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Lockdown 1st half propels Wildcats past Cowboys, 82-72

K-State improves to 2-0 in throwback uniforms.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Oklahoma State
Barry Brown Jr. has expressed his fondness for K-State’s throwback lavender uniforms. On Wednesday night, the Wildcats improved to 2-0 while wearing the lavender with an 82-72 win against Oklahoma State.
Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma State Cowboys had a big rebounding advantage Wednesday night in Stillwater and had 13 second-chance points in the first half alone, but defense and good shooting carried the Kansas State Wildcats to a 37-20 lead at halftime. K-State was able to score enough in the second half to hold off a furious comeback attempt, winning 82-72.

It’s gotta be the lavender uniforms.

The Wildcats needed tonight’s scoring outburst. They hadn’t hit 70 points in a game since a 90-83 victory at Baylor on January 22 and had failed to reach even 60 in four of their last 5 games. K-State’s 54.9 percent shooting from the field was also its best mark since that Baylor game — a stretch that included four games shooting below 40 percent and two games below 30 percent.

Only Dean Wade (5-of-12) and James Love III (0-of-2) failed to shoot 50 percent or better for the Cats. Barry Brown Jr. led K-State with 25 points, helped by a strong 12-of-14 performance at the free-throw line. Xavier Sneed, Wade, and a still-recuperating Kamau Stokes joined Brown in double-figure scoring. Cartier Diarra had a quietly effective night, scoring 8 points while only committing 1 turnover. And Levi Stockard III deserves acknowledgement. His 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist made tonight easily his best game in a K-State uniform.

As usual, K-State got crushed on the glass, with Oklahoma State holding a 39-28 rebounding advantage, including a 16-2 advantage in offensive rebounding.

Tonight’s victory leaves K-State at an 18-8 overall record, including 7-6 in the Big 12. The Wildcats are positioned to finish the year strong. Their final five games are home against Iowa State and Texas, at Oklahoma and TCU, and home against Baylor. K-State is 5-0 against those teams and ahead of all of them in the Big 12 standings.

Saturday’s game is the closest thing to a gimme K-State will have in all of its conference season. The Cyclones are 13-12 and haven’t won a true road game all season.