As the Kansas State men’s basketball team traveled down to Stillwater, Oklahoma, the players came prepared to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys for the second time this season.
In January K-State hosted Oklahoma State at home in Bramlage Coliseum where the Wildcats won, 86-82.
The Wildcats aimed to keep that consistent during Wednesday’s matchup in Gallagher-Iba Arena, and they did. The Wildcats won 82-72.
After the first half, K-State led Oklahoma State 37-20. Although K-State had no offensive rebounds in this half, the team effectively blocked Oklahoma State from making any progress to the glass.
The Wildcats ended the first half balanced. Sophomore Xavier Sneed led the Wildcats with eight points and four rebounds, followed by freshman Levi Stockard with six points and five rebounds.
As the roster went on, juniors Amaad Wainright, Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes came in with five points. Cartier Diarra and Dean Wade also had four. It showed something that head coach Bruce Weber had been wanting for quite some time now: balance.
The Cowboys were ice cold in the first half. Within their 20 points, 13 came from second chance opportunities. With a stifling Wildcat offense, the Cowboys backed down in the first half.
To roll in the second half, Wade sunk a three-point basket within the first minute of play, setting the tone for K-State. Oklahoma State was still presenting a weak defense.
Stokes, who is still battling a broken foot, came in and got his first three-pointer since Dec. 29 at Iowa State. Stokes ended the game with 11 points, being one of the four Wildcats in double digits.
When it came to transitioning from the Texas Tech loss to coming into this game, Stokes said the Wildcats were able to move forward from the loss.
“We let that game go after the fact,” Stokes said. “We came to this game knowing we had to take care of business.”
Three more Wildcats ended in double digits tonight, including Brown with 25 points, Wade with 12 and Sneed with 13.
Brown, the leading scorer of tonight’s game, said that he was most proud of the K-State defense tonight.
“I think it was the defense I was most proud of. We held them to 20 points at half,” Brown said.
The lavender uniforms surfaced again for this game, which are now 2-0 when they are worn. The last time the players wore them was for the TCU game at home in Bramlage Coliseum, when the Wildcats won 73-68.
Brown said they are now getting the name “lucky lavenders.”
“I think I’ve always been a big fan of these jerseys, the shorts and the shoes,” Brown said. “It’s good for our alums.”
At the end of the game, K-State shot 54.9 percent (28-51) from the field and 44.4 percent (8-18) from the three-point line. As they walked out of Gallagher-Iba Arena, the Wildcats walked with heads held high, even with their two offensive rebounds.
K-State’s bench provided 24 points for the Wildcats, lifting the Wildcats up more than usual. The bench came forward for this game and helped clench the road win.
The Cowboys ended the game by shooting 41.5 percent (27-65) from the field and 30 percent (6-20) from the three-point.
The Cowboys had 22 second-chance points at the end of the game, while the Wildcats ended with five. Both teams ended close when it came to in the paint, where K-State had 32 and Oklahoma State had 34.
Oklahoma State head coach, Mike Boynton, said today’s loss was a poor show for the Cowboys.
“That’s a poor performance,” Boynton said. “Very good offense, obviously we got some good looks but I think we settled a lot.”
Boynton later said he believed the team was impatient offensively, and praised K-State’s defense.
“[K-State] deserved to win,” Boynton said.
Weber talked about Wednesday’s road win, and said he looks forward to Saturday’s matchup and the team’s need for energy.
“I hope our guys can come with a little more energy on Saturday,” Weber said. “We gotta come play good basketball…I just told them they’re deciding their own destiny.”
Wednesday’s 17-point deficit for Oklahoma State was the fourth largest ever in a home game. It was also tied sixth for the largest in an Oklahoma State Big 12 game.
The Wildcats have now improved their overall record to 18-7 and 6-7 in the Big 12. K-State’s six conference losses have all come from the same three teams: Texas Tech, West Virginia and Kansas.
While the Wildcats have not had a lot of consistency the past month, they showed up in Stillwater ready to bounce back after a major loss against Texas Tech on Feb. 10.
Hoping the Wildcats carry their momentum, they will return back home to Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 17 when they will host the Iowa State Cyclones. The game is set to tip off at noon and will be viewable on ESPNU.