The Kansas State men’s basketball team took down the Oklahoma Sooners in fashion with a 68-53 victory Saturday evening at Bramlage Coliseum to capture a Big 12 Championship.
The three seniors — guards Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes and forward Dean Wade — all scored double figures on their senior night. Stokes scored 19, Brown had 15 and Wade put in 11.
Stokes shot 7-for-15 in field goals and 4-for-10 in three-pointers.
“That was a special for [Stokes],” head coach Bruce Weber said. “When you think about it, when [this senior class] were freshman he was the best one, but then all the injuries came. Nineteen points, six assists and no turnovers.”
The Sooners came out hot in the beginning. They hit four of their first six shots, and led K-State 9-8 at the under-16 timeout.
Stokes gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game with a three-pointer at the 14:25 mark in the first half to put the Wildcats up 12-9.
The Sooners tied the game up twice after that, but they were never able to retake the lead.
With 8:49 remaining in the first half Wade knocked down a three-pointer to break a tie to go up 17-14. Stokes followed with another three-pointer on the following offensive possession to give the Wildcats their first two possession lead of the game and it got the crowd back into the game.
K-State maintained the lead after the back-to-back three-pointers, and then got their first double-digit lead of the game with a three-pointer from Brown just inside the two-minute mark of the first half to go into halftime with a 32-22 lead.
The Wildcats came out with fire in the second half with a 10-1 run. Junior forward Makol Mawien made a layup and Stokes made three consecutive buckets.
“At halftime, Barry [Brown] said we got to come out and lock them down,” Weber said.
The Wildcats never looked back. They went on to dominate the Sooners for the remainder of the game.
The lead stretched to 25 points when junior forward Xavier Sneed threw down a one-handed slam to get the Wildcat crowd to go wild. The dunk gave the Wildcats a 58-33 lead with 8:28 remaining in the game.
K-State shot an exceptional 45 percent in the game, and brought stellar defense. The Wildcats’ defense forced the Sooner to commit 12 turnovers, resulting in 17 points for the Wildcats.
One of the greatest senior classes in K-State men’s basketball history — Brown, Stokes and Wade — left the court in Bramlage Coliseum one last time as Big 12 Champions.
Brown said being co-champions with Texas Tech didn’t take any special feeling away from not winning the Big 12 outright.
“We got a trophy,” Brown said. “We’re all happy. Everyone wants to win it outright, but we are still No. 1.”
The Wildcats will now head to Kansas City, Missouri, for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championship at the Sprint Center starting on Thursday. They will be the one seed in the tournament.