STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Kansas State had a spike in offensive performance but ultimately, it was the Wildcats’ defense that determined victory.
Bobby Brown scored 25 points and Xavier Sneed added 13 points and six rebounds to help lead Kansas State to a convincing 82-72 victory over Oklahoma State Wednesday night.
“I just wanted to take what they gave me, that was my approach,” said Brown, who had a career-high 38 points in the last meeting between the two teams, an 86-82 K-State win on Jan. 10. “When I was able to get all the way to the basket, I tried to do that. It just worked out, I just played my game.”
Dean Wade had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists while Kamau Stokes scored 11 for Kansas State (18-8, 7-6 Big 12). The Wildcats were 1-3 in their previous four contests.
K-State coach Bruce Weber was happy his team’s bench was able to outscore Oklahoma State’s by a 24-15 margin, despite being outrebounded 39-28 on the evening.
“Rebounding’s not our strength, but we always make up for it by always taking care of the basketball and making the right plays,” Weber said. “I thought we were in attack mode, we took care of the ball, we made a lot of good plays, the right plays, and we were good defensively. A good road win against a team that’s good.”
Kendall Smith contributed 16 points and a career-high seven rebounds for Oklahoma State (15-11, 5-8). It was Smith’s seventh straight outing with 10-plus points. Jeffrey Carroll added 13 points and nine rebounds.
“Really poor performance, different ways in each half,” said OSU coach Mike Boynton. “We didn’t run a very good offense, I think we settled for some contested jumpers over a hand, those just aren’t good shots for us. Then in the second half, we ran better offense, got better looks, and our defense kind of wilted and gave in at key moments, even when we had chances to just make a run. K-State deserved to win. They executed better at both ends of the court.”
Kansas State led just 18-16 when Smith put home a layup with 6:12 left in the opening half, but the Wildcats jumped out to a 12-0 run over the next four-plus minutes to take control of the contest. They outscored the Cowboys 19-4 over the remainder of the half to take a commanding 37-20 advantage into the second.
Oklahoma State shot just 23.5 percent from the floor in the first half (8 of 34), its lowest output of the season, both in terms of percentage and points scored. The 17-point halftime deficit was the largest of the year.
Although they Cowboys shot better in the second, K-State was able to keep the pressure on and never allowed Oklahoma State to get any closer than 13 until the final minute.
Kansas State: The Wildcats have had a number of offensively-challenged performances over their past few outings, but they appeared to have a powerful attack in this one. After five straight games of producing fewer than 70 points and topping 38 percent shooting just once, Kansas State shot 55 percent (28 of 51), including 56 percent in the first half (15 of 27). That shooting percentage marked their highest in the last six games (since shooting 57 percent in a 90-83 win over Baylor on Jan. 22).
Oklahoma State: The frustrating every-other-outing pattern continues. The Cowboys keep following strong, full-40-minute performances in which they’ve secured key victories over difficult opponents with sub-par outings that result in losses to slightly lesser foes. They’ve pulled out triumphs against then-No. 4 Oklahoma (83-81 in overtime on Jan. 20), then-No. 7 Kansas (84-79 on Feb. 3) and then-No. 19 West Virginia (88-85 last Saturday), but have followed each with losses to TCU, Baylor and now K-State. After the West Virginia win, it seemed like OSU might finally break the streak, but once again, the Cowboys fell behind by a large margin late in the first half. The inevitable second half comeback attempt also followed, but it was too little, too late as OSU couldn’t get to closer than 14 until the final 3:18.
Kansas State is 0-6 combined against ranked Big 12 opponents, No. 7 Texas Tech, No. 13 Kansas and No. 20 West Virginia, and 7-0 against the rest of the league. . Oklahoma State had just two assists in the first half and seven overall for the game, tied for their lowest total of the season. . The Cowboys entered the day averaging 15.2 turnovers forced per game, but K-State committed just eight for the contest.
HE SAID IT
“Our bench was just huge,” Weber said. “That has definitely not been a strength for us. You got Kam (Stokes) coming off the bench for us and Levi (Stockard III, who had eight points and five rebounds in 23 minutes), that was by far his best game. Since early in the season, I don’t think our bench has outscored the opponent’s bench, so that was one of the keys to the game.”
Kansas State: The Wildcats return home to take on Iowa State on Saturday, a team they defeated 91-75 back on Dec. 29.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys go back out on the road for a matchup Saturday against TCU, whom they lost to 79-66 on Jan. 30