Balanced Effort Leads K-State Past Italian Select, 90-55


– The Kansas State men’s basketball team used a balanced effort led by sophomore Dean Wade’s 15 points to earn their second victory of its exhibition tour with a 90-55 win over the Italian Select team on Saturday night. 

After building a 15-point lead at halftime, K-State took control of the game in the third quarter, where the Wildcats out-scored the Select team, 30-12. Wade (7), along with fellow underclassmen Xavier Sneed (6), Brian Patrick (5) and Isaiah Maurice (4) combined for 22 points in the decisive third quarter on 8-of-15 shooting.

All 15 players who made the trip appeared in the contest with 13 connecting on at least one field goal. None of the regular starters and reserves played the fourth quarter with walk-on seniors Austin Budke and Zach Winter, junior Mason Schoen, redshirt freshman Pierson McAtee and freshman James Love III earning the start.

“We knew going in this would be one of the easier games on the tour,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “However, we didn’t let the players know the situation. We challenged them to be ready to play from the start, play hard and not focus on the score but on toughness and continuing to make improvement. Our young players gave us a good boost of energy in the first quarter and helped get us on a run. Our veterans came out more motivated in the second quarter to help us pull out to a comfortable lead.” 

Wade, who played only two and half quarters after receiving stitches for an elbow to the head, went 6-of-10 from the field, including 1-of-1 from 3-point range, to go with a team-high 7 rebounds. He was joined in double figures by Sneed (14) and Patrick (11), as the true freshmen combined to go 9-of-15 from the field, to go with a team-best 3 steals each. Sophomore Kamau Stokes was steady all-around with 8 points on 4-of-4 shooting to go with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Love also had a solid game with 6 points, 6 rebounds and a block.

“It was great to see Dean to bounce back and have the best game of the tour tonight,” said Weber. “He was very aggressive and finished with a game-high 15 points in just 14 minutes of action. I was also really proud of the play of our two freshman, Xavier and Brian. They got us off to a good start with great energy on the defensive end.”

Sneed, who is averaging a team-leading 11.7 points on the tour, is the only Wildcat to score in double figures in the first three exhibitions while he has a team-high 7 steals.

K-State connected on 45.3 percent (34-of-75) from the field, including 35.3 percent (6-of-17) from 3-point range, to go with 39 rebounds, 16 steals, 13 assists and 2 blocks.

For the second straight game, K-State won all four quarters, building a 41-26 lead at halftime. The Wildcats jumped out to a 19-9 lead after the first quarter on a combined 50 percent shooting (8-of-16) with freshmen Sneed (5) and Patrick (3) combining for 8 points. Wade (6) and Stokes (6) led the way in the second quarter, as the team again connected on 50 percent of its field goals (9-of-18).

The Wildcats’ lead stood at 71-38 after the decisive third quarter, as five different players registered at least one field goal led by Wade (7), Sneed (6), Patrick (5) and Maurice (4). In firm control of the contest, only five players saw action in the fourth quarter, as Love (6), Schoen (5) and McAtee (4) helped the squad close it out with a 19-17 final quarter.

“It was an excellent opportunity to get some of our bench players good positive minutes,” said Weber. “They took advantage and played a good quality fourth quarter and helped us maintain our lead throughout the second half.”

The contest was the Wildcats’ third of five scheduled exhibitions on its 10-day tour of Italy and Switzerland. The travel party enjoyed two eventful days of sightseeing in the cities of Siena and Florence on Friday and Saturday. The team toured the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia in Siena on Friday before spending much of Saturday in Florence, where they saw Michelangelo’s David among other great works of art in the Accademia Gallery before touring the Florence Cathedral and Ponte Vecchio, a bridge that was built in 1345.

All five exhibitions will utilize FIBA (International Basketball Federation) rules, which include four 10-minute quarters and a 24-second shot clock among several variations from the college game.
K-State will depart Florence on Sunday morning and start working its way north to Venice, where the team will sightsee Sunday and Morning before departing for Lake Como. The Wildcats return to the basketball court on Tuesday, August 16 with a contest against the Kosovo National Team at 6 p.m. local/11:30 a.m. CT in Via Verdi, Italy.