Game Preview // K-State Faces First Road Test at UNLV Saturday

KANSAS STATE (1-0) at UNLV (1-0)
Saturday, November 9, 2019 >> 3:02 p.m. CT >> Thomas & Mack Center (17,923) >> Las Vegas, Nev.


  • Trey Bender (play-by-play)
  • Richie Schueler (analyst)

K-State Sports Network
Available on the following stations with the football overlap

  • 102.5 FM (Manhattan)
  • 94.5 FM (Topeka)
  • 980 AM (Kansas City)
  • 1550 AM (Wichita)

Online: [free] / [free]
Satellite Channel 986 [internet only]

(702) 739.FANS [3267]
Single Game: $22-$154
Kansas State: Bruce Weber (Wis.-Milwaukee ’78)
Overall: 464-244/22nd season
At K-State: 151-89/8th season
vs. UNLV: 1-1 (0-0 on the road)
UNLV: T.J. Otzelberger (Wisconsin-Whitewater ’01)
Overall: 71-33/4th season
At UNLV: 1-0/1st season
vs. Kansas State: First meeting
Kansas State (1-0)
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #2 Cartier Diarra
G/F: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #23 Montavious Murphy
F: #14 Makol Mawien
UNLV (1-0)
G: #3 Amauri Hardy
G: #10 Jonah Antonio
G: #55 Elijah Mitrou-Long
F: #7 Donnie Tillman
F: #34 Cheikh Mbacke Diong
Overall: UNLV leads 4-2
Current Streak: UNLV, 1
In Las Vegas: UNLV leads 2-1
At Thomas & Mack Center: UNLV leads 2-0
Last Meeting: L, 59-63 [12/21/2010 in Kansas City, Mo.]
Weber vs. Otzelberger: First meeting

  • Kansas State (1-0) hits the road for the first time in 2019-20 on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to take on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (1-0) at 3 p.m., CT at the Thomas & Mack Center. It is the first game of a home-and-home series with the Rebels set to visit Bramlage Coliseum in 2020-21. K-State will be making its fourth visit to Las Vegas to play UNLV and the first since a 95-80 win at the Orleans Arena on Dec. 12, 2009. It will also be the third all-time visit to the Thomas & Mack Center and the first since a 77-68 loss on Dec. 28, 1984. Overall, the Rebels own a 4-2 all-time series lead, which dates back to 1982, including a 2-1 mark at home.
  • Saturday’s contest will be the earliest non-conference road game in school history, eclipsing the previous mark of Nov. 16, which has been done twice in school history, first in 1994 (Alabama/ season opener) and lastly in 1999 (Arizona/season opener). The Wildcats went 7-5 on the road in 2018-19, including a program-best 7-2 in Big 12 play, but lost all three of their non-conference road games (at Marquette, Tulsa and Texas A&M). The last non-conference road wins came during the 2017-18 season when the Wildcats won at Vanderbilt (84-79) and at Washington State (68-65).
  • K-State opened the season with a hard-fought 67-54 win over preseason Summit League favorite North Dakota State on Tuesday night. Behind the play of junior Cartier Diarra who scored a career-high 23 points, the Wildcats used a second-half resurgence to break open a tight game. It marked the first time the school has opened a season against an NCAA Tournament opponent in nearly 20 seasons (an 88-69 loss at Arizona on Nov. 16, 1999) and the first time at home since hosting Purdue (with  then head coach and K-State alum Gene Keady and assistant coach Bruce Weber) in the first-ever game at Bramlage Coliseum on Nov. 26, 1988. 
  • Down by as many as five points in the first half, including by one (22-21) at the half, the Wildcats looked like a completely different team in the second half, more than doubling their first-half production with a 46-point second half that came on 51.6 percent (16-of-31) shooting, including 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from 3-point range. It was the most second-half points since scoring 50 points in a come-from-behind win over West Virginia at home on Jan. 9, 2019. Of Diarra’s 23-points, 15 came in the second half, while senior Makol Mawien posted the majority of his third double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds after halftime (8 points and 8 rebounds).
  • With Tuesday’s win, K-State is now 91-25 (.784) all-time in season openers dating to the first season in 1903, including a 79-9 (.898) mark at home. The Wildcats have a 26-2 (.929) record in season openers played at Bramlage Coliseum. Overall, the team is now 28-4 (.875) at Bramlage Coliseum in home openers. The win also extended its winning streak to 30 games against non-conference opponents at Bramlage Coliseum since 2015-16. Head coach Bruce Weber is now 7-1 (.875) in season openers at K-State.
  • K-State went 2-0 in exhibition play, knocking off Emporia State, 86-49, on Oct. 25 before a 66-56 win over Washburn on Oct. 30. The Wildcats have now won 26 consecutive exhibition games at Bramlage Coliseum since 2003, including 16 straight under Weber. Xavier Sneed (14.0 ppg.) was one of 4 Wildcats to average double figures in exhibition play, along with Antonio Gordon (11.0), Montavious Murphy (10.5) and Makol Mawien (10.0).


