim to more league titles (eight) than any other Wildcat coach, while his winning percentage of 68.9 ranks third all-time in school history. He led the Wildcats to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including Final Four appearances in 1958 and 1964.
  • K-State wears a triangle patch on its uniform to honor Winter, who passed away at the age of 96 on October 10, 2018, and the only person associated with all four Final Four appearances.

LAST TIME OUT: K-STATE 76, FLORIDA A&M 58

  • K-State connected on a season-high 53.7 percent from the field, as the Wildcats used a 15-2 run to start the second half to build an insurmountable lead and snap a 2-game skid with a 76-58 win over Florida A&M to open a 3-game homestand on Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum. 
  • K-State set season-highs in points (76), field goals made (29), field goal percentage (53.7) and assists (21) en route to extending its winning streak to 32 games against non-conference opponents at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats have also now won 12 straight at home in the month of December. 
  • Florida A&M took a 2-0 lead 68 seconds into the game before senior Xavier Sneed gave K-State the lead for good with the first of his two 3-pointers. A 14-4 run midway through the first half gave the Wildcats a 24-12 lead with 8:32 before halftime. 
  • Leading 39-25 at the break, the team erupted for 9 consecutive points to start the second half en route to a 15-2 start to the half, as K-State led 54-27 after a dunk by junior Cartier Diarra at the 15:59 mark. The Rattlers wouldn’t go completely away, using a pair of 11-2 runs to close to 67-52 with 5:09 left. However, a fourth 3-pointer by junior Mike McGuirl, who registered double figure points in consecutive games for the first time in his career, to go with a pair of free throws by Sneed, pushed the lead back to 20 with 3:47 to play.
  • Sneed was one of three Wildcats to score in double figures, as he posted a team-high 18 points on 7-of-10 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, to go with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 29 minutes. McGuirl scored a season-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-6 from long range, while Diarra added 11 points to go with team-highs in assists (7) and steals (5). Starters accounted for 62 of the team’s 78 points.  
  • The Wildcats, which had 21 assists on 29 field goals, missed on chances for an even bigger win, turning the ball over 20 times, including 11 in the second half, which led to 26 points for the Rattlers.
  • The vaunted K-State defense, which was stung for 73 points and 13 3-point field goals in its last outing against Bradley on Nov. 27, returned to form against Florida A&M, holding the Rattlers to 58 points on 44.6 percent (25-of-56) shooting, including 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from 3-point range.

LEADING WITH DEFENSE

  • K-State continued its reputation as one of the top defensive teams in the country under head coach Bruce Weber to start the season, holding its first 7 opponents to a Big 12-best 58.4 points on 40.9 percent shooting (147-of-359), including 28.3 percent (39-of-138) from 3-point range, while posting conference-bests in steals (10.4 spg.) and turnovers forced (19.7).
  • K-State ranks among Top 50 in 6 different defensive categories, including 17th in scoring defense, 50th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 14th in steals per game, 27th in turnover margin (4.9), 44th in total steals (73) and ninth in turnovers forced (19.71).
  • K-State has held 23 of its last 41 opponents to 60 points or less with just three eclipsing 70. The squad has held 92 opponents to 60 points or less in Bruce Weber’s tenure, boasting an 84-8 mark in those contests.
  • K-State had one of the top defensive teams in the country in 2018-19, holding opponents to 59.6 points on 41.5 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 14.8 turnovers per game and averaging 7.5 steals per game. The Wildcats ranked among the nation’s best in a number of defensive categories, including fourth in scoring defense, 16th in turnover margin (+3.5), 36th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 43rd in total steals (256) and 48th in steals per game. 
  • The 59.6 points per game average was the lowest opponent scoring average since the introduction of the shot clock in 1985-86, surpassing the 60.4 points per game average in 2012-13, while it was the sixth-lowest all-time and the lowest since the 1982-83 team allowed 58.4 points per game. Only eight other teams (1948-49, 1949-50, 1950-51, 1961-62, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83) allowed less than 60 points per game in school history.
  • K-State held foes to an average of 14.5 points under their average in 2018-19, including a 14.6 average in Big 12 play. Eleven opponents (6 Big 12 foes) were held to 20 or more points under their average, most notably Texas Tech (26.6), TCU (25.4 and 23.5), Iowa State (24.3) and OSU (21.8).
  • In Big 12 play, K-State allowed 59.6 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting, including 33.8 percent from 3-point range. It is the school’s lowest defensive scoring average in a Big 12 season and a tie for the ninth-best in a conference season and the lowest since 1961-62. The Wildcats held Big 12 opponents (Iowa State, TCU [twice], Texas Tech, Oklahoma State [twice], West Virginia, Baylor and Oklahoma) to 60 points or less on 9 occasions.

