EditorsNote: Updates to 10th-12 grafs, adds new 13th graf, last graf stands
No. 12 Kansas State used a 12-0 run in the second half to blow open a moderately close game and defeat Eastern Kentucky 95-68 Friday in the final opening-round game of the Paradise Jam tournament in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
The Wildcats will face Penn, a 78-71 winner over Northern Iowa in the previous game, in the semifinals Sunday evening. The Colonels will face Northern Iowa on Saturday in the consolation bracket.
Kansas State (3-0) put five players in double-figures, led by Xavier Sneed with 16. Cartier Diarra scored 14 points, 10 in the second half, and Dean Wade also added 14 points.
Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown Jr. netted 10 points each, and Austin Trice had 10 rebounds off the bench for the Wildcats.
K-State shot 73.9 percent from the free-throw line after finishing worse than 50 percent in the first two games.
Eastern Kentucky (2-2) was led by Dujuanta Weaver with 12 points and Nick Mayo with 11.
Eastern Kentucky came in averaging 88.3 points per game, but the Wildcats held Mayo to 17 points below his season average.
The Wildcats led 37-28 at the half. A 12-2 run late in the first half moved a one-point margin to a 35-24 lead. The Cats were led by Sneed with nine points. Wade and Brown each had six points in the first half. Trice had eight rebounds in just 12 minutes of action.
The Colonels were led by Mayo and Kelvin Robinson with six points each. They shot just 33 percent from the field.
The Penn Quakers are 4-0 for the first time since the 1978-79 season after the win. That season, the Quakers lost to Magic Johnson-led Michigan State in the Final Four.
Devon Goodman scored 27 points for Penn, and Bryce Washington hit all four of his three-pointers in the second half to finish with 12 points.
Antonio Woods also had 12 points, and A.J. Brodeur had his 10th straight game of scoring in double figures, finishing with 11 points.
Luke McDonnell led Northern Iowa with 11 points.
The Kansas State game was delayed for about five minutes in the first half because of a small leak in the roof on a rainy night.
—Field Level Media