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Cats shake off OU rally, win 75-64

By Joel Jellison

After Kansas State lost a close game in controversial fashion on Tuesday at Kansas, Wildcat coach Bruce Weber urged his team to use their feelings as motivation against Oklahoma.

“I told them come out angry,” Weber said. “Come out pissed off. I just said guard the heck out of them, get the ball, run, push it, share the basketball and you’ll win the game.”

The Wildcats responded, building a 16-point halftime lead and then turning away a rally from the Sooners in the second half to win, 75-64, on Saturday in Bramlage Coliseum. The win is the 350th inside Bramlage in program history.

Sophomore guard Kamau Stokes said after Tuesday’s loss, which ended with a game-winning shot from Kansas despite what looked like a clear traveling violation that went uncalled, the Wildcats were ready to get back on the court.

“It was very beneficial for us to get back and to come out with a lot of aggression, show people that we can play,” Stokes said. “We just basically used our frustration as a push for us to come out the way we did.”

In a first half where seemingly everything went right, the Wildcats (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) used an 11-0 run with 3s from Stokes and Barry Brown in the opening minutes to go ahead 14-3.

K-State followed that with a 9-0 run led by Dean Wade to extend the lead to 25-9.

“K-State opened the ball game and played sharp and played great,” Oklahoma coach and former K-State coach and player Lon Kruger said. “They set the tone and popped us. We didn’t respond very well to that.”

The Sooners (6-8, 0-3) tried to battle back and pulled within 10 with 7:01 to play in the half, but the Wildcats got a 3 from Wade in the middle of a 7-1 run to push ahead 36-20. Stokes ended the period with a 3 of his own to put K-State ahead 43-27 at halftime.

“The starters were really good,” Weber said. “I thought Kam and Dean, in the first half, had a great half.”

The lead didn’t last. Oklahoma went on a 12-5 run out of the locker room to cut the lead to single digits.

Oklahoma came as close as six points after a 3-point play from Kameron McGusty with 10:42 left in the game.

“They just said we’re throwing it into the post and you decide what you’re going to do,” Weber said. (Khadeem) Lattin made a shot, (Jamuni) McNeace went in and made a couple shots. We doubled and they kicked it (out) and made a three, and we gave them two or three layups. That always gives (a team) a little bit of confidence.”

Xavier Sneed brought momentum back to the K-State side with a put-back dunk off of a D.J. Johnson miss, and Barry Brown made a bucket and a 3 and assisted a Carlbe Ervin layup to push the Wildcats ahead 63-52.

Stokes said the Wildcats didn’t sustain their energy from the first half into the second, and it took some time to get going again.

“Second half we just came out and we were too lackadaisical,” Stokes said. “We were going through the motions.”

The Sooners came as close as seven points of the K-State lead over the next few minutes, but the Wildcats pulled away from the free-throw line in the final 2:38 of the contest.

All five K-State starters finished in double figures for the second straight game, led by 16 points from Wesley Iwundu. Brown scored 14 and Stokes had 13. Wade scored 12 and Johnson finished with 10.

McGusty led the Oklahoma effort with 20 points off of the bench. Darrion Strong-Moore and Rashard Odomes each scored 10 points for the Sooners.

K-State goes on the road Tuesday for a matchup at Texas Tech. The game starts at 8:15 p.m. on ESPNews.

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