For the finale of the regular season, the Kansas State men’s basketball team came into Bramlage Coliseum ready to play on Saturday. The Wildcats dressed in the “lucky lavenders,” put their best foot forward and remembered to dunk accordingly.
The Baylor Bears came on the court hot. They were looking for a win, but it wasn’t enough. The Wildcats were able to pull away with a win, 77-67, and ended the season with a 21-10 overall record and a 10-8 Big 12 Conference record.
Back in January, K-State and Baylor met for the first time this season, and the Wildcats walked away with a win, 90-83. For the all-time series, K-State led 20-18 overall and 10-8 in Manhattan prior to Saturday’s game.
For the first 10 minutes of the first half, the Wildcats and the Bears were pretty even. The game was close, neck-and-neck and high energy.
In the last five minutes of the first half, K-State shot forward and began scooting ahead. The Wildcats ended the half leading 35-25.
In the first half, the Wildcats shot 15-29 from the field and 3-10 from the 3-point line, while Baylor shot 9-20 from the field and were 2-8 from the 3-point line. The lead changed nine times and was tied up three times.
As the second half began, the Wildcats came in playing hard ball. They were not letting this win get away from them.
Junior guard Amaad Wainright and junior forward Dean Wade got the two major dunks of the game. They slammed the Bears from the start. K-State’s defense was able to successfully contain Baylor and let few plays go through successfully.
During the first ten minutes of the second half, the Wildcats were making big plays and shoving the Bears out of their way to make progress. At the nine-minute mark in the second half, Baylor began to turn things around for themselves.
Baylor went on an 8-0 run in just one minute and were able to expand it to a 10-0 run before sophomore forward Makol Mawien dunked the ball for K-State. Baylor quickly turned around and made more baskets, making it a five-point game.
There were a lot of missed shots during the last eight minutes of the game. This made the win look a little shaky at first because of everything that was at stake, but the Wildcats pulled through.
The environment in Bramlage was loud, and K-State’s standout plays did not go unrecognized. This game was high-octane and showcased some of the best play-making skills the Wildcats could muster before the Big 12 Tournament.
At the end of the game, K-State shot 26-50 from the field and 6-20 from the 3-point line for the overall number. Baylor shot 22-49 from the field and 7-18 from the 3-point. K-State made 28 points in the paint, eight second chance opportunities, 10 fast break points and nine bench points. Baylor ended with 45 bench points, 26 in the paint and 13 second chance opportunities.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew talked about Saturday being senior day for K-State, but had to talk about standout players first.
“Well, technically it was senior night,” Drew said. “I personally hope this was Dean Wade and Barry Brown’s last game, because those guys are pros. I’ve got nothing but respect for them.”
K-State head coach Bruce Weber talked about Baylor’s improvement since the last time they played them back in January.
“We thought it was going to be a fist fight,” Weber said. “You’ve got to out-tough them. … I thought their zone defense was much better than the first time we played them.”
A main topic during Saturday’s press conference was whether or not Dean Wade should go into the NBA. Wade was asked if he would assure K-State fans of his return, and all he said was, “We’ll be locked in against TCU.”
When Weber talked about Wade, he also talked about the possibility of Wade’s NBA career.
“He’s going to be an NBA player,” Weber said. “Whether it’s this year or the year after, he has a chance.”
Regarding the Big 12 Tournament, Weber said he thinks there is a way the Wildcats can leave their mark in Kansas City, Missouri.
“You finish for sure in the top four,” Weber said. “I’ve got to believe you’re in. But, you can go to Kansas City and put an exclamation point on it.”
K-State will now look forward to the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City.