MANHATTAN, Kan. — Before the game, coach Bruce Weber wrote the words “be ready” on the whiteboard. Although it’s not the performance Weber might have wanted, a win is a win.
Barry Brown scored 14 points to help Kansas State beat cold-shooting Missouri-Kansas City 72-51 on Tuesday night.
Xavier Sneed had 13 points and Dean Wade and Mawdo Sallah scored 11 points apiece for Kansas State.
After both teams struggled to get baskets in the early going, the Wildcats (2-0) put together a game-breaking 15-2 run in the final five minutes of the first half to give them a 14-point lead at the half.
Coach Weber’s pregame text to Sallah seemed to be a motivator as Sallah’s game was well-rounded in Tuesday night’s victory.
“I texted him before the game and said that in those first couple of exhibition games he did not get any rebounds and that these last few games he has gotten some rebounds,” Weber said.
“I said that if you focus on rebounding and getting better defensively, then the other stuff will come, and tonight he gets 11 points.”
The Kangaroos (1-2) struggled shooting for the entire night as they had multiple scoring droughts that reached three or four minutes at a time. As a team, they shot below 30 percent (13 of 50) for the second time in three games this season. Isaiah Ross was the lone player to score in double figures for UMKC with 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
UMKC head coach Kareem Richardson acknowledged his team’s struggles scoring the basketball but is happy with how they defended the Wildcats.
“Simply, we weren’t able to score the basketball,” Richardson said.
“We responded because we made a couple of shots in that early run in the first half and in the late one we didn’t score. I thought we defended well the whole game, I told our guys if we defend like that, minus fouling too much, then we’re going to get offense and have a lot more w’s down the road.”
BIG PICTURE: Kansas State moves to 2-0 on the season but struggled from the field, shooting 41 percent, which seemed to be contagious as UMKC struggled as well. We’re about a week away from Kansas State’s first tough test of the season when they play Arizona State in the Las Vegas Invitational on November 23.
UMKC: The Kangaroos host Loyola on Thursday
Kansas State: Kansas State hosts UC Irvine on Friday