Senior Xavier Sneed scored 26 of his career-high 31 points in a dominant first-half effort by Kansas State, as the Wildcats ended their losing streak with a 79-63 win over Iowa State on Senior Day before 8,439 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
K-State (10-21, 3-15) led by as many as 24 points in the second half, including 19 at the half, in earning its first win since late January, as the Wildcats connected on 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field, including 70 percent (21-of-30) from inside the 3-point line. It was the highest field goal percentage since shooting 59.2 percent (29-of-49) against No. 12/13 West Virginia on Jan. 18. 2020.
Sneed, who became the first Wildcat with a 30-point game since Barry Brown, Jr., scored 34 at Baylor on Jan. 22, 2018, was nearly perfect in helping K-State build its largest halftime lead (19 points) in Big 12 play, as he connected on 8-of-11 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line in scoring 26 points. Sneed was responsible for more than 63 percent of the Wildcats’ 41 first-half points, as the team hit on 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field, including 88.9 percent (8-of-9) from inside the arc.
K-State kept the momentum going in the second half, pushing the lead out to as many as 24 points, including 76-52 on back-to-back jumpers by junior Mike McGuirl with 4:28 to play. The Wildcats would connect on 51.6 percent (16-of-31) after halftime, including 61.9 percent (13-of-21) inside the arc, to hit on 50 percent or better in both halves for the first time since that West Virginia game in January.
Sneed finished with 31 points on 10-of-21 field goals, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range, and 7-of-8 free throws to go with 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in 33 minutes. He was joined in double figures by junior Cartier Diarra (14) and McGuirl (10). Senior and former walk-on Pierson McAtee enjoyed a dream end to his home playing career by tying or eclipsing career-highs in 6 categories in first career start, including points (6), rebounds (5), field goals made (3) and attempted (8) and minutes played (25).
Iowa State (12-19, 5-13 Big 12) was led by junior Solomon Young’s 17 points on 6-of-8 field goals.
In addition to snapping its 10-game losing streak, K-State also extended its streak with a winning record on its home courts to 74 straight seasons with a 9-7 record at Bramlage Coliseum.