Kansas State remains perfect with win over Northern Arizona
Behind a dominant defense that resulted in easy fast-break points, the Kansas State Wildcats rolled past winless Northern Arizona 80-58 in the opening round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational on Monday night in Manhattan, Kansas.
K-State, 4-0, will now face 4-0 Arizona State at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Vegas’ Orleans Arena. One of ASU’s wins was a 97-62 victory over Northern Arizona.
K-State also used the 3-ball to its advantage. The Wildcats, the top 3-point shooting team in the Big 12, dialed up five from long range in the first half, from four different players, and had seven for the game.
But it was turnovers that doomed the 0-4 Lumberjacks. Thirty-one turnovers spurred the Wildcats, who were relentless for 40 minutes.
Barry Brown led the Wildcats with 20 points. Kamau Stokes chipped in 15 points and Xavier Sneed netted a dozen tallies. Dean Wade garnered 15 points on his 21st birthday, including 12 in the second half. He also had a career-high six steals.
K-State used that suffocating defense to gain control early. Twelve turnovers in the first 11 minutes led to 18 points as K-State jumped to a 29-12 lead. NAU ended up with 19 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, which resulted in 28 points off turnovers.
Brown scored 12 first-half points, eight coming off NAU miscues. Stokes chipped in 10 of his points as the Wildcats led 43-27 at halftime.
Torry Johnson was the standout for the Lumberjacks with 11 points in the first half. He finished with 20 points. JoJo Anderson added 11 points for NAU.
The Wildcats finished with 19 steals, which tied a school record.
K-State’s 4-0 start marks the 10th time in the last 15 years the Wildcats won their first four games. The Wildcats have won 20 straight nonconference games in home venues and are now 93-5 in nonconference home venues since the 2006-07 season.
It was the Lumberjacks’ first game against a team outside the Grand Canyon State. NAU had opened against Arizona, Arizona State and Embry-Riddle (Ariz).
Monday’s game was the first ever between the two schools.