MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Dean Wade knew Kansas State was in need of a spark, and he took it upon himself to provide it.
Wade scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, Barry Brown added 16 and No. 12 Kansas State beat Lehigh 77-58 on Saturday.
“The first half we weren’t playing with any emotion or energy so my main focus was to do that,” Wade said. “I just wanted to be aggressive, but smart.”
The Wildcats (6-0) controlled the second half after the Mountain Hawks hung around and trailed by two at halftime.
“I think we wore them down as the game went on,” coach Bruce Weber said. “I told our guys these guys are pretty good and I didn’t think we played very good defense in the first half.”
Kamau Stokes scored 10 points, including two first-half 3-pointers, but the Wildcats continued to struggle with their long-distance shooting at home, making 6 of 20 3-point attempts.
James Karnik had 15 points and eight rebounds for Lehigh (4-2), and Pat Andree scored 12. Lehigh compiled 16 turnovers and made just nine field goals in the second half, shooting 28 percent. Lehigh shot 54 percent in the first half.
The Wildcats scored 18 points off Lehigh’s turnovers.
“Our defense is always something we take pride in,” Brown said. “We just focused on getting stops every time and we were able to get some easy baskets off those.”
Brown converted a three-point play to give K-State a 50-40 lead with 14 minutes remaining. That was part of a 12-5 run by the Wildcats that gave them a 57-45 lead.
Kansas State led 37-35 at halftime as neither team build a lead larger than five in the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats struggled against the Mountain Hawks’ matchup zone.
“We don’t see that very often and it’s even a hard thing to practice,” Weber said. “We needed to move the basketball and look inside and keep it going. They got us a little stagnant at times, but once we settled down we were able to find some things.”
Kansas State is off to its best start since 2004-05, when it won its first eight games. The Wildcats face Marquette next Saturday in their first road game of the season.
“This is a chance to take a big step as a team, but Marquette is a very good team,” Weber said. “They beat Louisville and played Kansas well, so it’s going to be a tough test.”
Brown recorded the 200th steal of his career and is now second in Kansas State history behind Jacob Pullen, who had 210 from 2007-11.
The Wildcats have struggled with all three nonconference opponents this year, but have managed to win all three with big runs in the second half. They will need to come out with more urgency when Big 12 play begins.
Lehigh had an impressive start to the season with wins over Siena and Princeton, but couldn’t get over the hump against Power Five schools K-State and Miami.
Lehigh hosts Arkansas State on Dec. 1.
Kansas State will take on arguably its toughest test of the season thus far when it travels to Marquette on Dec. 1.
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