MANHATTAN, Kan. – No. 12/11 Kansas State held Pittsburg State to just 39 points on just 19.7 percent shooting from the field, as the Wildcats used an impressive overall defensive effort to earn a 79-39 victory over the Gorillas in an exhibition game on Friday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
The 39 points tied for the fewest allowed in an exhibition game in school history, matching the 39 points scored by the University of Windsor (Canada) on November 29, 1979. The Gorillas’ 19.7 field goal percentage (13-of-66) was the lowest by an exhibition opponent, surpassing the 25 percent by Emporia State on October 30, 2015.
The defensive effort was even more impressive as the Wildcats were without Big 12 All-Defensive Team member and Preseason All-Big 12 selection Barry Brown, Jr., who was held out as a precautionary move after sustaining a foot injury earlier in the week at practice.
On the offensive end, seniors Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade led the way with 14 points apiece, as 12 of the 13 available players scored at least one field goal in the game, including seven dunks, and no player logged more than 26 minutes of action. Stokes added a game-high 6 assists, while Wade barely missed a double-double with 9 rebounds. Junior transfer Austin Trice grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in just 17 minutes.
K-State has now 24 consecutive exhibition games at Bramlage Coliseum dating back to 2004.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Wildcats opened the game with 13 consecutive points, hitting on their first six field goals while holding the Gorillas without a field goal for the first three minutes and three seconds. Wade (5) and Stokes (4) combined for 9 of the team’s first 13 points.
Pitt State closed to within 19-7 after a pair of free throws by senior Donovan Franklin with 14:42 remaining in the first half before K-State pushed the lead out to 20 on consecutive lay-ups by sophomore Mike McGuirl and junior Makol Mawienwith 7:27 left in the first half. The lead grew to a high of 25 on a tip-in by sophomore James Love III at 42-17 with 1:32 before halftime.
K-State connected on 54.1 percent (20-of-37) in the first half compared to just 21.2 percent (7-of-33) by Pitt State.
The Wildcat offense kicked off the second half with a 3-pointer from sophomore Cartier Diarra just 12 seconds in, as the lead slowly grew to 30 at 57-27 after a lay-up by Wade with 13:36 remaining. A dunk by freshman Shaun Neal-Williamsmade it 66-31 with just over 10 to play.
Starters Mawien (5), Xavier Sneed (9), Wade (7) and Stokes (6) all played less than 10 minutes after halftime.
The lead hit 40 on a 3-pointer by Neal-Williams with 6:24 remaining and stayed above 35 the reminder of the game. A dunk by junior Pierson McAtee provided the exclamation point on a 79-39 victory.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Kamau Stokes scored 13 of his game-tying 14 points in the first half on 5-of-9 field goals to go with a game-high 6 assists and 2 rebounds in 21 minutes of action… Fellow senior Dean Wade matched his Stokes’ game-high with 14 points on 6-of-9 field goals to go with 9 rebounds in just 19 minutes of action.
STAT OF THE GAME
39/19.7 – K-State held Pitt State to just 39 points on 19.7 percent shooting (13-of-66), including 17.2 percent (5-of-29) from 3-point range… The 39 points tied for the fewest points allowed in an exhibition game, while the 19.7 field goal percentage was the lowest-ever by an exhibition opponent.
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the start…
“Something we talk a lot during pregame is when we make shots. We make shots and we score. But it wasn’t as sharp as I wanted it to be. We still had 20 turnovers. But you know, it’s a great start and that’s what you look for. I talked to the guys last week about keeping the foot on the gas, and they do lose some focus, but we got good minutes.”
On freshman guard Shaun Neal-Williams…
“Shaun is a good basketball player for us. He got some good minutes tonight. He has a bright future for Kansas State Basketball. He’s got a lot of natural ability and has a chance to be a very good player. You feel good to have him in the program.”
On getting everyone minutes…
It gave Mike McGuirl good minutes. Barry Brown would have had 18-20, so it was good to give them. Cartier Diarra took a big step, Kamau Stokes took a big step, Dean Wade took a big step, Makol Mawien took a big step. These guys are taking advantage of their opportunities. I like our first seven guys. I think we have seven starters on this team. We can keep rotating guys, and hopefully that will be our strength.”
