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Kansas State 95, Wake Forest 88: On to Sacramento

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The Cats beat and offensive team with offense

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Four-Kansas State vs Wake Forest Brian Spurlocki-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t always pretty, but it was explosive, as K-State scores a near-season-high on the way to a 95-88 victory over Wake Forest to advance to the round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament.

D.J. Johnson played maybe his best game of the year against one of the best he’s faced all year, scoring 18 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, while locking down Demon Deacon big man John Collins through the first half. D.J.’s stat line also included three big blocks.

But the real story of the night for the Wildcats was the play of Wesley Iwundu. Wes lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 24 points (tying for game high), six rebounds, and seven assists to will this team to victory. He played like a senior, a guy who wasn’t ready for his team to be done playing. He went 6/9 from FG range, but went huge at the free throw line knocking down 11 of his 13 attempts from the charity stripe, including K-State’s final two points.

We and D.J. were joined in double figures by guards Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes, who had 14 and 22 respectively. Kamau had a great night scoring, going 5/8 from behind the arc and 7/8 at the free throw line, but had some costly early turnovers that might have sunk this team on another night. The point guard finished with three assists and five turnovers, but his scoring was far more important tonight.

Dean Wade was the lone Wildcat starter to fail to reach double-digits, only notching eight points. Carlbe Ervin put up seven off the bench, and Xavier Sneed added two points, two rebounds, two assists, two turnovers, and a team-leading four steals.

Next up for the Wildcats is a Friday match-up in California against 6-seed Cincinnati. More on that from Bring on the Cats later in the week.