It was all fun and games on Wednesday night inside Bramlage Colisuem on Senior Night as the K-State Wildcats defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 79-54.
But it generally is fun when you shoot 57 percent from the field and win by 25 points.
“It was good for all of us to enjoy this one since we’ve played in so many close games this year,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said. “We played the game the right way, and hopefully this springboards us into some more good things.”
Wildcat senior guards Justin Edwards and Brian Rohleder along with senior forward Stephen Hurt played their final game inside the Octagon of Doom, and it was one they will remember for a while.
“It was a lot of fun and I think this took some pressure off us,” Edwards said. “We’ve been working hard and I feel like it paid off for us.”
Weber said he knows Senior Night is a fun game for the seniors, especially when they win in the fashion they did.
“It was a great night for our seniors, and all these guys will be missed,” Weber said. “We had a nice night, and we said this was a big game and we played like it. This was their night and I’m happy for them.”
Weber said Monday was the Wildcats’ best practice of the season.
“Tuesday was pretty good too, and I felt like our guys would be ready,” Weber said. “They practiced well and played at a high level tonight.”
The Wildcats did not start the game how they wanted to, however. They had four turnovers on their first four possessions, and the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead. After that, though, K-State scored the next 12 points to lead 12-4 and could do almost no wrong.
It took over nine minutes for the Wildcats to miss their first shot after making their first nine.
By this point, K-State was ahead 22-14 and the hot shooting didn’t stop there.
The Wildcats used a 16-9 run, which featured 3-pointers from freshman guard Barry Brown and junior guard Carlbe Ervin II, to give K-State a 38-23 lead.
Brown had three 3-pointers in the first half, and the Wildcats went 6-9 from behind the arc.
Junior forward Wesley Iwundu had 9 points and seven assists in the first half.
The half ended fittingly on Senior Night as Rohleder made a basket at the buzzer, which helped the Wildcats go 16-21, or 76 percent, from the field. They led by 19 going into the break. After the game, Rohleder was quick to give the praise to his teammates instead of taking it for himself.
“I was just thinking, ‘The clock is running out and I need to score the ball,’” Rohleder said. “It wouldn’t have even happened without Austin diving on the floor and Wes passing it to me. It’s something I will never forget.”
Eight of the nine players who stepped foot on the court in the first half had at least 2 points.
The Horned Frogs only made one of their first 10 shots to start the second half, and they scored just 7 points in the first eight minutes.
The Wildcats hit a lull shooting, at least compared to the first half, as they missed 5 of 6 shots from the field with 11 minutes left in the half; however, they still held a 58-35 lead at the under-12-minute break.
“We didn’t start the second half great, but we were fortunate they missed some dunks and layups,” Weber said.
The Wildcats found their groove again behind Brown, who stuck two more 3-pointers in the second half.
K-State held the Horned Frogs to just 19 points through the final 12 minutes of play, with 12 of those points coming in the final two and a half minutes.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 31 late in the game but ended up winning by 25 points in their final game inside Bramlage Coliseum this season.
“We did a great job on the defensive end to a team that had been shooting the ball well,” Weber said. “I told our team to play at a magical level and they did.”
Brown led the way for the Wildcats with 15 points, Edwards had 12, Iwundu finished with 11 and freshman forward Dean Wade provided 10.
“We made shots tonight and had very smart basketball plays, which we didn’t do on Saturday against Iowa State,” Weber said.
The last time K-State walked off the court a winner was on Feb. 16 when they beat TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. The Horned Frogs have not won a Big 12 game on the road since January of 2015 when they beat Texas Tech.
The Wildcats improve to 16-14 overall and 5-12 in Big 12 play, while TCU is 11-19 overall and 2-15 in the conference.
The Wildcats will end the regular season portion of their schedule on Saturday when they travel to Lubbock, Texas, to take on Texas Tech at 2 p.m. After that, K-State will take on Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday.
“Tech didn’t play very well against West Virginia and their seniors will be ready to go,” Weber said. “I hope we can get over the hump with the tournament coming up.”