Forgive Barry Brown for refusing to take solace in his career-best outing Wednesday.
The Kansas State sophomore guard tallied 21 points against Iowa State, the most in a game in his one-year-plus K-State career, and he secured his first 3-pointer since the Wildcats lost to TCU Feb. 1.
But the triple was a diamond in the rough that was the Wildcats’ dismal first half, and it was instead a 3-pointer from the Cyclones’ Matt Thomas with a shade over three minutes to play that doomed K-State to its sixth loss in seven games.
For that reason, Brown had a hard time walking away content from his team’s 87-79 loss in Manhattan.
“It’s good to see that my work in the gym is paying off, but we didn’t come up with the win, so it doesn’t matter,” he said.
Brown canned his one trey in the first half to trim K-State’s deficit to 36-22, and he added to his first-half stats with a jumper minutes later.
But the Wildcats didn’t score the rest of the first half. They were staring down the barrel of a 42-26 halftime hole.
Brown changed tons for K-State in the second period, but it took some time for him to hit the stride that—nearly—led his Wildcats all the way back.
The Florida native registered five points in the opening minutes before an official hit him with a technical foul, and Iowa State’s resulting free throws pushed its lead to 15 with under 10 minutes to play.
Brown didn’t think it was a fair call. He said he was surprised when the official pointed at him for the foul.
“All I did was tell (the ref) that (an Iowa State player) pushed off. That’s all I said,” Brown said. “Maybe my emotions were just high. I shouldn’t have gotten a technical.”
From there, though, Brown was sharp—a sigh of relief. He hadn’t scored in double figures since K-State lost to Tennessee Jan 28.
The technical was seemingly Brown’s only lapse in the half, and he responded emphatically.
His and-1 minutes later kicked off what ended as a 9-2 K-State run. The Bramlage Coliseum crowd, once a combination of disappointed and frustrated in the first half, and again when Iowa State responded to K-State’s 12-0 run, roused once more.
Brown’s final two buckets came on back-to-back occasions, the first a banked jumper, the second a layup.
He was a little more patient; got to the basket,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said of Brown’s showing.
The last layup gave Brown his 21st point on a 9-for-14 shooting effort, by far his best game in several weeks after missing all five of his shots Saturday against West Virginia.
“I hope so,” Brown said of whether or not his game Wednesday broke him out of his slump. “I’m just in the gym trying to help my teammates out, especially on the offensive end.”
He shone Wednesday as his team continued to skid, though—so as much a load off his shoulders as posting 21 points was, he can’t feel satisfied. He lost, after all.
Asked how much he appreciated his performance, Brown’s answer was short.
Said Brown: “Not at all.”