Strong Second Half Propels K-State Past WIU, 82-55




0-1 (0-0 Summit)

1-0 (0-0 Big 12)

G. Covington: 17pts, 3rebs, 2asts
D. Ancrum: 12pts, 3rebs, 1ast
J. Sandifer: 9pts, 6rebs

B. Brown: 18pts, 6rebs, 3asts, 3stls
W. Iwundu: 17pts, 9rebs, 2asts
X. Sneed: 17pts, 4rebs

Western Illinois 21 34 55
K-State 35 47 82

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- A sizzling second half shooting effort helped K-State pull away to beat Western Illinois, 82-55, in front of 11,644 fans in Bramlage Coliseum for the Wildcats’ season opener Friday night.

K-State (1-0) improved to 88-25 (.778) all-time in season openers, including 23-2 (.920) at Bramlage Coliseum.

Sophomore Barry Brown paced four K-State scorers in double figures with 18 points (7-of-11), including two 3-pointers to go along with 6 rebounds. Senior Wesley Iwundu nearly notched a double-double with his 17 points, 9 rebound effort, but it was freshman Xavier Sneed that began his K-State career in fantastic fashion. Sneed finished with 17 points (6-of-9), including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in 21 minutes off the bench.

The Wildcats lit up the gym in the second half, shooting 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from the field and nailing all seven 3-point attempts. K-State’s defense squeezed tight to allow only 36.5 percent shooting (19-of-52) from Western Illinois while also forcing 14 Leatherneck turnovers.

The Basics
Final Score: Kansas State 82, Western Illinois 55
Records: Kansas State 1-0, 0-0 Big 12 // Western Illinois 0-1, 0-0 Summit
Attendance: 11,644
Next Game: Tuesday, Nov. 15 // vs. Omaha // 7 p.m. CT // FOX Sports Kansas City

The Short Story
Four Wildcats scored in double figures as a hot shooting second half helped K-State win its season opener over Western Illinois, 80-53.
Brown led all scorers with 18 points, going 7-of-11 from the field and adding 6 rebounds.  
Iwundu nearly notched a double-double to begin his senior season, scoring 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with 9 boards.
In his debut, Sneed dropped 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including going 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
K-State dominated the rebounding margin and points in the paint, outrebounding Western Illinois 42-29 and outscoring them in the lane, 26-12.  

How It Happened | First Half
Both teams came out with an extraordinary defensive intensity as K-State forced two shot clock violations before the first media timeout, when the Wildcats held just a 2-0 lead.
Western Illinois was held without a field goal make until the 14:03 mark of the half, but it spurred a quick 5-0 run to give the Leathernecks their first lead, 9-7.
A steal and score from Barry Brown followed by a pair of free throws and a triple gave him a personal 7-0 run and put K-State up 16-9 with 10:18 remaining.
K-State’s advantage ballooned to 15 on two occasions, once at the 4:14 mark after an emphatic Xavier Sneed slam and again before half with a Sneed lay-up as the Wildcats took a 35-21 lead into the break.
Brown led the way for K-State with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while Sneed and Iwundu added 7 and 6, respectively.
K-State connected on 32.4 percent (12-of-37) from the field in the first half and hit 8-of-11 free throws, while holding Western Illinois to 30.4 percent (7-of-23) shooting from the field.

How It Happened | Second Half
An offensive flurry began the second half with Iwundu scoring seven of the Wildcats’ first 9 points before the under-16 media timeout, as K-State went up 44-30.
A Sneed 3-pointer put the Wildcats up 17 points (47-30), before Western Illinois used a 10-2 run to cut the score to single digits, 49-40, with 11:22 to play.
The Leathernecks were within eight points, 57-49, at the under-8 media timeout before K-State scorched the nets on a 12-0 run behind 3-pointers from Sneed and Dean Wade.
K-State’s 20-point lead wouldn’t be touched down the stretch as the Wildcats’ held Western Illinois to just six points over the final eight minutes of regulation to close out an 82-55 victory.
The Wildcats shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) and drained all seven 3-point attempts in the second half to finish at 44.3 field goal percentage (27-of-61) for the game.
Iwundu paced all scorers after the break with his 11 points on perfect 4-of-4 shooting, which was nearly matched by Sneed’s 10 points after he was without a blemish from 3-point range (3-of-3).

Beyond the Boxscore
With the win, K-State is now 88-25 (.778) all-time in season openers dating back to 1903.
K-State improved to 76-9 (.896) at home in season openers, including 23-2 (.917) at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State is now 80-5 (.941) in non-conference play at home dating back to 2006-07, including 78-4 (.951) mark during the regular season… The Wildcats have won 69 of its last 72 non-conference home games.
Bruce Weber moved to 17-2 for his career in season openers (Southern Illinois and Illinois), including 17-1 in home openers.

“The thing I like is he has been very efficient,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “You go 7-of-11, 2-of-2 (from 3), 2-of-3 (from the free throws), six rebounds, three assists, you are having a pretty good night. I thought sometimes he needed to pass the ball a little quicker that is where we got stagnant but I have said it to you guys, we have a lot of guys who have played well but Barry has probably been the most consistent day-in and day-out and he loves it, he is in the gym, he has put more time in the gym and he is taking care of his body better and he has played well.”

Up Next
K-State continues its homestand on Tuesday, November 15 at 7 p.m., as the Wildcats host Omaha (0-1). Tickets are available starting at $10, while fans can take advantage of the Bramlage Bundle for just $20, which includes a general admission/bench ticket, $10 concessions voucher and a souvenir from the K-State Super Store. The contest will be televised on FOX Sports Kansas City (state of Kansas, Kansas City area), K-StateHD.TV and ESPN3 (outside of state of Kansas).