  • UNLV (1-0) returns six lettermen, including two starters (Amauri Hardy and Cheikh Mbacke Diong), from a squad that posted a 17-14 overall record and finished in a tie for fourth place in the Mountain West standings. The Runnin’ Rebels, who have a new head coach in former South Dakota State head coach T.J. Otzelberger, have 8 newcomers. Otzelberger, who also spent time at Iowa State, posted a 70-33 mark in 3 seasons at SDSU.   
  • UNLV opened the 2019-20 season with an 86-71 win over Purdue Fort Wayne on Tuesday night, as all five Runnin’ Rebel starters scored in double figures, including 17 points from Diong and junior college transfer Jonah Antonio. Diong also posted 17 rebounds. Leading by as many as 21 points, the Rebels connected on 51.9 percent from the field, including 60 percent in the first half. Utah transfer Donnie Tillman (16 points), Hardy (15) and Texas transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long  (11) also registered double figures.
  • UNLV were also impressive in its lone exhibition to start the season with a 112-54 win over West Coast Baptist College on Oct. 25. Antonio led all Rebels with 23 points, while Diong added 19 points and 8 rebounds.
  • A season ago, the Rebels averaged 73.4 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting, including 33.4 percent from 3-point range, with 38.8 rebounds, 12.9 assists, 5.9 steals and 3.7 blocks per game, while allowing opponents to average 72.3 points on 44.2 percent shooting, including 35.3 percent from long range. The team connected on 68.5 percent from the free throw line.
  • Hardy is one of 7 returning lettermen, including two starters, in 2019-20, as he averaged 13.1 points on 43.9 percent shooting, including 34.1 percent from 3-point range, to go with 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game. Diong, a native of Senegal, averaged 6.9 points on 59.1 percent shooting as a sophomore to go with 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. The team also returns senior Nick Blair (6.3 ppg., 5.3 rpg.), sophomores Bryce Hamilton (4.3 ppg., 1.6 rpg.) and Marvin Coleman (1.5 ppg., 0.3 rpg.) and junior Cheickna Dembele (1.4 ppg., 2.7 rpg.).
  • Head coach T.J. Otzelberger enters his fourth season as a head coach, including his first at UNLV, with a 71-33 overall record. He led South Dakota State to 70 wins from 2016-19, including consecutive seasons of 28 and 24 wins to go with two trips to the NCAA Tournament and one bid to the NIT. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Iowa State during two stints from 2006-13 and 2015-16 for Greg McDermott and Fred Hoiberg, including serving as associate head coach from 2010-13. The Cyclones won 23 games in each of his last three seasons with 3 NCAA Tournaments.  


  • K-State and UNLV will meet for the seventh time on Friday in a series that dates back to an 82-65 win at Ahearn Field House in Manhattan on Jan. 4, 1982. The Runnin’ Rebels won matchups at the Thomas & Mack Center on Dec. 17, 1983 (84-78) and Dec. 28, 1984 (77-68) before the two teams met in the 1987 NCAA Tournament with the Rebels winning 80-61 in Salt Lake City. The teams have split the last two meetings with the Wildcats winning 95-80 at the Orleans Arena on Dec. 12, 2009 and the Rebels winning 63-59 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Dec. 21, 2010. 
  •  This will be third-ever matchup for head coach Bruce Weber against UNLV with both coming during his stint at Illinois. Weber defeated the Rebels, 73-62, in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla., before losing 64-48 on Dec. 17, 2012 at the United Center in Chicago.
  •  K-State is 35-18 against teams from the Mountain West Conference, which includes an 8-13 mark on the road. This will be the first road trip to a MWC school since losing matchups against New Mexico (54-78) and Colorado State (83-84) during the 2006-07 season. The Wildcats did defeat CSU, 89-70, on the road on Dec. 17, 2016, but that game was played at the Pepsi Center.


