No. 12 Kansas State men’s basketball defeated the University of Denver 64-58 on Monday night, but not without having to overcome a dismal shooting performance.
The Wildcats made less than 40 percent of their field goals, shot 6-for-27 from behind the three-point line and a miserable 44 percent, 12-for-27 mark from the free-throw line.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, one player overcame the shooting woes to lead his team to victory.
Senior guard Barry Brown Jr. stepped up, pouring in 25 points to lead the way for the Wildcats offensively.
In the first half, Brown made three of six field goals — including 1 of 2 three-pointers— and was 3-for-4 on free throws. As the Wildcats went into halftime with a 31-28 lead, the senior led the team with 10 points.
In the second half, Brown went off.
After the game, Brown said he was trying to bring a spark in the second half.
“I just wanted to help my teammates out, we kind of had a little slump,” Brown said to K-State Sports. “I wasn’t really feeling the energy. I was wanting to just bring it, so that we could get a spark, play more defense, get rebound and keep it going.”
At the game’s end, Brown had made nine of his 17 shots (53 percent), went 4-for-8 four on threes and was 3-for-5 at the free-throw line.
After the game, head coach Bruce Weber talked about Brown stepping up in the second half, at times taking control and making play after play.
“He doesn’t want to lose,” Weber said of Brown to K-State Sports. “Just like last season, his leadership stepped up. He said he’s got it. I think he gambled a little bit on defense, getting a couple of steals.”
This certainly wasn’t the first time in Brown’s tenure at Kansas State that he has led the way for the Wildcats offensively. He continues to be a leader for this team and continues to be a reliable force for K-State.
The Wildcats have struggled in terms of shooting in the first two games, but senior forward Dean Wade is not worried.
“If it continues to be like this, it has got to be a little concerning,” the senior forward said after the game. “I have no doubt in my mind that we’re going to start hitting shots again. Right now, it’s a matter of time.”
Despite Brown being a difference-maker in Monday night’s win, his humility and leadership showed as he gave credit to his teammates for being a part of the win.
“I feel like we all played a big part,” Brown said. “Dean had 16 rebounds, four assists. Kam [Stokes] had three assists, three steals. X [Xavier Sneed] took some big shots and got that dunk at the end. We all played a key role.”
Brown and the Wildcats will have time off before competing in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. K-State’s first game of the tournament will take place Friday in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands against Eastern Kentucky at 6:30 p.m.
The game will stream on flohoops.com and will be broadcast on the K-State Sports Radio Network.