MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State used a stellar defensive effort and a game-high 20 points from junior forward Dean Wade to grind out a 56-51 win over Georgia in the fifth annual Big 12/SEC Challenge in front of 10,314 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
K-State (16-5, 5-3 Big 12) has now won five of its last six games, including four in a row. The Wildcats, which finished non-conference play with an 11-2 record, extended their home non-conference winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum to 23 games and moved to 3-2 all-time in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The reigning Citizen Naismith Trophy National Player of the Week and Phillips Big 12 Player of the Week, Wade led all scorers with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-17 from the field and a game-tying 8 rebounds. Wade has now notched 20 or more points in five consecutive games and has seven 20-point outings this season. Redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra added 12 points and led the Wildcats with 5 assists in his sixth career start.
K-State held Georgia (12-8, 3-5 SEC) to their lowest scoring effort of the season (51 points), while holding them to just 37.0 percent (20-of-54) from the field, including 11.1 percent (2-of-18) from beyond the arc in the game. The Wildcats have now held 17 opponents this season to under their scoring average.
SEC’s leading scorer – Yante Maten – led the Bulldogs with 14 points, while fellow senior Juwan Parker added 11.
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a back-and-forth affair in the opening minutes of play, as Georgia jumped out to a 4-0 lead before sophomore forward Xavier Sneed tied it up on one possession. Sneed connected on a four-point play after being fouled from beyond the arc to tie it at 4-4.
Wade, the junior for St. John, Kan., had a hot hand for the Wildcats early, scoring five straight points, including a 3-pointer to bring the score to 9-8 at the 16:02 mark in the first half. Defensively, sophomore forward Makol Mawien had a significant impact in the paint for K-State, racking up two blocks in the first five minutes of play. Mawien added 4 points in the first half.
After a cold-spell in the first half that spanned nearly three minutes, Sneed got the scoring started again for the Wildcats by hitting a 3-pointer in the corner to bring the score to 20-19 with 5:25 remaining in the first half.
Just before halftime, the K-State defense forced Georgia into a slump of its own, where the Bulldogs connected on only 2-of-9 over the last five minutes of play. The defensive effort helped the Wildcats go into halftime with a 26-23 lead, as Wade led the way with 9 points.
In the first half, K-State shot 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from the field, while holding Georgia to 37 percent (10-of-27). Juwan Parker led the Bulldogs at the half with 7 points.
Out of the break, Georgia jumped out to a 30-26 lead, before Diarra found Wade streaking to the hoop on an alley-oop. The two teams would continue to battle, as neither could pull away, with the largest margin of victory of six being held by the Bulldogs at the 16:29 mark in the second half.
Trailing by six, Diarra brought the Wildcats back into it by driving the lane and forcing contact from the Bulldog defenders. With 6:47 left to play, Diarra converted an and-one to bring the score to 47-44. Just minutes later, he would do it again to knot it up at 49-49 with 5:21 remaining.
On a 6-0 run and leading by one, Wade scored on a contested jumper to bring the score to 52-49. On the subsequent defensive possession, the K-State defense forced Georgia into a turnover, as the Bulldogs were held scoreless from the 6:30 mark into the last minutes of play.
The deciding scores came with under a minute remaining, as Wade hit a hook shot in the lane with 58 seconds remaining to bring the score to 54-49. Brown would make both of his free throws at the stripe to close out the scoring at 56-51.
K-State survived behind the scoring efforts of Wade, who led the game with 20 points and Diarra who had 12 in the game. The Wildcats shot 38.3 percent (18-of-47), while holding Georgia to a season-low 51 points and 37 percent (20-of-54) from the field.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Dean Wade – Wade scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-17 from the field and 8 rebounds, in what was his fifth consecutive 20+ point game and the seventh this season. The junior led the Wildcats down the stretch, connecting on several influential shots in the final minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME
51 – K-State held Georgia to a season-low in scoring on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats allowed only 51 points on 37 percent shooting (20-of-54) from the Bulldogs. The team has now held 65 opponents to 60 points or less under head coach Bruce Weber’s direction with the squad boasting a 58-7 record in those contests.