  • Junior Cartier Diarra scored a career-high 23 points, including 15 in the second half, as the Wildcats used a second-half resurgence to defeat Summit League favorite North Dakota State, 67-54, in the opener for both squads on Tuesday before 8,145 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
  • Down by as many as five points in the first half, including by one at the half, the Wildcats looked like a completely different team in the second half, more than doubling their first-half production (21) with a 46-point second half that came on 51.6 percent (16-of-31) shooting, including 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from 3-point range.
  • Diarra, who posted his first career 20-point game, also tied a career-high with 6 assists (to just 1 turnover) to go with 6 rebounds in 31 minutes. Senior Makol Mawien collected his third career double-double (including in back-to-back games) with 15 points on 6-of-12 field goals and a game-high 10 rebounds, while fellow senior Xavier Sneed and junior Levi Stockard III scored 9 and 8 points, respectively.
  • NDSU, which returned 10 lettermen and 5 starters from a team that won the Summit League Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament a season ago, was held to just 54 points on 28.8 percent (15-of-52) shooting, including 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from 3-point range. K-State has now held 88 opponents to 60 points or less in the Bruce Weber era, including 19 of their last 32 opponents dating back to last season.
  • K-State stood a challenge from the veteran Bison early, trailing for nearly 11 minutes in the first half while shooting 33.3 percent (10-of-30), including 8.3 percent (1-of-12) from 3-point range. Diarra, who scored the last two field goals of the first half, picked up right from there to start the second half, scoring 7 of the team’s first 9 points that gave the Wildcats the lead for good.
  • NDSU closed to within striking distance on several occasions, including 54-48 with 7:06 remaining, before Mawien ignited a 10-2 run with a 3-point play that gave K-State a 64-50 lead with 3:47 to go. The lead eventually stood at a game-high 15 points with 50 seconds to play.
  • For the game, the Wildcats connected on 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the field, including 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from 3-point range, and hit on 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from the free throw line.


  • K-State continued its reputation as one of the top defensive teams in the country under head coach Bruce Weber in Tuesday’s win over North Dakota State, holding the Bison to 54 points on 28.8 percent (15-of-52) shooting, including 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from 3-point range.
  • K-State has now held 19 of its last 35 opponents to 60 points or less with just two eclipsing 70. The squad has held 88 opponents to 60 points or less in Bruce Weber‘s tenure, boasting an 80-8 mark in those contests.
  • K-State had one of the top defensive teams in the country in 2018-19, holding opponents to 59.6 points on 41.5 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 14.8 turnovers per game and averaging 7.5 steals per game. The Wildcats ranked among the nation’s best in a number of defensive categories, including fourth in scoring defense, 16th in turnover margin (+3.5), 36th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 43rd in total steals (256) and 48th in steals per game. The squad led the Big 12 in steals and turnover margin, while was second in scoring defense and rebounding defense (32.1) and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense.
  • The 59.6 points per game average was the lowest opponent scoring average since the introduction of the shot clock in 1985-86, surpassing the 60.4 points per game average in 2012-13, while it was the sixth-lowest all-time and the lowest since the 1982-83 team allowed 58.4 points per game. Only eight other teams (1948-49, 1949-50, 1950-51, 1961-62, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83) allowed less than 60 points per game in school history.
  • K-State has held foes to an average of 14.5 points under their average, including a 14.6 average in Big 12 play. Eleven opponents (6 Big 12 foes) were held to 20 or more points under their average, most notably Texas Tech (26.6), TCU (25.4 and 23.5), Iowa State (24.3) and OSU (21.8).
  • In Big 12 play, K-State allowed 59.6 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting, including 33.8 percent from 3-point range. It is the school’s lowest defensive scoring average in a Big 12 season and a tie for the ninth-best in a conference season and the lowest since 1961-62. The Wildcats held Big 12 opponents (Iowa State, TCU [twice], Texas Tech, Oklahoma State [twice], West Virginia, Baylor and Oklahoma) to 60 points or less on 9 occasions.
  • In the 58-45 win over No. 14/13 Texas Tech last season, the Wildcat defense had their most impressive effort, holding the Red Raiders to the fewest by a conference foe under Weber and the fewest since 2003.


  • K-State has a 106-6 (.946) record at home venues (includes home games played at Bramlage Coliseum, INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita and the Sprint Center in Kansas City) in non-conference play dating back to the 2006-07 season, including a 97-5 (.951) mark at Bramlage Coliseum.
  • The Wildcats have won 93 of their last 97 non-conference home games, including a 30-game winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum. The last home non-conference loss came against Georgia, 50-46, on Dec. 31, 2014.
  • K-State has posted a 141-36 (.796) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07 season, which includes a 10-3 (.769) mark in 2018-19. The team has posted double-digit non-conference wins in 12 of the last 13 years.
  • Since going 7-6 in non-conference in 2014-15, which included back-to-back losses to Texas Southern and Georgia, the Wildcats has won double-digit non-conference games each of the past three seasons and is 43-9 (.827) in non-conference play since the start of 2015-16 season.


