MANHATTAN — If it wasn’t for a career night from junior forward Dean Wade, K-State might have fallen victim to one of the biggest upsets of the college basketball season so far. Wade’s career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds helped K-State (6-1) defeat Oral Roberts (1-7) by a final score of 77-68 Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.
“We didn’t play well. We weren’t sharp. One thing I asked the players was ‘who’s going to give the special effort?’ (Wade) did. Thank goodness for that. He came through. He didn’t have much help. I kind of thought were were at the point where we’d have good consistency from the older guys, and you hope the bench grows as you go. We didn’t have great consistency (Wednesday night),” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said.
Junior guard Kamau Stokes, who contributed 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting and grabbed six rebounds, gave his assessment of his team’s performance Wednesday.
“A win is a win. We’re definitely not happy with the win. We’ve got to move forward,” Stokes said.
Wade scored 15 of his 25 points in the second half, when K-State was attempting to hold back a rally by Oral Roberts. Wade talked about what got him going in the second half.
“In the first half, we got a little stagnant in (Oral Roberts’) zone. In the second half, we made a big emphasis on movement — not just standing, but cutting through the zone. We had to attack the zone from the middle. My teammates did a really good job of moving and getting me really open shots,”
Weber talked about Wade’s game Wednesday.
“We always talk about protecting home court, and we are 5-0 now at home, but on the board I said ‘special effort’. (Wade) has 25 points, a career high, 11 rebounds, almost a career high, and 14 on the play hard chart. He gave us a special effort and made a lot of big plays when we needed him. I thought there were a couple easy ones in the middle of the zone that I think he was so surprised of how open he was, he short-armed or quick shot it. It is good to see him do that. If we are going to be good our older guys have to be good and consistent and that will help the bench. There is no doubt about that. To me, the most disappointing thing is that we did not get to play the bench more because it was a grind-out game. It is what it is,” Weber said.
K-State struggled on the defensive end in the first half. Oral Roberts shot 48 percent from the field in the first half, and trailed by only eight points at the half. Weber talked about his team’s defensive struggles Wednesday.
““We took a step back especially in the first half. They beat us with dribbles. On the scouting report, we talked about post trapping the big guy (Oral Roberts senior center Albert Owens) and not letting him go to his right shoulder. We just were not there and were not in sync. I thought we had two good practices coming back on Sunday and Monday. It was very physical and feisty. We made some strides there but we just did not come mentally engaged like we needed to, especially on the defensive end,” Weber said.
Wade talked about some of the things that his team needs to focus on tightening up in practice.
“Everything. We didn’t play very good (Wednesday). It’s good that we got a win, but we have to be more focused on defense. We need to be more aggressive on rebounding. The offense will come from the defense. As long as we stay focused on defense and stay with (Weber’s) plan, I think we’ll be fine,” Wade said.
K-State will be back in action Sunday, as it will travel to Nashville, Tenn. for its first true road game at Vanderbilt. The game will start at 1:30 p.m.