On shooting poor from three and free throws…
“You lose a little bit of our rhythm, you know with the people and the crowd. We haven’t put enough time shooting and we haven’t practiced in Bramlage enough. But some of it’s on the guys too, you have to go get your shots in.”
Dean Wade, Senior Forward
On defensive effort tonight…
“That is one of our main focuses from last season that we wanted to carry on to this season was our defensive mentality. We want to be the best defense in the Big 12 and in the nation. It was a big step for us and I think we came out and really had our mentality right this game and everybody really came out and did their part. We played team defense and everybody was helping everyone, so it was a very good environment.”
On strong start offensively…
“It was a great start. Everybody was more worried about defense. Offense is going to come as long as we do our part on defense. I think we got off to a good start on defense and pushed it a little bit getting them mixed up and
creating some open shots.”
On not having Barry Brown tonight…
“He was not in the game put he was still making his part on the bench. You could hear him yelling stuff. He was not playing which was a big loss for us but we had other players that stepped up just like Kamau (Stokes) said. Last year, Kam went down and Cartier (Diarra) stepped up and in the tournament everyone stepped up and played great basketball. I think that is what we did today we gave people good opportunities and when people take advantage of them it is really amazing to see what happens.”
On getting exhibition out of the way…
“It is good to get in front of the fans especially for the new guys. It is good for the young guys to get in front of the fans and play a little bit to get those nerves out of them before we start the non-conference.”
Kamau Stokes, Senior Guard
On offensive performance…
“That is what we have been working on all summer and preseason. We have been working on moving the ball and working together to get open shots. As everybody saw we were like nine for ten out of the gate. Everybody saw that we were moving the ball and working together. When you move the ball the defense has to scramble and then we get open easily.”
On not having Barry Brown tonight…
“Of course, one of our main guys is not playing. Like we saw last year, when one guy goes down, another steps up. I felt like today everybody stepped up.”
On getting back into the flow of the game…
“This game was really good for us to do that. To get those younger guys in getting them a feel for what we want in the season and how we want to play. Moving the ball is the biggest thing when we move the ball we are really special which we saw today.”
Pittsburg State Head Coach Kim Anderson
On team response to back to back games…
“Well it was tough for us, but the main thing we got out of it was playing under pressure. Both teams places pressure on us. We don’t see that type of pressure during the season, I hope. I thought K-State has a really good basketball team. They are really, really talented, very athletic and deserving of the ranking they have, if not higher.”
On improvements from last night…
“We did a little bit better on rebounding until the end that got away from us a little bit. I thought K-State defense was really good, which, made it hard for us to execute a play. We were maybe able to get the start of it but we unable to finish.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State is now 67-20 all-time in exhibition play, including 52-9 in home exhibition games… The Wildcats are now 46-9 in exhibition games at Bramlage Coliseum with 24 consecutive wins dating back to 2003… Overall, the team has now won 7 straight in exhibition play since 2016.
- The 39 points tied for the fewest allowed in an exhibition, tying the 39 by the University of Windsor (Canada) on November 29, 1979… K-State held Pitt State to 19.7 percent (13-of-66) shooting from the field, including 17.2 percent (5-of-29) from 3-point range… It was the lowest field goal percentage by an exhibition opponent, surpassing the 25.0 percent (13-of-52) by Emporia State on October 30, 2015.
- The Wildcats grabbed 63 rebounds in the contest, which was the most in an exhibition game since posting 66 against Michigan AAU on November 15, 1991… Junior Austin Trice led all players with 12, as seven players had at least 4 rebounds in the contest.
- K-State connected on 50 percent (32-of-64) of its field goals, including 63.6 percent (28-of-44) inside the 3-point arc… The Wildcats held a 50-8 advantage in points in the paint.
- K-State used a starting lineup of redshirt freshman Cartier Diarra, senior Kamau Stokes, junior Xavier Sneed, senior Dean Wade and junior Makol Mawien… Senior Barry Brown, Jr. (ankle) did not play.
- 12 of the 13 available players recorded at least one field goal.
- All 13 available players saw action, as Diarra led all players with 26 minutes of action.
K-State officially opens the regular season on Friday, November 9, as the Wildcats play host Atlantic Sun member Kennesaw State at 7 p.m., CT. Tickets starts at just $5 for advanced bench and general admission with $3 tickets available for groups of 12 or more fans. The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Kansas City (state of Kansas and Kansas City area) as well as on the FOX Sports app and ESPN3.