K-State bolsters NCAA hopes with 77-67 win over Baylor

March 3, 20180 Comments

Kansas State entered Saturday’s regular season finale in need of momentum as Selection Sunday draws near.

The Wildcats’ rock solid duo, Dean Wade and Barry Brown, delivered it.

The pair of All-Big 12 hopefuls combined for 43 points as K-State beat Baylor, 77-67, to bolster its NCAA Tournament bid.

“We thought it was going to be a fist fight,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We kept making plays. The run at the end of the half was really important and we maintained it.”

The Wildcats (21-10, 10-8) uses a run late in the first half to grab a double-digit lead, then kept Baylor at arm’s length the rest of the way to earn a sweep of the Bears.

Wade scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half, including a buzzer-beating jumper at the end of the first half. K-State outscored Baylor 13-2 in the final minutes before halftime.

“He’s more and more confident,” Weber said. “Even in walkthroughs, he’s talking more. He used to think it wasn’t his place to talk.”

The Bears (18-13, 8-10) took a big hit to their own March Madness chances, but Nuni Omot certainly wasn’t to blame. He scored 30 points on just 11 shots, and led BU’s only major run in the second half.

The lead was trimmed to five points with 6:27 to play, but the Bears could get no closer as K-State made 19 of its 24 free throws.

Makol Mawien turned in one of his best performances of the season, scoring 14 points in 17 minutes of action before fouling out.

Meanwhile, the point guard position took a step forward as Kamau Stokes and Cartier Diarra combined for 15 points.

“It was good to see them make a couple plays today,” Weber said.

At 10-8 in the league, K-State will finish tied for either third or fourth in the final standings, while Baylor tied for sixth. Big 12 Tournament seeding will be determined later Saturday evening.

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