MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State used a complete team effort, including a team-high 25 points from junior forward Dean Wade, to secure its 10th victory in conference play and 21st win overall in defeating Baylor, 77-67, in front of 10,299 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
K-State (21-10, 10-8 Big 12) won double-digit games in Big 12 play for the first time since the 2013-14 season, as the victory over Baylor (18-13, 8-10 Big 12) secured sole possession of fourth place in the league standings and the No. 4 seed at next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. For a Wildcat squad picked eighth in the preseason, it was the highest league finish since sharing the Big 12 title in 2012-13.
The Wildcats were efficient on offense, connecting on 52 percent (26-of-50) from the field, including 50 percent or better in each half, and recorded 19 assists on 26 made field goals while turning the ball over just 10 times. It marked the 15th time this season that the team has connected on 50 percent or better from the field, which is the highest mark since doing it in 19 such games in 1987-88.
Wade paced three Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go with a game-tying 7 rebounds, while fellow junior Barry Brown, Jr., scored 18 points on 6-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, to go with a career-tying 9 assists, 4 rebounds and a game-high 3 steals. Sophomore forward Makol Mawien added 14 points on 5-of-7 field goals and 4-of-4 from the free throw line, as the team is a perfect 7-0 this season when he scores in double figures.
Brown and Wade each achieved milestones in the game, surpassing the 500-point mark to become the 30th and 31st players in school history to do so in a single season. They also became just the seventh duo to score 500 or more points in the same season and the first since Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente in 2009-10.
Baylor was led by senior forward Nuni Omot, who scored a career-high 30 points off the bench on 8-of-11 shooting, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
Saturday also marked the final game for walk-ons Mason Schoen and Kade Kinnamon, who each entered the game in the waning minutes for the final time at Bramlage Coliseum.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Wildcats got the scoring started from beyond the arc, as Brown found redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra open for a three to open the scoring. Minutes later, Brown would dish out an assist for another 3-pointer, as Wade connected on a trey to give K-State an 8-6 lead just three and a half minutes into the contest.
Following the early scoring from beyond the 3-point line, the Wildcats went inside to sophomore forward Makol Mawien, who was able to score six straight in the paint to give K-State an early 14-11 lead at the 13:38 mark.
Wade was able to reach the 500-point milestone first on a steal and dunk in transition that gave the Wildcats an 18-15 lead with 10:37 remaining. Minutes later, Brown would also reach the 500-point milestone, scoring on a layup in transition. Wade and Brown became the first duo since 2009-10 when Jacob Pullen (715) and Denis Clemente (613) each scored 500 points in the same season.
Nearing the end of the first half, Brown and Wade continued to show their dynamic scoring ability, as duo helped lead the transition game. With 3:01 remaining, Brown found Wade on a fast break, who finished with a dunk over the Baylor defender to bring the score to 30-23. Wade went on to lead all scorers at the half with 17 points on 7-of-11 from the field, including a last-second buzzer beater, while Brown tallied 6 assists in the first half.
The first half featured a tightly-contested matchup, as the teams saw the lead change a total of nine times. Despite the lead changes, K-State managed to hold the lead for 16:12 of the first half, while pulling away just before the break with an advantage of 35-25 at halftime.
As a team, the Wildcats shot 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from the field, while forcing the Bears into 10 turnovers, which resulted in 14 points off the turnovers.
In the second half, K-State went back to the 3-point line, as the Wildcats scored six of their first 10 points from beyond the arc. Brown continued to find the open shooter after his 6 assists in the first half, as he found Diarra open for a three to bring the lead to 45-35 with 15:09 remaining. With 12:09 remaining in the game, K-State grabbed a 13-point lead on a basket in transition, as junior guard Kamau Stokes found sophomore guard Amaad Wainright for a dunk. The Wildcats dunked four times in the game.
Trailing 60-44, the Bears were able to claw their way back into the game behind an 8-0 run in just 1:02 of play. The run came from senior Nuni Omot, who scored all eight points during the span to close the gap to 60-52 with 8:04 remaining. Omot ended with a career-high and team-leading 30 points.
After a layup by junior guard Jake Lindsey close it to 60-54 with 7:29 to play, Brown found Mawien cutting to the hoop for an alley-oop. On the next offensive possession, Brown connected on a 3-pointer from the corner to bring the lead to 65-57 with 6:02 remaining.
In the final minutes of play, K-State was able to hold the advantage. Baylor was able to score only two field goals in the last six minutes, while six different Wildcats combined to go 10-of-12 from the free throw line in the last 4:36.
The Wildcats earned their 10th conference victory of the season behind an efficient shooting effort from the field, shooting 52 percent (26-of-50) from the field and 79.2 percent (19-of-24) from the free throw line. Wade was one of three players in double figures with a team-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting, while Brown and Mawien also reached double-digits with 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Defensively, K-State held Baylor to 44.8 percent (22-of-49) shooting from the field and scored 20 points off of 14 turnovers. Brown led the Wildcats with a game-high 3 steals.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Dean Wade – Wade totaled 25 points in the game, including 17 in the first half, to reach his 11th 20-point game this season and his 15th of his career. His 17 points in the first half were the second most of any Wildcat this season, as he scored 18 against Iowa State earlier this year. He finished Big 12 play scoring in double figures in all 18 conference games.
STAT OF THE GAME
500+ – Juniors Dean Wade and Barry Brown, Jr., both surpassed 500 points this season on Saturday, as the duo became just the seventh tandem in school history and the first since 2009-10 to accomplish such a feat. Wade concluded the contest with 517 points, while Brown finished the game with 516 points this season.