Energetic defense, sharp shooting bring Wildcats to win over No. 20 Sooners

Letting out a cry of celebration, redshirt sophomore James Love III and freshman Shaun Neal-Williams celebrate K-State overcoming West Virginia for the first time in the game on January 9. The Wildcats defeated the Mountaineers 71-69 in Bramlage Coliseum. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

It started with six straight points from Kansas State and a turnover by Oklahoma that forced the Sooners to take their first timeout not even three minutes into the game.

K-State beat No. 20 Oklahoma 74-61 on the road in Norman, Oklahoma, Wednesday night.

In the first 10 minutes of the game, K-State scored 20 points and took what little life there was to begin with out of Oklahoma’s home crowd.

The offense started lapsing for the Wildcats in the last 10 minutes before halftime. Oklahoma scored 14 points and held K-State to just 10.

The last bucket of the half for K-State was a layup from senior forward Dean Wade with 28 seconds left.

The Sooners got the last possession with four seconds, and senior guard Christian James made a three from beyond the arc to pull Oklahoma within six points going into the half.

The first half saw both teams shot the ball pretty even at 44 percent from the field. The Wildcats led the whole first half with their largest lead being 13 points.

The second half started with a jumper from junior forward Xavier Sneed.

Two minutes in, a jump-ball gave possession to Oklahoma, but the Sooners failed to convert any points. This gave way for a senior guard Barry Brown to make a 3-point basket for the Wildcats.

A jump-ball gave K-State possession going into the under-16 media timeout. The Wildcats turned the ball over, but the Sooners were not able to take advantage. A 3-pointer from senior Kamau Stokes put the Wildcats up by 10; the teams stood at 45-35 with 14:23 left.

A 10-2 run by K-State forced Oklahoma to call a timeout with 6:26 left in the game. Brown had half those points.

An open look for Wade allowed the senior to drain a 3-pointer with 4:42 left, increasing K-State’s lead to 19 at 69-50, the largest lead of the game.

With two minutes left, Wade went up for a dunk to put the Wildcats up 71-56.

This win gives the Wildcats a 3-2 start to conference play and puts them at 13-4 overall.

Head coach Bruce Weber spoke on the team’s performance against the Sooners.

“I thought the whole game we played good at both ends,” Weber said. “When we turn them over 16 times, shoot the ball 50 percent, share the ball, get 15 assists. Obviously Barry is playing at a really high level, but I loved that he had five assists.”

Wade was the second leading scorer for K-State with 20 points in just his second game back from injury.

“It feels good, we’re making shots, being aggressive, just flowing with the basketball,” Wade said. “Everyone had energy tonight, it was just an all around fun game.”

The defense played a large part in K-State’s win. The Sooners shot 25 percent from 3-point range in the first half.

“Our priority as a team is defense, you know, it’s where we hang our hat,” Wade said. “We’re a great defensive team … but we’ve also got weapons on offense too. We can score the ball, we take pride in our defense, but you know we’re also a very good offensive team too.”

“I thought K-State dictated the game in every phase,” said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger.

The Sooners shot 52 percent from the free-throw line on 23 shots, while K-State shot 86 percent. The Wildcats scored 20 points in the paint.

“We didn’t have much flow, and Kansas State’s very good,” Kruger said “We didn’t have much attack, we didn’t have much pop. Credit Kansas State for some of that for sure, because they’re very good, very good. They’ve got the experience defensively and they do a great job with it.”

Next up for K-State is TCU on Saturday in front of their home crowd in Bramlage Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. and fans can watch the game on ESPN2 or listen on the K-State Sports Network.

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