Kansas State scored 53 points on 64.3 percent shooting after halftime, as the Wildcats used another second-half rally to pull away from Monmouth, 73-54, on Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State (3-0) has now trailed at the half in all 3 games this season and rallied in the second half to win.
Down 29-20 at the half to a veteran Monmouth (1-2) squad after shooting just 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from the field, including 0-of-10 from 3-point range, the Wildcats scored the first 9 points of the second half en route to a 37-6 combined run over the first 14 minutes of the half. The run enabled the squad to flip the 9-point halftime deficit into a 57-35 lead with 5:56 to play. Six different players scored in the pivotal stretch, including 9 by senior Makol Mawien and seven each by senior Xavier Sneedand freshman Montavious Murphy.
The Wildcats are now averaging 43.7 points on 54.2 percent (45-of-83) shooting, including 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from 3-point range, in the second half this season compared to just 19 points on 29.9 percent (26-of-87) shooting, including 3.1 percent (1-of-32) from 3-point range, in the first half.
Sneed was one of two players in double figures for K-State, which is off to a 3-0 start for the fifth consecutive season. Sneed led the way in scoring for the second straight game with 15 points on 5-of-10 field goals to go with a career-tying 5 steals and 6 rebounds in 34 minutes. Mawien nearly had his second double-double of the season with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting and a team-high 9 rebounds in 17 minutes. Three others – Murphy and juniors Cartier Diarra and David Sloan – each had 8 points, as Diarra added a career-high 7 assists and 4 steals.
The Hawks, which connected on 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the field in building a 9-point lead at half, hit on just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) in the second half. They became the third consecutive opponent to not reach 60 points against the stingy Wildcat defense, which is allowing just 54.7 points on 34.2 percent shooting this season.
K-State registered 17 steals on the night, which were the third-most in school history and the most since team tied the program record with 19 steals in a win over Northern Arizona on Nov. 20, 2017.
Senior reserve Ray Salnave led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
The Wildcats finished the game at 46.4 percent (26-of-56), including 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from 3-point range, and converted on 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the free throw line. The team set or tied season-highs in a number of categories, including points (73), field goal percentage (46.4), assists (17) and points in the paint (38).