Playing road games in the Big 12 Conference is supposed to be a difficult task, but the K-State men’s basketball team accomplished something Saturday in Ames, Iowa that hasn’t been done at K-State in almost 30 years.
The Wildcats defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 50-46 to give them their fourth consecutive road win — the first time it has been done at K-State since 1979.
K-State (19-8, 7-5 Big 12 Conference) opened the game scoring the first four points, which Iowa State then countered by scoring the next eight points.
With a score of 8-4, Iowa State’s sophomore forward Craig Brackins decided to take the game over, scoring the Cyclones’ next 16 straight points. K-State struggled to keep up, shooting just 26.7 percent from the field in the first half.
But K-State’s Buchi Awaji hit a big 3-pointer from the corner with three seconds remaining in the first half to pull the Wildcats within four points of the Cyclones at 24-19.
“We just didn’t make any shots,” head coach Frank Martin said. “We survived their surge and are still in the game.”
Brackins opened the second half with a two-point jumper, but it would be the only shot he would make the rest of the game. He shot just 1-9 from the field in the second half but ended with a game-high 24 points.
K-State was able to keep the score close throughout the rest of the game; they never trailed the Cyclones by more than five points and were finally able to take the lead at 36-35 with 8:37 left in the game on a Denis Clemente 3-pointer.
Clemente hit another 3-pointer with 1:19 left in the game to give K-State its largest lead at 49-43, but Iowa State’s Lucca Staiger answered with a 3-pointer of his own.
Then K-State’s Dominique Sutton made a free throw on the Wildcats’ next possession to seal the victory.
“We were solid defensively in the second half,” Martin said. “And we were finally able to hit some shots.”
Jamar Samuels led the way for the Wildcats with his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Awaji finished the game with seven points off the bench.
Sophomore guard Diante Garrett added nine points for the Cyclones.
K-State returns to the court at 8 p.m. Wednesday night against the No. 10 ranked Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Mo.