  • A closer look at K-State’s current 30-game non-conference winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum, which dates to the start of the 2015-16 season. The Wildcats have won by an average of more than 17 points per game. 


  • 11/13/15 — Maryland-Eastern Shore, 80-53
  • 11/16/15 — Columbia, 81-71
  • 11/20/15 — South Dakota, 93-72
  • 11/29/15 — South Carolina State, 68-66
  • 12/9/15 — Coppin State, 83-58
  • 12/22/16 — North Dakota, 63-49
  • 12/29/16 — Saint Louis, 75-47
  • 1/30/16 — Ole Miss, 69-64 (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
  • 11/11/16 — Western Illinois, 82-55
  • 11/15/16 — Omaha, 81-68
  • 11/20/16 — Hampton, 89-67
  • 11/22/16 — Robert Morris, 61-40
  • 11/30/16 — Green Bay, 80-61
  • 12/6/16 — Prairie View A&M, 74-55
  • 12/21/16 — Gardner-Webb, 67-54
  • 11/10/17 — American, 83-45
  • 11/14/17 — UMKC, 72-51
  • 11/17/17 — UC Irvine, 71-49
  • 11/20/17 — Northern Arizona, 80-58
  • 11/29/17 — Oral Roberts, 77-68
  • 12/5/17 — USC Upstate, 86-49
  • 12/16/17 — SE Missouri State, 89-71
  • 1/27/18 — Georgia, 56-51 (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
  • 11/9/18 — Kennesaw State, 56-41
  • 11/12/18 — Denver, 64-56
  • 11/24/18 — Lehigh, 77-58
  • 12/15/18 — Georgia State, 71-59
  • 12/19/18 — Southern Miss, 55-51
  • 12/29/18 — George Mason, 59-58
  • 11/5/19 – North Dakota State, 67-54


  • K-State has posted a 379-118 (.762) all-time record at Bramlage Coliseum since its opening during the 1988-89 season. The 379 wins are the most at a home venue for the Wildcats, surpassing the 378 wins at Ahearn Field House (1950-88). It is the school’s third home venue.
  • K-State has registered a 179-38 (.824) record at home over the past 14 seasons, including a 79-33 (.705) mark in Big 12 play. The 179 wins rank fourth among all Big 12 schools in that span, while the 79 league victories at home are only surpassed by Kansas and Texas. In all, the program has earned double-digit victories in 26 of its 31 seasons in the arena, including a current streak of 18 straight seasons.
  • K-State has a 239-61 (.796) record at home, including a 139-10 (.932) mark in non-conference action, since the 2001-02 season for an average of just over 13 home wins (13.3) per season in that span.
  • Head coach Bruce Weber has tallied a 95-22 (.810) record at Bramlage Coliseum since taking over at K-State in 2012-13 with non-conference home losses to Northern Colorado (2013), Texas Southern (2014) and Georgia (2014). The 22 losses (19 of which have come in Big 12 play) have come by a grand total of 174 points or just 7.9 points per game.


  • The Wildcats return nine lettermen, including four players (Xavier Sneed, Makol Mawien, Cartier Diarra and Mike McGuirl) who registered starts, in 2019-20 from a squad that posted a 25-9 overall record a year ago and earned a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship for the second time under head coach Bruce Weber. The 25-win season was the seventh in school history, including the first time in consecutive seasons. K-State is one of just 24 schools  — 15 in power conferences — and 3 in the Big 12 (Kansas and Texas Tech) — with 25 wins in each of the last 2 seasons.
  • All-Big 12 honorable mention Xavier Sneed (10.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg.), fellow senior Makol Mawien (7.0 ppg., 4.9 rpg.) and key reserve and junior Cartier Diarra (6.8 ppg., 3.3 rpg.) form the core of a group returning for the Wildcats,  who must replace their top three scorers in Barry Brown, Jr. (14.6 ppg.), Dean Wade (12.9 ppg.) and Kamau Stokes (11.0 ppg.). All three have played pivotal roles with the consecutive 25-win seasons, including 71 and 70 starts, respectively, by Mawien and Sneed and major minutes by Diarra.
  • Sneed is the team’s top returner in nearly every stat category, including scoring (349), rebounding (182), assists (64), steals (45) and minutes (1014). He enters his senior season ranking 29th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,008 points having seen action in 105 career games with starts in 70 of the last 71 games. Mawien, who has started every game of his K-State career, has the fifth-highest career field goal percentage (56.1; 204-of-364) in school history after posting the sixth-highest (59.8; 104-of-174) field goal percentage in a single season as a junior in 2017-18. Diarra scored in double figures in four consecutive games, including three in Big 12 play, before missing eight games due to a broken finger. He did come back to play in the last three games with Wade out for the season, including a 15-point effort against Iowa State in the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and a 9-point effort in the NCAA Tournament.
  • The Wildcats also return rising senior Pierson McAtee (0.5 ppg., 0.5 rpg.), juniors Mike McGuirl (3.6 ppg., 1.5 rpg.), Levi Stockard III (1.8 ppg., 1.5 rpg.) and James Love III (0.3 ppg., 0.4 rpg.), sophomores Nigel Shadd (0.2 ppg., 0.4 rpg.) and Shaun Williams [was Neal-Williams] (1.4 ppg., 1.1 rpg.).