NON-CONFERENCE HISTORY

  • K-State has a 109-6 (.948) record at home venues (includes home games played at Bramlage Coliseum, INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita and the Sprint Center in Kansas City) in non-conference play dating back to the 2006-07 season, including a 100-5 (.952) mark at Bramlage Coliseum
  • The Wildcats have won 96 of their last 100 non-conference home games, including a 33-game winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum. The last home non-conference loss came against Georgia, 50-46, on Dec. 31, 2014.
  • K-State has posted a 145-38 (.792) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07 season, which includes a 10-3 (.769) mark in 2018-19. The team has posted double-digit non-conference wins in 12 of the last 13 years.
  • Since going 7-6 in non-conference in 2014-15, which included back-to-back losses to Texas Southern and Georgia, the Wildcats has won double-digit non-conference games each of the past four seasons and is 48-11 (.814) in non-conference play since the start of 2015-16 season.

A LOOK AT THE 33 STRAIGHT NON-CONFERENCE WINS AT BRAMLAGE COLISEUM

  • A closer look at K-State’s current 33-game non-conference winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum, which dates to the start of the 2015-16 season. The Wildcats have won by an average of more than 17 points per game. 
  • 11/13/15 — Maryland-Eastern Shore, 80-53
  • 11/16/15 — Columbia, 81-71
  • 11/20/15 — South Dakota, 93-72
  • 11/29/15 — South Carolina State, 68-66
  • 12/9/15 — Coppin State, 83-58
  • 12/22/16 — North Dakota, 63-49
  • 12/29/16 — Saint Louis, 75-47
  • 1/30/16 — Ole Miss, 69-64 (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
  • 11/11/16 — Western Illinois, 82-55
  • 11/15/16 — Omaha, 81-68
  • 11/20/16 — Hampton, 89-67
  • 11/22/16 — Robert Morris, 61-40
  • 11/30/16 — Green Bay, 80-61
  • 12/6/16 — Prairie View A&M, 74-55
  • 12/21/16 — Gardner-Webb, 67-54
  • 11/10/17 — American, 83-45
  • 11/14/17 — UMKC, 72-51
  • 11/17/17 — UC Irvine, 71-49
  • 11/20/17 — Northern Arizona, 80-58
  • 11/29/17 — Oral Roberts, 77-68
  • 12/5/17 — USC Upstate, 86-49
  • 12/16/17 — SE Missouri State, 89-71
  • 1/27/18 — Georgia, 56-51 (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
  • 11/9/18 — Kennesaw State, 56-41
  • 11/12/18 — Denver, 64-56
  • 11/24/18 — Lehigh, 77-58
  • 12/15/18 — Georgia State, 71-59
  • 12/19/18 — Southern Miss, 55-51
  • 12/29/18 — George Mason, 59-58
  • 11/5/19 – North Dakota State, 67-54
  • 11/13/19 – Monmouth, 73-54
  • 11/19/19 – Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 62-51
  • 12/2/19 – Florida A&M, 76-58

HISTORY AT BRAMLAGE COLISEUM

  • K-State has posted a 382-118 (.764) all-time record at Bramlage Coliseum since its opening during the 1988-89 season. The 382 wins are the most at a home venue for the Wildcats, surpassing the 378 wins at Ahearn Field House (1950-88). It is the school’s third home venue.
  • K-State has registered a 182-38 (.827) record at home over the past 14 seasons, including a 79-33 (.705) mark in Big 12 play. The 182 wins rank fourth among all Big 12 schools in that span, while the 79 league victories at home are only surpassed by Kansas and Texas. In all, the program has earned double-digit victories in 26 of its 31 seasons in the arena, including a current streak of 18 straight seasons.
  • K-State has a 242-61 (.799) record at home, including a 142-10 (.934) mark in non-conference action, since the 2001-02 season for an average of just over 13 home wins (13.3) per season in that span.
  • Head coach Bruce Weber has tallied a 98-22 (.817) record at Bramlage Coliseum since taking over at K-State in 2012-13 with non-conference home losses to Northern Colorado (2013), Texas Southern (2014) and Georgia (2014). The 22 losses (19 of which have come in Big 12 play) have come by a grand total of 174 points or just 7.9 points per game.

