Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State Seals Victory against Vanderbilt at Free-Throw Line

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State Seals Victory against Vanderbilt at Free-Throw Line

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A big lead slipped away from Kansas State, but the Wildcats were able to recover.

K-State led Vanderbilt by 16 points in the first half and was up by 11 with just under 13 minutes remaining, only to see the Commodores storm back and tie the score with less than four minutes to play.

But, playing their first true road game of the season, the Wildcats made big plays on offense and defense down the stretch for an 84-79 victory Sunday at Memorial Gymnasium.

"We knew they were going to come out and fight in the second half," K-State guard Kamau Stokes said on the postgame radio show. "They made a good run and we just had to stay poised. I kept telling everybody, 'We're good, we're good, we're good.' We made plays at the end of the game that we needed to make.

"Road games mean a lot, especially when it's time for 'March Madness.' This is a big win for us on the road in our first road game, so it was great."

After Vanderbilt (3-5) pulled into a 71-71 tie, the Wildcats (7-1) made 11 of 12 free throws, including two by freshman Levi Stockard with 23 seconds to play and two by Xavier Sneed with 12.5 seconds remaining.

K-State was 22 of 24 at the foul line, shot 58 percent from the field (29 of 50) and committed only seven turnovers.

Sneed, a sophomore, scored a career-high 21 points, while Stokes had 20 points, six assists and no turnovers and Barry Brown scored 18 points.

"It's great to have experienced guards that have been through it that are confident," K-State coach Bruce Weber said. "They are not afraid to make plays. Good execution, good way to win a game on the road and figure it out."

The Wildcats dominated the first half for a 43-30 lead, but the Commodores cut the margin to seven points at the 13-minute mark of the second half, then used a 10-0 run to pull within 58-57.

"Rebounding ... we have to do something," Weber said after the Wildcats were out-rebounded 33-21, including 16-5 on the offensive boards. "That got them back in the game. …

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