High octane, neck-to-neck, nail biting. That’s only three of the ways you can explain Saturday’s game in Bramlage Coliseum.
The Kansas State men’s basketball team hosted the Iowa State Cyclones for their second matchup of the season. The last time they met was back in December at Hilton Coliseum, where the Wildcats won 91-75.
Coming into the game, Iowa State was 4-9 in the Big 12 and coming off of a loss against the KU Jayhawks at home. The Cyclones struggled both offensively and defensively, which ultimately let the Jayhawks scoot away, 83-77.
That held true for their game against the Wildcats. Within the first 10 minutes of the game, Iowa State’s defense slipped multiple times.
In the first half, K-State was 14-31 from the field and 5-14 from the 3-point line. Iowa State was 12-27 from the field and 4-9 from the 3-point line.
Junior forward Dean Wade came into the game on fire from the start. He ended the first half with 13 points and began to achieve his career high assists early in the game.
Even though junior guard Cartier Diarra got elbowed in the mouth and got a foul called on him for it, he was able to finish the game with eight points and help lead the Wildcats to victory.
With the game tied at 33-33 when halftime arrived, many fans became skeptical of what would happen in the second half. Iowa State was 0-7 on the road before Tuesday’s matchup.
From the start of the second half, the Wildcats put their best foot forward and came out of the gate on fire offensively. Iowa State’s defense could not contain Wade, junior forward Xavier Sneed or junior guard Barry Brown to save their lives.
When Iowa State began to catch up, K-State was able to hold its ground and jump ahead. The Wildcats were not going down easy, and were able to keep the Cyclones at arm’s length the entire second half.
Between dunking and shooting triples, the Wildcats could not be stopped. K-State was in complete control from the moment the ball was tossed inbounds.
As the last six minutes of the clock drained, K-State began shooting triples and dunking like it was a natural thing. The Wildcats were rolling with the thunder the entire game.
K-State ended the game shooting 51.7 percent (31-60) from the field and 40 percent (10-25) from the 3-point line. Iowa State shot 44.6 percent (25-56) from the field and 36.8 percent (7-19) from the 3-point line.
While the score was tied three times during the game, the lead never changed.
For the first time since Jan. 13, K-State finally out-rebounded an opponent. Iowa State finished the game with 28 rebounds, while K-State finished with 35 rebounds. They had finally broken the nine-game streak.
“Boxing out and being on the right position on defense,” Wade said regarding the rebounds. “Just having a desire to go get them. We had a lot of balance today.”
Wade ended the game with 22 points and eight rebounds. He also ended the game with nine assists, achieving a new career high.
Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm praised Wade for his efforts and stifling offense.
“He’s a good player,” Prohm said. “He’s really improved, he’s gotten to be a tremendous player. He was very effective today.”
Prohm didn’t have a lot to say about Iowa State’s playing, especially since they are now 0-8 on the road.
“It’s just been inconsistent, that’s the number one word for this season,” Prohm said.
At the end of this game, Prohm was asked if he thinks K-State is an NCAA Tournament-ready team.
“Yeah, no question,” Prohm said.
K-State head coach Bruce Weber was very happy with how the team played, especially since they found their balance.
“I think that we play good when we have balance, that’s our strength,” Weber said. “We’re a good team. There’s no doubt about it.”
The Wildcats now look forward to take on the University of Texas Longhorns, who are 16-11 and just beat the No. 23 University of Oklahoma, 77-66.
The game will tip off at 8 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday and can be viewed on ESPNU.