Wildcats force school-record 19 steals in easy win
In its final tuneup before this weekend’s trip to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, Kansas State crushed Northern Arizona 80-58 Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
Barry Brown scored 20 points to lead the way for the Wildcats, who jumped out to an early 9-2 lead and were never threatened by the winless Lumberjacks.
“We were probably just a little off mentally, but you have to move forward,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We weren’t as sharp as we need to be. That will be a key for our team.”
Much of the first half was defined by NAU turnovers on one end and K-State shooting threes at the other. The Wildcats forced 19 turnovers before halftime, 31 for the game, and turned them into 38 points.
K-State also broke a school record by forcing 19 steals. Brown had a career-high six of them.
“We scored on a lot of steals in transition, but we need to do a better job of running our plays,” Weber said.
The Wildcats, who are 4-0 for a third straight season, led the contest by as many as 27 points.
Kamau Stokes scored 15 points for K-State while Dean Wade filled the stat sheet with 15 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists.
The level of competition picks up in a major way later this week as K-State heads to Las Vegas. It will play Arizona State on Thanksgiving Day, followed by either No. 15 Xavier or George Washington on Friday.
Weber said the upcoming schedule will be an important barometer for his team.
“This next stretch will be a good gauge of where we’re at,” he said. “A lot of these guys are inexperienced and we need to use these games to get them ready for the rest of the season.”
Tipoff against the Sun Devils is set for 6 p.m. Thursday with a FOX Sports 1 telecast.