You’d be wrong.
The Wildcats pulled away in the first half to build a double-digit lead, and then built that to 16 midway through the second half before deftly brushing off a late Baylor charge. The result was a 77-67 victory on Senior Day at Bramlage Coliseum.
Dean Wade (25) and Barry Brown (18) combined for over 40 points once again, and in the process — within minutes of one another — both eclipsed the 500-point mark for the season. They’re the first Wildcat duo to do so since Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente back in 2009-10. Brown just missed a double-double, dishing nine assists. Makol Mawien joined the pair in double figures, posting 14 points before fouling out late.
Despite his foul trouble, it was Mawien who gave K-State the early push they needed. Mawien scored six straight points inside near the middle of the first half to give the Wildcats a lead they would not relinquish. Brown and Wade then took advantage of the Baylor defense, scoring often in transition to build a ten point lead at the half.
The Cats built that lead to 16 near the middle of the second half, but Baylor wasn’t down yet. A 10-0 run left the home team with just a six point lead with 7:29 to play, but Brown dished to Mawien for a dunk and then drained a three to get the lead back into double digits. Shooting over 80% from the line the rest of the way allowed K-State to maintain the lead.
Nuni Omot led the Bears (18-13, 8-10 Big 12) with a game-high 30 points, while Terry Maston added 11. The loss leaves Baylor as the sixth seed in next weekend’s Big 12 Basketball Championship.
The Wildcats (21-10, 10-8), meanwhile, earned the fourth seed and posted their first 10-win conference season since 2013-14. They’ll get to wear their home duds in their opening game of the tournament. That will take place Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. CT as they face the fifth-seeded TCU Horned Frogs. The winner of that game will probably get Kansas in the early (6 p.m.) game on Friday — although Kansas will face a quarterfinal test against either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, two teams which combined for a 3-1 record against the Jayhawks this season.
Player of the Game: Dean Wade, obviously. The tired forward still managed to spend 39 minutes on the floor. His 25 points marked the eleventh time this season he’s eclipsed the 20-point barrier, and by midway through the first half he had earned the distinction of reaching double figures in every conference game this season.
Shout-outs: Barry Brown, for his 18 and also reaching the 500-point plateau. Makol Mawien, for boosting the Cats early. And Mason Schoen and Kade Kinnamon, suiting up for the final time at Bramlage and getting on the floor for the final minute.