ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Xavier Sneed scored 16 points to lead five Kansas State players in double figures, and the Wildcats led by as many as 31 points in the second half in their 95-68 win over Eastern Kentucky at the Paradise Jam on Friday night.
Dean Wade and Cartier Diarra added 14 points each, and Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown Jr. had 10 points apiece for the 12th-ranked Wildcats (3-0).
“Our guys have prepared well, but I don’t think they realize how their opponents are preparing for us,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “Those guys, they know if they beat us, they’re going on ESPN because we’re a Top-15 team. So they’re going to come at us with some emotion.
“At times, we got some good reads and made some easy layups; other times, we forced the issue. The second half, we were much better. We got some steals and some easy layups, and started to break their spirit.”
Dujuanta Weaver scored 12 points and Nick Mayo added 11 points for Eastern Kentucky (2-2), whose only lead came when Kelvin Robinson’s jumper 19 seconds in made it 2-0.
But Kansas State went on a 13-5 run over the next six minutes before taking a 37-28 lead into halftime.
James Love’s hook shot made it 93-62 with 1:46 to play.
“We drew the toughest team, with a Hall of Fame coach coming off an Elite Eight appearance,” Colonels coach A.W. Hamilton said. “We fought like crazy, we tested them and made them work. But that’s the No. 12 team in the country, and we’re building right now. We battled like crazy. We had some chances to take the lead early, and we just couldn’t get it to go in.”
There’s not much that bothers Penn’s men’s basketball team — and certainly not something like a missed flight.
The Quakers quickly shook off the team’s travel woes to beat Northern Iowa 78-71.
Devon Goodman scored a career-high 27 points and three other players finished in double figures as Penn (4-0) rallied in the second half to advance into Sunday’s semifinal games at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Sports and Fitness Center.
“It’s just not that big a deal, it’s overrated,” said Quakers coach Steve Donahue. “The only way it bothers you is if you let it.
“I’m glad everyone got here safely, but there’s a lot of other things that I need to worry about as a coach. We just came out excited to play basketball.”
Penn’s travel adventure began at 4 a.m. Thursday, when the team boarded a bus to Philadelphia International Airport for a 6 a.m. American Airlines flight to Miami.
However, only two members of the traveling party — Donahue and one of the team’s radio broadcast crew — made the flight after the rest of the team encountered problems at the ticket counter.
The Quakers’ starters and key reserves were rebooked onto American flights going through Miami and Charlotte, North Carolina, and on to St. Thomas. Those players arrived Thursday afternoon in time for a walkthrough practice.
The rest of the Penn’s traveling crew — walk-on reserves, managers, assistant coaches and other personnel — were booked on a JetBlue flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with connections (after long layovers) to San Juan and, finally, St. Thomas.
That group didn’t arrive on St. Thomas until 8 a.m. Friday — 28 hours after boarding that bus to the Philly airport.
“And we went straight to practice,” said guard Ray Jerome, one of the 16 in the final group. “I couldn’t feel my legs. We just stayed positive the whole time. We knew we were going to get there; the question was when.”
Down 41-34 with 18:49 left, Penn fought back to tie the score twice before pulling ahead for good at 58-56 on Bryce Washington’s 3-pointer with 8:56 remaining. The Quakers would go on to extend their lead to seven points three times in the final 2 minutes.
Washington and Antonio Woods finished with 12 points each, and AJ Brodeur had 11 points for Penn.
AJ Green scored 21 points, and Wyatt Lohaus and Luke McDonnell added 11 points each for the Panthers (1-2), who will play in the consolation round Saturday.
OREGON STATE 61, OLD DOMINION 56
Gligorije Rakocevic scored 15 points, including a pair of key baskets down the stretch, and the Beavers (3-0) rallied in the second half to beat the Monarchs (1-2).
Tres Tinkle had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Stephen Thompson Jr. scored a game-high 17 points for Oregon State.
B.J. Stith scored 15 points, Ahmad Caver added 12 and Justice Kithcart had 10 points for Old Dominion.
MISSOURI 55, KENNESAW STATE 52
Kevin Puryear scored 17 points and Jeremiah Tilmon had 12 points, and the Tigers (2-1) pulled ahead in the final two minutes to beat the Owls (1-3).
Tyler Hooker and Kosta Jankovic finished with 13 points each, and Kyle Clarke added 10 points for Kennesaw State.
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