SCORING INSIDE THE 3-POINT LINE

  • With its struggles from the 3-point line to start the year, K-State is getting much of its scoring from inside the arc. Of the 457 points scored so far, 250 have come from 2-point field goals, including 208 inside the paint. The team is averaging 29.7 points per game in the paint.  
  • The Wildcats are connecting on 50.6 percent (125-of-247) inside the 3-point line compared to just 29.4 percent (45-of-153) from 3-point range. Both Xavier Sneed (51.1/24-of-47) and Cartier Diarra (50.0/25-of-50) are shooting 50 percent or better from the field inside the 3-point arc.
  • The 208 points in the paint through the first 7 games are comparable to  the 238 scored in the first 7 games of the 2018-19 season.

POINTS OFF TURNOVERS

  • K-State is once again using its defense to generate offense this season, as the Wildcats are forcing a Big 12-best 19.7 turnovers per game, including a league-high 10.4 steals per game, while averaging 19.0 points per game off those opponent turnovers.
  • K-State has scored 20 or more points in 5 straight games off opponent turnovers, including a season-high 24 against Pittsburgh on Nov. 25. The team has also scored 20 or more points off turnovers against Monmouth (21), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (20), Bradley (22) and Florida A&M (20).
  • K-State has forced 4 of its 7 opponents into 20 or more turnovers, including a season-best 25 turnovers by UNLV and Monmouth.

SNEED GETTING HOT

  • Senior Xavier Sneed has led the Wildcats in scoring in 5 of the last 6 games, averaging 16 points on 42.7 percent shooting (32-of-75), including 32.4 percent (11-of-34), which includes wins against UNLV, Monmouth,  Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Florida A&M.
  • Sneed scored a then season-high 19 points in the overtime win over the Runnin’ Rebels, including the go-ahead jumper with 28 seconds left, then followed that up with a 15-point effort in the win over Monmouth on Nov. 13 before posting his season-high of 21 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 19. His 18-point effort against Florida A&M on Dec. 2 lifted him to the Top 20 scoring in school history, passing Willie Murrell (1962-64).
  • Sneed needs just 1 rebound against Marquette on Saturday to become the 13th player in school history with at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. He currently has 1,113 points in 112 career games to go with 499 rebounds.  He would join a 1,000 points/500 rebounds list that includes Dick Knostman, Jack Parr, Bob Boozer, David Hall, Steve Mitchell, Rolando Blackman, Ed Nealy, Jamar Samuels, Rodney McGruder, Thomas Gipson, Wes Iwundu and Dean Wade.
  • Sneed is currently one of 9 players to rank in the Big 12’s Top 20 in both scoring and rebounding, joining the likes of Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves, Kristian Doolittle and Brady Manek, Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike, West Virginia’s Oscar Tshiebwe and Jermaine Haley and Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey.  

DIARRA PROVING TO BE A SOLID PG

  • Junior Cartier Diarra is proving to be a solid point guard for the Wildcats, averaging 11.4 points on 37.8 percent (31-of-82) shooting with 6.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 steals in 32.8 minutes per game. He has led the team in assists in 7 consecutive games to start the season.
  • Diarra’s 48 assists are the most by a Wildcat in the first 7 games since assists began being kept in 1976-77, surpassing the previous 7-game high of 42 done by (current SMU head coach) Tim Jankovich in 1981-82. He has at least 6 assists in each game, including a career-high 8 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 19 and Bradley on Nov. 27.
  • Diarra and Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton are the only two players in the nation to rank in the Top 15 in both assists and steals. Haliburton ranks fourth in assists (8.6 apg.) and fifth in steals (3.0 spg.), while Diarra is ninth in steals (2.9 spg.) and 12th in assists (6.9 apg.).
  • Diarra was the only player to score in double figures in the first two games, including a career-best 23 points in the season opener against North Dakota State on Nov. 5, connecting on 8-of-21 field goals, including 2-of-8 from 3-point range, and went a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line to go with 6 rebounds and 6 assists in 32 minutes. He followed that with 12 points before fouling out in the overtime win at UNLV on Nov. 9. He has since scored twice in double figures, including 13 vs. Pittsburgh and 11 against Florida A&M.
  • Diarra has at least 1 steal in 6 of 7 games this season, including a career-best 5 in back-to-back games against Bradley and Florida A&M. Overall, he has at least 2 steals in each of the last 5 games.

