MANHATTAN, Kansas — Xavier Sneed had 15 points and six rebounds and led Kansas State to a 73-54 win over Monmouth Wednesday night.
Monmouth held a nine-point halftime lead but was stifled offensively in the second half — only scoring six points in the first 15 minutes.
Ray Salnave had 20 points and five rebounds while Mustapha Traore scored five points and had 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
Kansas State’s defense forced 25 turnovers scoring 21 points off those mistakes.
The Wildcats (3-0) won the game in the paint outscoring the Hawks 38-20 as Makol Mawien nearly had his second double-double of the season scoring 11 points and pulling in nine rebounds. Freshman Montavious Murphy had a career high eight points.
Monmouth (1-2) closed the first half on a 14-4 run after a layup at buzzer by Traore to lead 29-20 at the break. The Wildcats have been outscored 74-57 in the first half of games this season.
Sneed opened the second half with a 3, starting a 9-0 run for the Wildcats, which tied the game. K-State scored 23 of the first 27 points in the second half and cruised to victory from there.
Monmouth showed for a half that they can play with a Power Five school but will need to play a full 40 minutes to complete a major upset.
Kansas State has to start games quicker because against better quality opponents, they won’t be able to come back as easily.
Monmouth travels to Kansas on Friday night.
Kansas State has almost a week off before hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday.
— Associated Press —