Courtesy of K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas 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 three-game homestand on Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State (5-2) set season-highs in points (76), field goals made (29), field goal percentage (53.7), assists (21) and second-chance points (13) 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 (0-6), which is in the midst of a 13-game road trip to start the season, took a 2-0 lead 68 seconds into the contest 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 feisty Rattlers wouldn’t go completely away, using a pair of 11-2 runs to close to within 67-52 with 5:09 remaining.
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 both assists (7) and steals (5).
Diarra now has 48 assists (6.9 apg.) and 20 steals (2.9 spg.) through the first seven games of the season, as both totals rank second in the Big 12 behind Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton.
The Wildcats, which had 21 assists on 29 made field goals, missed on opportunities 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. The Wildcats have now held 92 opponents to 60 points or less in the Weber era with the Wildcats boasting an 84-8 mark in those contests.
Junior transfer Evins Desir tied Sneed for game-high in scoring with 18 points on 9-of-16 field goals to go with a game-high 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 32 minutes of action for the Rattlers.