No. 12 Kansas State overcame a sluggish start to defeat visiting Kennesaw State 56-41 in the Wildcats’ season-opening game Friday night in Manhattan, Kan.
Barry Brown Jr. and Dean Wade led Kansas State with 15 points each. Makol Mawien added 13 points for the Wildcats. Newcomer Austin Trice led the Wildcats with 12 rebounds.
The Kansas State defense really showed up in the second half, holding Kennesaw State to just 21 percent shooting after intermission. The Wildcats also dominated inside, outscoring the Owls 42-12 in the paint and outrebounding them 42-29.
Kansas State was playing without regular starting guard Xavier Sneed, who sat out for precautionary reasons with an ankle injury.
The Wildcats (1-0) led by just four at halftime, but after Kennesaw State cut the lead to one point early in the second half, the Wildcats went on an 8-1 spurt to assume a comfortable lead. The Owls (1-1) responded again, getting to within four points on two occasions. But a quick 8-0 run gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead and they weren’t threatened again.
Kosta Jankovic was the only Owls player in double figures. He had 10 points.
Kansas State had a poor-shooting first half, hitting just over 40 percent of its shots from the field, including just 1 of 6 from beyond the arc. The result was just a 31-27 halftime lead.
The Wildcats also struggled from the line, going 4-of-9 from the stripe. Brown was one of two bright spots for the Wildcats. He led the team with 11 points. Trice, the junior college transfer who was targeted for his rebounding, pulled down eight of Kansas State’s 18 boards in the first half.
Jankovic led the Owls with nine points in the first half.
—Field Level Media