MANHATTAN — Turns out this was as much about the old as it was the Young.
Entering Tuesday night’s clash between No. 4 Oklahoma and Kansas State, most eyes were focused squarely on OU freshman standout Trae Young, the nation’s leader in points (30.1 points) and assists (10.0). But when K-State veteran Barry Brown started the game by scoring 16 points in just over 12 minutes and staking the Wildcats to a 27-13 lead, the attention shifted.
Add the fact that a rattled Young finished the opening half with as many turnovers as points (8), and the raucous Bramlage Coliseum crowd had every reason to be optimistic that K-State would pull off its first win against a ranked team this season.
In the end that optimism was rewarded. Brown got plenty of second-half help from his friends, most notably fellow junior Dean Wade, and the Wildcats routed the Sooners 87-69 in one of the most impressive victories of the Bruce Weber era — a win that left the Wildcats celebrating wildly with students.
Brown, remember, is the same player who vowed the Wildcats were “going to be just fine” following Saturday’s one-point loss at KU. On Tuesday, he made good on that promise, finishing with a game-high 24 points and harassing Young into his worst performance of the season.
“Any time there’s a big-time guy coming in that we’re going to play, I’m always motivated to guard him and do my best,” Brown said. “And with my teammates’ help, it paid off.”
Did it ever. With Brown leading the defensive charge and the Wildcats doubling at every opportunity, Young needed 21 shots to produce his team-high 20 points and finished with a whopping 12 turnovers. According to ESPN, that was the most turnovers by a major-conference player in a game since Florida State’s Delvon Arrington had 14 against Auburn on Dec. 5, 1999.
It was Young’s second-lowest scoring output and his lowest since netting 15 in the season opener against Omaha.
“I played terrible,” Young conceded. “I blame a lot of this loss on me, if not all of the loss on me.”
While Young faltered, a number of Wildcats joined Brown in playing starring roles.
Wade scored 16 of his 21 points in the final period and registered seven assists and seven rebounds. Cartier Diarra and Xavier Sneed also turned in strong second halves, finishing with 16 and 13 points for the Wildcats (13-5, 3-3 Big 12).
With those three doing most of the damage, K-State hit 19 of 26 second-half field goal attempts (73.1 percent) and delivered 12 assists.
“The second half we played at the magic level,” said K-State coach Bruce Weber, whose team beat a top-five opponent for the 23rd time in school history. “I’m so happy for those guys.”
Leading by five at intermission, K-State outscored OU 24-17 in the first 9 1/2 minutes of the final half to open up a 62-50 lead. Sneed scored eight points in the run, including two early 3-pointers and an alley-oop dunk from Diarra to give the Wildcats the 12-point bulge.
K-State pushed the advantage to 72-56 by the 7:25 mark and never was threatened down the stretch.
“All around we played great,” said Wade, who was 7-for-9 from the field in the second half. “I think we played at a very high level.”
K-State played high-level ball for much of the first half, too. Brown made eight of his first 10 shots to power the Wildcats’ breakaway, and Young was out of sync from the outset against the Wildcats’ aggressive, helping defense.
“We were just trying to stay on him,” Brown said. “He comes off ball screens, needs one inch and he can shoot it. Credit to my bigs for playing the ball screens. It was easy when our big man would force him to get the ball out of his hands.
“I feel like I was just in his pocket the whole game and just kind of corralled him and made him take tough shots. It worked out.”
A 13-3 run helped the Sooners (14-3, 4-2) climb out of their early 14-point hole, and they eventually took a one-point lead on a Rashard Odomes putback in the final two minutes of the opening period. K-State, however, scored the last six points of the half on 3-pointers by Diarra and Wade to enter the break with a 38-33 cushion, then controlled the second half from start to finish.
“Obviously, K-State played great,” said OU coach, K-State alum and Silver Lake native Lon Kruger, who fell to 5-8 against his alma mater. “They made us play bad. We did not feel good about any aspect of the game.”
Lattin 1-2 0-0 2, Manek 5-10 0-0 12, Odomes 7-10 1-2 16, James 3-5 0-0 8, Young 8-21 2-4 20, Freeman 0-2 0-0 0, Doolittle 0-2 6-6 6, Polla 0-0 0-0 0, McNeace 1-3 0-0 2, McGusty 0-3 0-0 0, Giles 0-0 0-0 0, Shepherd 1-4 1-1 3, Lazenby 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 10-13 69.
KANSAS ST. (13-5)
Sneed 4-7 2-2 13, Wade 9-16 0-0 21, Mawien 2-2 0-0 4, Diarra 6-8 2-2 16, Brown 10-17 4-4 24, Stockard 2-4 0-0 4, McAtee 0-0 0-0 0, Sallah 0-0 0-0 0, Love 0-0 0-0 0, McGuirl 1-3 0-0 2, Wainright 0-2 0-0 0, Kinnamon 0-0 0-0 0, Patrick 1-3 0-0 3, Schoen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-62 8-8 87.
Halftime — Kansas St. 38-33. 3-Point Goals_Oklahoma 7-25 (James 2-3, Manek 2-7, Young 2-10, Odomes 1-1, McGusty 0-2, Freeman 0-2), Kansas St. 9-17 (Wade 3-3, Sneed 3-5, Diarra 2-3, Patrick 1-2, McGuirl 0-1, Wainright 0-1, Brown 0-2). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Oklahoma 36 (Doolittle 8), Kansas St. 26 (Wade 7). Assists — Oklahoma 13 (Young 6), Kansas St. 19 (Wade 7). Total Fouls — Oklahoma 14, Kansas St. 16. A — 10,744 (12,528).