K-State in Par­adise Jam, beats Eastern Ken­tucky

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Sports - BY KELLIS ROBINETT

The Kansas State Wild­cats de­feated the Eastern Ken­tucky Colonels 95-68 on Fri­day in the open­ing round of the Par­adise Jam in the Vir­gin Is­lands.

Xavier Sneed led K-State with 16 points, while Cartier Diarra and Dean Wade each added 14. The Wild­cats im­proved to 3-0. They will next play Penn in the tour­na­ment semi­fi­nals on Sun­day.

Here are some thoughts on the bas­ket­ball game:

This was K-State’s finest ef­fort of the sea­son

The Wild­cats be­gan the sea­son with a pair of lack­lus­ter vic­to­ries over Ken­ne­saw State and Den­ver that left some won­der­ing if they were wor­thy of their pre­sea­son No. 12 rank­ing. But there were no neg­a­tive take­aways from this one.

K-State dom­i­nated Eastern Ken­tucky. So much so, that Wild­cats coach Bruce We­ber was able to empty his bench near the end of the blowout vic­tory.

It was an ideal start to the tour­na­ment.

We­ber’s team ar­rived in the Vir­gin Is­lands as the Par­adise Jam fa­vorite and played like it on Fri­day.

The Wild­cats led for all but a few early min­utes and pulled away in the sec­ond half.

“We kind of broke their spirit,” We­ber told FloHoops af­ter the game. “We talked about that at the start of the sec­ond half.”

Wel­come back Cartier Diarra

The sopho­more guard was a no-show in K-State’s first two games, scor­ing a to­tal of four points on 2 of 11 of shoot­ing.

He fi­nally got go­ing against Eastern Ken­tucky.

Diarra had a nice al­laround game that fea­tured 14 points, four as­sists and three re­bounds. He shot the ball well, drain­ing 6 of 11 shots, and made some ac­ro­batic layups. His big­gest high­light came on a left-handed layup he made in traf­fic while fall­ing away from the bas­ket in the sec­ond half.

K-State fans saw what Diarra was ca­pa­ble of last sea­son when he briefly took over for an in­jured Ka­mau Stokes in the start­ing lineup. But Diarra has mostly been quiet since.

That changed with an ex­plo­sive game in the Vir­gin Is­lands.

“Cartier Diarra has been a lit­tle ten­ta­tive,” We­ber said. “I didn’t start him. Maybe I messed with his mind a lit­tle bit. He got go­ing in the sec­ond half.”

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