MANHATTAN (TNS) — If you tuned in a few minutes late to Kansas State’s 86-49 victory over South Carolina Upstate on Tuesday at Bramlage Coliseum, well, you missed out.
This game was over before the first commercial break.
The Wildcats (8-1) bombarded the Spartans (3-8) in the opening minutes and raced to a 24-2 lead before the first media timeout.
The last time K-State hosted a game against an overmatched nonconference opponent, it appeared lackadaisical throughout a narrow victory over Oral Roberts. It played with much more life against USC Upstate. Two days removed from a road win at Vanderbilt, the Wildcats showed energy and passion in the opening moments and set the tone for a blowout.
They raced to a 14-0 lead and didn’t allow USC Upstate to score until Mike Cunningham hit a jumper at the 15:58 mark of the first half. Makol Mawien started the run with a jumper, Xavier Sneed hit a three, Dean Wade made a driving layup, Barry Brown scored off a steal, Mawien hit another shot and Kamau Stokes drilled a three.
The Spartans twice called timeouts to try and stop the Wildcats’ momentum, but nothing worked. They kept the foot on the gas and zoomed to a 43-23 halftime lead.
That was a good sign for a team that has, at times, appeared to lack killer instinct. The Wildcats didn’t mess around in this one.
Stokes had the most encouraging game. The junior point guard continued his hot streak from beyond the three-point line and made 5 of 7 treys on his way to 17 points. He is now shooting exactly 50 percent from deep this season.
Brown also played well, finishing with 15 points and five rebounds. Dean Wade was the only other K-State player in double figures. He had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Another good sign: K-State’s reserves extended the lead when Bruce Weber emptied the bench late. Amaad Wainright, Mawdo Sallah, Cartier Diarra and Nigel Shadd all had positive moments.
K-State will try to play with the same kind of intensity and skill in its next game against Tulsa on Saturday at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita.