The 18th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats remain in first place in the Big 12 but their breathing room has decreased after losing to the 23rd-ranked Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday 78-64. K-State now leads both Kansas and Texas Tech by just half a game after the latter programs both won this weekend.
As has been the case for most of the Wildcats’ losses this season, offensive execution was a major factor against Iowa State. K-State shot 42 percent from the floor in the losing effort, but just 26.3 percent from three-point range. That marks the 13th time this season the Wildcats shot worse than 30 percent from three, per Stats LLC.
Senior guard Barry Brown played every minute of Saturday’s game and finished with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting, tying the game high. It was a brutal afternoon shooting the ball for K-State other than him, however, as the rest of the team went a combined 11-of-24 from the floor. Junior forward Makol Mawien was the only other double-digit scorer for K-State with 10 points.
“Barry kept us in there and he played like a senior should,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said.
Brown emphasized the importance of not dwelling on the loss after the game, with the Wildcats needing to stay focused with six games left in the regular season, half of which will come on the road.
“Today is the last day that we can think about this,” Brown said. “We play again in about 48 hours. We just have to let them know we are still fine.”
Senior forward Dean Wade had a quiet game when he was on the floor, scoring just nine points, seven of which came in the second half, along with five rebounds and three assists. The biggest news involving Wade had to do with injuries yet again though, as he played just 11 minutes in the second half after hobbling off the floor with a foot issue. Weber said after the game that Wade didn’t practice all week and had been in a walking boot.
“I think he planted wrong or came down wrong,” Weber said. “I do not know if he tweaked it. When I first talked to him, the doc did not think it was that bad but we will just have to wait and see.”
While the offense struggled, K-State’s usually elite defense had no answer for a lights-out shooting performance by Iowa State. The Cyclones went 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) from long range in the game, led by Talen Horton-Tucker and Lindell Wigginton, who combined to go 11-of-15 from deep.
ISU’s 78 points is just one shy of their season average, which leads the Big 12. K-State, which came into the game already last in the conference in points per game, missed its average mark by nearly two games.
The Wildcats have a quick turnaround, as they’ll be on the road this Monday night for a meeting with the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown. West Virginia lost by 25 to KU in Lawrence on Saturday.