‘CATS EARN FIRST OVERTIME ROAD WIN SINCE 2015

  • Senior Xavier Sneed scored a season-high 19 points, including 4 of the team’s last 6 points in overtime, to help propel K-State to a 60-56 come-from-behind victory at UNLV on Nov. 9 at the Thomas and Mack Center.
  • Playing in their first overtime in more than a year, the Wildcats went back and forth with the Runnin’ Rebels in the extra session before a jumper by Sneed with 28 seconds left gave the team the lead for good at 56-54. A deflection off a missed shot by senior Amauri Hardy went the way of K-State with 18 seconds, and junior Mike McGuirl calmly sank a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 58-54 with 13 seconds remaining.
  • Freshman DaJuan Gordon blocked a desperation 3-pointer by junior Jonah Antonio on the next Rebel possession with 7 seconds to play and Sneed finished off the Wildcat scoring with two free throws for a 60-54 lead with 4 seconds. A lay-up Hardy at the buzzer closed the scoring at 60-56.
  • Playing in their earliest road game in school history, the Wildcats claimed their first non-conference true road victory in close to two years, snapping a 3-game losing streak, and earned their first overtime victory in a road venue since a 66-63 win at No. 16 Oklahoma on Jan. 10, 2015.

‘CATS WIN OPENER AGAIN

  • K-State opened the season with a hard-fought 67-54 win over preseason Summit League favorite North Dakota State on Nov. 5. Behind the play of junior Cartier Diarra who scored a career-high 23 points, the Wildcats used a second-half resurgence to break open a tight game.
  • K-State is now 91-25 (.784) all-time in season openers dating to the first season in 1903, including a 79-9 (.898) mark at home. The Wildcats have a 26-2 (.929) record in season openers played at Bramlage Coliseum. Overall, the team is now 28-4 (.875) at Bramlage Coliseum in home openers. Head coach Bruce Weber is now 7-1 (.875) in season openers at K-State.
  • It marked the first time the school has opened a season against an NCAA Tournament opponent in nearly 20 seasons (an 88-69 loss at Arizona on Nov. 16, 1999) and the first time at home since hosting Purdue (with  then head coach and K-State alum Gene Keady and assistant coach Bruce Weber) in the first-ever game at Bramlage Coliseum on Nov. 26, 1988.

A QUICK LOOK AT K-STATE

  • The Wildcats return nine lettermen, including four players (Xavier Sneed, Makol Mawien, Cartier Diarra and Mike McGuirl) who registered starts, in 2019-20 from a squad that posted a 25-9 overall record a year ago and earned a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship for the second time under head coach Bruce Weber. The 25-win season was the seventh in school history, including the first time in consecutive seasons. K-State is one of just 24 schools  — 15 in power conferences — and 3 in the Big 12 (Kansas and Texas Tech) — with 25 wins in each of the last 2 seasons.
  • All-Big 12 honorable mention Xavier Sneed (10.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg.), fellow senior Makol Mawien (7.0 ppg., 4.9 rpg.) and key reserve and junior Cartier Diarra (6.8 ppg., 3.3 rpg.) form the core of a group returning for the Wildcats,  who must replace their top three scorers in Barry Brown, Jr. (14.6 ppg.), Dean Wade (12.9 ppg.) and Kamau Stokes (11.0 ppg.). All three have played pivotal roles with the consecutive 25-win seasons, including 71 and 70 starts, respectively, by Mawien and Sneed and major minutes by Diarra.
  • Sneed is the team’s top returner in nearly every stat category, including scoring (349), rebounding (182), assists (64), steals (45) and minutes (1014). He enters his senior season ranking 29th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,008 points having seen action in 105 career games with starts in 70 of the last 71 games. Mawien, who has started every game of his K-State career, has the fifth-highest career field goal percentage (56.1; 204-of-364) in school history after posting the sixth-highest (59.8; 104-of-174) field goal percentage in a single season as a junior in 2017-18. Diarra scored in double figures in four consecutive games, including three in Big 12 play, before missing eight games due to a broken finger. He did come back to play in the last three games with Wade out for the season, including a 15-point effort against Iowa State in the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and a 9-point effort in the NCAA Tournament.
  • The Wildcats also return rising senior Pierson McAtee (0.5 ppg., 0.5 rpg.), juniors Mike McGuirl (3.6 ppg., 1.5 rpg.), Levi Stockard III (1.8 ppg., 1.5 rpg.) and James Love III (0.3 ppg., 0.4 rpg.), sophomores Nigel Shadd (0.2 ppg., 0.4 rpg.) and Shaun Williams [was Neal-Williams] (1.4 ppg., 1.1 rpg.).

