FORT WORTH, Texas – Senior Barry Brown, Jr., paced four Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 16 points, as No. 18/17 Kansas State wrapped up its Big 12 road schedule with a 64-52 win over TCU before 6,258 fans at Schollmaier Arena on Monday night.
With the win, K-State (23-7, 13-4) remained in a first-place tie with No. 8/8 Texas Tech (25-5, 13-4 Big 12), which defeated Texas, 70-51, also on Monday with one regular season game to go on Saturday. The Wildcats also claimed their seventh Big 12 road win of the season, which is the most road wins in conference play since the 1958-59 team posted a perfect 7-0 road record in Big Eight play.
Joining Brown in double figures were fellow senior Kamau Stokes (15) and juniors Xavier Sneed (11) and Makol Mawien (10), while senior Dean Wade nearly made it five starters in double figures with 9 points. The starters were responsible for 61 of the 64 points to go with 25 of the 29 rebounds and 13 of the 15 assists.
K-State is now 12-1 this season when four or more players score in double figures.
K-State led for more than 35 minutes of Monday’s game with the lead changing just twice. Tied 23-all with just under 5 minutes to play in the first half, the Wildcats took the lead for good with a 13-4 run, keyed by a pair of 3-pointers by Stokes, to take a 36-27 lead into the half.
The hot shooting continued to start the second half, as K-State rattled off 10 consecutive points before TCU could even register a field goal to take a 46-27 advantage with 16:11 to play. The lead ballooned to 21 points on a dunk by Sneed just a few minutes later before the Horned Frogs used a 10-0 run to close the gap to 51-40 with 12:46 remaining. Mawien was able to answer with a 15-footer to extend the lead back to 13 just 30 seconds later.
TCU (18-12, 6-11 Big 12) made one last run, closing to 57-50 on a pair of free throws by junior Desmond Bane with 6 to play. However, Stokes was fouled on a 3-pointer just a few minutes later and converted on all 3 free throw attempts to push the lead back to double figures at 60-50, where it remained the rest of the game.
The Wildcats connected on 46.9 percent (23-of-49) from the field, including 31.3 (5-of-16) from 3-point range, and knocked down a season-high 92.9 percent (13-of-14) from the free throw line. The Horned Frogs, which were held to their season low in points for the second time this season by the Wildcats, hit on 41.7 percent (20-of-48) of their field goals, including 31.3 percent (5-of-16) from the beyond the arc.
TCU was led by a pair of redshirt freshmen, as Kevin Samuel scored a game-high 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go with a game-best 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 31 minutes, while R.J. Nembhard had 12 points off the bench on 3-of-7 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws.
All four of the Horned Frogs double-digit scorers (Kouat Noi, Desmond Bane, Alex Robinson and J.D. Miller) were held to a combined 16 points on 26.1 percent (6-of-23) shooting.
Brown and Stokes both earned milestones in the victory, as Brown tied the school record for games played with his 135th appearance, tying the mark set by Jacob Pullen (2007-11) and Rodney McGruder (2009-13), while Stokes became just the third Wildcat to eclipse 400 career assists with his 2 dimes on the night.
HOW IT HAPPENED
TCU scored on its first 3 possessions to take an early 7-4 lead, but K-State settled down on both ends of the court to run off an 8-0 to take a 12-7 edge after a pair of free throws by junior Xavier Sneed at the 12:58 mark. After the Horned Frogs to closed it to one possession at 14-11, the Wildcats scored 4 straight to push their advantage to 18-11 on a 3-pointer by senior Dean Wade and force a timeout with 9:27 remaining.
Senior Kamau Stokes collected his 400th career assist on a nice feed to senior Barry Brown, Jr., to push the advantage to 20-13 with 6:53 before halftime, but TCU responded with a 10-3 run to tie the game at 23-all on a 3-pointer from junior Desmond Bane with 4:37 before halftime.
Sophomore Mike McGuirl converted on a 3-point play on the next possession to ignite a 13-4 run to end the half, as the Wildcats took a 36-27 lead into halftime. Stokes had a pair of 3-pointers during the run, including a triple right before the shot clock expired with just 2 seconds left.
K-State connected on 42.9 percent (12-of-28) from the field, including 40 percent (4-of-10) from 3-point range, in the first half, while TCU shot 40.7 percent (11-of-27), including 22.2 percent (2-of-9) from long range. Six different Wildcats scored in first half, including a team-high 9 points by Stokes and Wade.
K-State opened the second half with 6 straight points capped by a Brown jumper to push the lead to 42-27 and force TCU head coach Jamie Dixon to call a timeout at the 17:25 mark. The break didn’t break the Wildcats’ rhythm, as Brown scored on the next 2 possession to get the lead to 46-27.
The Horned Frogs finally scored on a 3-pointer at the 15:44 mark, but the Wildcats answered with a Stokes’ triple and a dunk by Sneed to take a 51-30 advantage into the first media timeout with 14:49 remaining.
TCU rallied out of the timeout using a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 51-40 and force head coach Bruce Weber to call his own timeout with 12:44 to play. The Wildcats responded with a 15-footer from junior Makol Mawien to get the lead to 53-40 at the second media timeout.
The Horned Frogs scored buckets on 3 of the next 4 possessions to close the gap to 55-46 at the third media timeout with 7:36 remaining. After TCU got to within 57-50, Stokes was fouled on a 3-pointer and knocked down all 3 free throws to push the lead back to double figures at 60-50 with 4:52 to play.
The lead remained double digits the rest of the way, as Brown closed out the scoring with a pair of free throws with 2:17 to play.
K-State connected on 52.4 percent (23-of-49) in the second half, including 54.6 percent (18-of-33) inside the arc, while TCU hit on 42.9 percent (9-of-21) from the field. Brown led all scorers with 12 points after halftime.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Barry Brown, Jr. – Senior Barry Brown, Jr., broke out of a mini-slump with a team-high 16 points, including a team-high 12 in the second half, to pace four Wildcats in double figures. He connected on 7-of-15 field goals and 2-of-2 from free throw line to register his team-leading 25th double-digit scoring game.
STAT OF THE GAME
23-4 – K-State used a 23-4 combined run over a 9-minute span between the first and second halves to turn a tie game into a double-digit lead. The Wildcats had a 13-4 run over the last 4:14 of the first half then started the second half on a 10-0 run to push the lead to 46-27 with 16:11 to play.