  • The Wildcats will welcome five newcomers in 2019-20, including a pair of junior college transfers (David Sloan and Joe Petrakis) and three true freshmen (Antonio Gordon, DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy). 
  • Sloan was regarded as one of the top community colleges players in the country (and a Top 150 player out of high school) in 2018-19 after helping John A. Logan College to a 27-5 overall record as a sophomore. The NJCAA All-American twice led the NJCAA ranks in both total assists and assists per game, including 10.2 assists per game a year ago.
  • The freshmen were all consensus Top 200 prospects, as the recruiting class was a consensus Top 40 class nationally by a number of recruiting services, ranking No. 39 by and No. 40 by DaJuan Gordon was a consensus Top 150 player by both recruiting services.
  • Antonio Gordon scored nearly 1,600 points in his high school career at Eisenhower High School in Lawton, Okla., and averaged 26.3 points and 10.1 rebounds as a senior in 2018-19. DaJuan Gordon was the Chicago Sun-Times City Player of the Year after averaging 17.6 points in leading Curie to the school’s first city title. Murphy was one of the best players in Houston and a finalist for the Guy V. Lewis Award, averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds as a senior at Concordia Lutheran.


  • K-State was picked to finish ninth by the league coaches in the annual Big 12 Preseason poll released on Oct. 17, as the Wildcats received 23 points. Kansas was selected first for the ninth consecutive season, while Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas and West Virginia rounded out the Top 5.
  • The ninth-place selection tied for the lowest by a K-State team in the history of the 10-team poll, joining the 2016-17 team which was also picked to finish ninth by the league coaches. The team has been picked to finish eighth or worse 13 times in the history of the 24-year poll, including eighth in 2001-02, 2003-04, 2008-09, 2015-16 and 2017-18, ninth in 1996-97, 2004-05, 10th in 1999-2000, 11th in 2002-03 and 2005-06 and 12th in 1997-98 and 2000-01.
  • Senior Xavier Sneed was one of eight players to be selected to the honorable mention All-Big 12 preseason team, along with Oklahoma’s Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma State’s Yor Anei, Texas’ Matt Coleman, Texas Tech’s Chris Clarke, Davide Moretti and Jahmi’us Ramey and West Virginia’s Derek Culver.
  • Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson, along with Baylor’s Tristan Clark, Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton and TCU’s Desmond Bane were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team. Azubuike was the Preseason Player of the Year, while Chris Clarke was the Preseason Newcomer of the Year and West Virginia’s Oscar Tshiebwe was the Preseason Freshman of the Year.


  • Senior Xavier Sneed was named one of 20 watch list members for the 2020 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award, as announced by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Oct. 16.
  • Sneed was one of two Big 12 players named to the watch list, including Texas Tech transfer Chris Clarke. Other candidates include Arizona’s Josh Green, Duke’s Matthew Hurt, Florida’s Scottie Lewis, Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, Harvard’s Seth Towns, Kentucky’s Kahlil Whitney, Louisville’s Jordan Nwora, Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa, Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle, Providence’s Alpha Diallo, Purdue’s Nojel Eastern, St. John’s L.J. Figueroa, Syracuse’s Elijah Hughes, Vermont’s Anthony Lamb, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Washington’s Jaden McDaniels, Washington State’s C.J. Elleby and Xavier’s Naji Marshall.
  • Wade is the first K-State player to be a preseason candidate for the Wooden Award since Rodney McGruder in 2012. Jacob Pullen, who was a preseason candidate in 2010, was the last Wildcat to earn recognition to the Wooden All-American team, while Michael Beasley (2008) was the last finalist.
  • The 20-member watch list for the Erving Award will be narrowed to just 10 by mid-February. In March, five finalists will be presented to Julius Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on April 10, 2020.


  • K-State returns home to Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday, Nov. 13 when the Wildcats play host to Monmouth (1-0) at 7 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the schools since a 73-64 win by K-State on Dec. 29, 2002.
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Source: Kansas State Sports