‘CATS WELCOME FIVE NEWCOMERS

  • The Wildcats will welcome five newcomers in 2019-20, including a pair of junior college transfers (David Sloan and Joe Petrakis) and three true freshmen (Antonio Gordon, DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy).  
  • Sloan was regarded as one of the top community colleges players in the country (and a Top 150 player out of high school) in 2018-19 after helping John A. Logan College to a 27-5 overall record as a sophomore. The NJCAA All-American twice led the NJCAA ranks in both total assists and assists per game, including 10.2 assists per game a year ago.
  • The freshmen were all consensus Top 200 prospects, as the recruiting class was a consensus Top 40 class nationally by a number of recruiting services, ranking No. 39 by Rivals.com and No. 40 by 247Sports.com. DaJuan Gordon was a consensus Top 150 player by both recruiting services.
  • Antonio Gordon scored nearly 1,600 points in his high school career at Eisenhower High School in Lawton, Okla., and averaged 26.3 points and 10.1 rebounds as a senior in 2018-19. DaJuan Gordon was the Chicago Sun-Times City Player of the Year after averaging 17.6 points in leading Curie to the school’s first city title. Murphy was one of the best players in Houston and a finalist for the Guy V. Lewis Award, averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds as a senior at Concordia Lutheran.

‘CATS PICKED NINTH IN BIG 12 POLL;

SNEED NAMED HONORABLE MENTION ALL-BIG 12

  • K-State was picked to finish ninth by the league coaches in the annual Big 12 Preseason poll released on Oct. 17, as the Wildcats received 23 points. Kansas was selected first for the ninth consecutive season, while Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas and West Virginia rounded out the Top 5.
  • The ninth-place selection tied for the lowest by a K-State team in the history of the 10-team poll, joining the 2016-17 team which was also picked to finish ninth by the league coaches. The team has been picked to finish eighth or worse 13 times in the history of the 24-year poll, including eighth in 2001-02, 2003-04, 2008-09, 2015-16 and 2017-18, ninth in 1996-97, 2004-05, 10th in 1999-2000, 11th in 2002-03 and 2005-06 and 12th in 1997-98 and 2000-01.
  • Senior Xavier Sneed was one of eight players to be selected to the honorable mention All-Big 12 preseason team, along with Oklahoma’s Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma State’s Yor Anei, Texas’ Matt Coleman, Texas Tech’s Chris Clarke, Davide Moretti and Jahmi’us Ramey and West Virginia’s Derek Culver.
  • Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson, along with Baylor’s Tristan Clark, Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton and TCU’s Desmond Bane were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team. Azubuike was the Preseason Player of the Year, while Chris Clarke was the Preseason Newcomer of the Year and West Virginia’s Oscar Tshiebwe was the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

SNEED NAMED CANDIDATE FOR JULIUS ERVING AWARD

  • Senior Xavier Sneed was named one of 20 watch list members for the 2020 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award, as announced by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Oct. 16.
  • Sneed was one of two Big 12 players named to the watch list, including Texas Tech transfer Chris Clarke. Other candidates include Arizona’s Josh Green, Duke’s Matthew Hurt, Florida’s Scottie Lewis, Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, Harvard’s Seth Towns, Kentucky’s Kahlil Whitney, Louisville’s Jordan Nwora, Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa, Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle, Providence’s Alpha Diallo, Purdue’s Nojel Eastern, St. John’s L.J. Figueroa, Syracuse’s Elijah Hughes, Vermont’s Anthony Lamb, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Washington’s Jaden McDaniels, Washington State’s C.J. Elleby and Xavier’s Naji Marshall.
  • Wade is the first K-State player to be a preseason candidate for the Wooden Award since Rodney McGruder in 2012. Jacob Pullen, who was a preseason candidate in 2010, was the last Wildcat to earn recognition to the Wooden All-American team, while Michael Beasley (2008) was the last finalist.
  • The 20-member watch list for the Erving Award will be narrowed to just 10 by mid-February. In March, five finalists will be presented to Julius Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on April 10, 2020.

UP NEXT: ALABAMA STATE

  • K-State concludes its 3-game homestand on Wednesday when the Wildcats play host to Alabama State (1-6) at 7 p.m., CT. Tickets start for as low as $5 through the K-State Ticket Office. The game will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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