Senior Xavier Sneed saved his best for last, scoring a career-high 31 points as Kansas State easily defeated Iowa State 79-63 on Saturday in the regular-season finale in Manhattan, Kan.
Sneed’s previous career best was 23 points.
The Wildcats (10-21, 3-15 Big 12) also received good efforts by Cartier Diarra with 14 points and Mike McGuirl with 10.
Kansas State, which had lost 10 straight games, their longest streak since 1999-2000, shot 51.8 percent from the field and held Iowa State to 38.2 percent. The Wildcats also forced 19 Iowa State turnovers.
Things have not gone well this season for the Wildcats, who shared the Big 12 regular-season title last season with Texas Tech. But with the win, the Wildcats extended their NCAA-best streak of consecutive winning seasons at home to 75. The Wildcats finished 9-8 at home this season.
Kansas State will be the 10th seed at the Big 12 Championship beginning Wednesday night. Iowa State will be the ninth seed.
Iowa State (12-19, 5-13) finished 0-11 on the road, including going 0-9 in Big 12 play. Iowa State was led by Solomon Young with 17 points. Terrence Lewis added 11 points.
Besides guard Tyrese Haliburton, who has been out since Feb. 8 with a broken wrist, Iowa State also was without Rasir Bolton (concussion protocol). And Prentiss Nixon went down with an ankle injury midway through the second half.
Kansas State jumped out early, thanks to Sneed, who hit double-figures in scoring with 13:17 left. Sneed finished the first half with a career-high 26 points, including 14 of the team’s first 18 points.
After the Cyclones cut into a nine-point deficit, the Wildcats used an 11-0 run to open up a 16-point lead, and later took a 41-23 lead into the half.
Everything worked for the Wildcats in the first half, as they shot 52.0 percent, while holding Iowa State to just 25.0 percent. The Wildcats were 5-of-16 from 3-point range and the Cyclones were 0-for-9. The Cats even outrebounded the Cyclones 18-13.
Young led Iowa State with 11 points in the first half.
—Field Level Media