MANHATTAN — In one week, Kansas State went from its worst offensive performance of the season to its best.
K-State found its shooting touch that disappeared a week ago, ran the floor in transition for dunks and shared the ball superbly to defeat Southeast Missouri State 89-71 on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats (9-2) connected on a season-high 63 percent of their shots (35 of 56, 11 of 23 3-pointers) for a season-high point total and also established a season-best with 25 assists, their fourth 20-plus assist game.
Xavier Sneed led the Wildcats with a career-best 23 points with seven rebounds and Dean Wade scored 19 points. Kamau Stokes had 12 points and a career-high nine assists and Barry Brown also had a career-best seven assists.
Coming off a flat performance a week ago in a loss to Tulsa when they shot 4-of-32 from 3-point range, the Wildcats came out running and gunning. Sneed canned a pair of 3s in the first five minutes and they had their transition game in gear for some fast-break dunks to build a 22-9 lead.
The Cats kept rolling, moving out to a 42-24 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. The last seven minutes weren’t nearly as sharp, particularly on defense.
The Redhawks(6-5) got back-to-back 3-pointers from Daniel Simmons and Denzel Mahoney — who had 20 first-half points with nine free throws — to cut their deficit to 46-34, resulting in a K-State timeout at the 2:48 mark.
Out of the break, Stokes buried a trey, drove the lane for a bucket and fed Brian Patrick for a layup at the buzzer for a 53-39 halftime lead. The Wildcats shot 69 percent in the half, 22 of 32 overall and 6 of 10 on 3-pointers, to put up one less point than they did the entire game against Tulsa.
Southeast Missouri pulled within 11 points quickly in the second half but Sneed canned a 3-pointer and a 12-foot turnaround jumper to ignite an 11-2 surge that pushed the margin to 21 points with 14:20 remaining. That run, capped by a Sneed driving layup, included a trey by Stokes and back-to-back baskets by Makol Mawien with a dunk cutting through the lane.
Mahoney finished with 23 points for the Redhawks.