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Kansas State Starts Fast, Holds Off TCU, 73-68

Lavender magic is real!

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Kansas State
Even the pep squad got into throwback mode.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

On throwback Saturday, K-State (14-5, 4-3) broke out the two-tone jerseys and played the mid-range offense early to score the game’s first 9 points on their way to a 73-68 victory over No. 24/25 Texas Christian University (14-5, 2-5).

The new and improved Dean Wade affected the game from tip to buzzer. He hit threes (4-9), shared the ball (6 assists), swatted scoring attempts (2 blocks), harassed the TCU offense (2 steals) and led all scorers with 20 points on the day.

His surprise offensive sidekick today was Makol Mawien. Wade and others found the 6-9 sophomore around the rim, and he responded with a career-high 18 points on 8-11 efficiency. Mawien also collected five rebounds and two blocks. Maybe the biggest stat of the day: He played 36 minutes, surely by far the most of a K-State post player this season.

Barry Brown was uncharacteristically quiet in the first half, scoring only three points. When point guard Cartier Diarra sat with second half foul trouble, Barry went to work. His drives late in the shot clock gave the Wildcats exactly what they needed. Three times the clock was under five seconds when Brown scored key buckets—one on a lay-up, one on a fade-away jumper, and one on a nifty floater. On another possession, he drove to the baseline to set up a Mawien hoop with a perfect pass, one of Barry’s nine (9!) assists. He finished the game with 15 points, narrowly missing the small guy double-double.

Xavier Sneed joined the double-figures party with 10 for the Wildcats.

K-State led wire-to-wire, though the game was not without drama. TCU coach Jamie Dixon earned a technical foul in the first half, and another with 5:23 remaining in the game to get sent to the showers. Both were the result of excessive complaining, and it was difficult in both cases to glean just what he considered so egregious.

When the second half T was called, TCU had two team fouls, to K-State’s seven. Dixon was complaining about contact on a play where Barry Brown stripped Horned Frog point guard Alex Robinson. Replays suggest the protest was unwarranted or—at least—overblown.

The Horned Frogs got within two, after a stolen inbound pass and dunk by JD Miller made it a 70-68 game with six seconds remaining. The three points K-State gained for Coach Dixon’s tirades were then the difference between winning and losing.

TCU’s 68 points were more than 20 below their season average of 88.6 per contest. Alex Robinson, off his 17-assist performance Wednesday against Iowa State, managed six dimes in Manhattan, to go along with 13 points.

Vladimir Brodziansky led TCU with 15. High motor specialist Kenrich Williams scored 11 and snagged 10 rebounds.

Player of the Game: Dean Wade

Barry Brown was key at a pivotal point in the game and in the process became a 1,000-point career scorer (h/t to EveryCatAWildman). But Dean Wade gets the nod for commanding attention and delivering repeatedly throughout the contest. According to the broadcast crew, before a couple of late outside misses, Dean was shooting a ridiculous 70% from three-point range in league play. But he does so much more than shoot now. He handles the ball on the wing, drives and dishes, dives for loose balls, and when the team needs it, he throws down merciless two-handed dunks. He was the most important player on a day when several ‘Cats played well.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Kansas State
Because we have no picture of the dunk, here’s Do-it-All Dean with the ball. Love the shoes, man!
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Three in the Key

  1. K-State defended its home floor against a second straight ranked opponent. The Big 12 is balanced, as TCU has learned after a slough of close losses, and as Texas Tech has learned twice this week, losing pretty convincingly against teams (Texas and Iowa State) that were supposed to be inferior. Consider this: If K-State had found a way to score on its last possession against KU, the ‘Cats would be tied for first in the conference. (h/t to Eric Rubottom for that) Fire Bruce? Maybe we should just take a deep breath and see how the season plays out.
  2. Speaking of defending the home floor, the K-State defense has really stepped up this week, limiting Trae Young—who had 48 of his team’s 81 in their overtime loss against Oklahoma State today—to a hard-earned 20, on the way to a comfortable win. They followed it up today, slowing a balanced TCU team and, as previously noted, keeping them far below their season average.
  3. To be honest, I’m not a big jersey guy. I hate that fashion gets so much run with the proliferation of game-day combos in football, particularly. That said, it took guts for Coach Hartman to commission those two-tone kits back in the 70’s, and if you’re going to go throwback, I at least appreciate doing it right. Kudos to the athletic department for carrying the theme through, complete with a 70’s look on the scoreboard. And good for the guys, who embraced the idea and played inspired basketball reminiscent of the days when games were broadcast on the fuzzy console sets of yesteryear.

Next up, K-State does the quick turnaround gig, playing at 8:00 Monday night on the road against Baylor. Make the celebration quick, fellows.