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TODAY'S SPORTS EXTRA

Sneed Filling Up the Stat Sheet for K-State MBB

December 11, 2017
By Corbin McGuire


WICHITA — Xavier Sneed did just about anything he could to will K-State to a win over Tulsa on Saturday. While his effort was not enough in a 61-54 loss in INTRUST Bank Arena, his wide-ranging talent was certainly on full display.

Against Tulsa, Sneed led K-State in points (15), assists (4) and rebounds (8), while also registering three steals and a block, both tied for team-highs.

"I just try to do everything possible to win a basketball game for my team," Sneed said Saturday night. "That's all I did today and I tried my best."

Sneed gave K-State some serious life in the first half. The sophomore hit a pair of treys and pinned a Tulsa layup attempt on the glass in the first four minutes of the game.

To stop a 9-0 Tulsa run, Sneed drew a foul on a 3-point attempt and converted all three at the line, where he finished the game 5-for-5. At that point, he had scored nine of K-State's first 11 points.

"He was great. He came out with a lot of energy," junior guard Kamau Stokes said of Sneed. "I felt like everybody was ready to play, especially him."

 

Sneed's most exciting contribution occurred near the 4:00 mark of the first half. The 6-foot-5 Wildcat timed up a Barry Brown 3-point miss perfectly, throwing down a put-back dunk with one hand.

"The first half, he came out great," Stokes said. "He was making shots; he was the only one that was really making threes, and he was just playing with a lot of energy that we needed at that time."

Tulsa limited Sneed to only two points in the second half but he found other ways to give his team chances to win. Sneed picked up three of his assists in the second half, two of which either gave K-State the lead or tied the game. Additionally, his five second-half rebounds all came in the game's final 6:23.

"I've emphasized to him quite a bit that he's got to rebound," K-State head coach Bruce Weber said. "He has to help us with boards, and obviously with seven defensive boards, eight (total), he's athletic enough that he can do that."

Through 10 games, Sneed has proven capable of giving K-State much more than a year ago. He's increased his scoring average from 7.1 as a freshman to 11.4 this year, and he has doubled his steals production, from 0.9 to 1.8. Not to mention, Sneed's 24 assists this season have already surpassed his 22 from all of last season. He's also shooting 92 percent (23-of-25) from the free throw line.

"I think he's as improved as anybody in the league, maybe in the country," Weber said earlier this season. "He's worked at it hard. His maturity level is so much improved from a year ago. And I think he'll get better."

Weber credited Sneed's maturity as a player to two key experiences.

The first was the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament appearance last season in Sacramento, California, where Weber said Sneed returned with a different mindset. The second was his trip to Belize in August through Sports Reach.

"He came back from the NCAA trip, we all met, and before I said anything he said, 'I understand coach. I know what it's about now. I know what I have to do,'" Weber recalled. "After the Belize trip that he took in August, he started sending back text messages to the players, to the coaches, and just had a better appreciation for life and opportunity. I think that's all added up."

 

 

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.

   

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