Senior Xavier Sneed scored 12 of his team-high 21 points after halftime, as Kansas State once again used a second-half rally to earn a 62-51 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to close out a homestand on Tuesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
Tied at 27-all at the half after allowing the Golden Lions to score 7 of the last 9 points of the first half, K-State (4-0) took the lead for good from UAPB (0-4) with an 11-2 run midway through the second half spurred by 5 consecutive points from Sneed for a 40-31 lead at the 11:13 mark. After the Lions clawed to 40-35 on back-to-back baskets, the Wildcats used a 19-7 run over the next 6 minutes to finally break free for a 59-42 advantage with 3:46 to play.
K-State has had to use second-half rallies in each of its first four games after averaging just 21 points on 32.1 percent (36-of-112) shooting, including 11.6 percent (5-of-43) from 3-point range, in the first half. The Wildcats have responded after halftime, averaging 41.5 points on 50 percent (55-of-110) shooting in the second half.
Sneed led K-State in scoring for the third consecutive game, as he posted his fifth career 20-point game with a team-high 21 points on 6-of-12 field goals, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6 rebounds in 36 minutes of action. He was joined in double figures by fellow senior Makol Mawien, who registered 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting. Three others (Antonio Gordon, DaJuan Gordon and Cartier Diarra) added 9, 8 and 7 points each, while Diarra eclipsed his career-high in assists for the third consecutive game with a game-high 8.
Diarra has the most assists (27) by a Wildcat through the first four games of a season, eclipsing the mark of 24 by Tim Jankovich in 1981-82.
The Lions, which connected on 50 percent (12-of-24) from the field in the first half, hit on just 38.5 percent (10-of-26) in the second half. They became the fourth consecutive opponent to not reach 60 points against the stingy Wildcat defense, which is allowing just 53.8 points on 36.5 percent shooting this season.
K-State forced UAPB into 19 turnovers, converting those miscues into 20 points.
Senior Marquell Carter led all players with a game-high 22 points on 10-of-17 field goals, including 2-of-6 from 3-point range, for the Lions to go with a game-high 9 rebounds in 37 minutes.