MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Kansas State coach Bruce Weber gripped the stat sheet, glanced over at senior guard Justin Edwards and the two shared a smile.
“That was fun,” Weber quipped.
Edwards affirmed the statement with an exaggerated nod. After a string of close losses during the month of February, Kansas State finally got to enjoy a blowout win.
Barry Brown scored 15 points on 5 of 8 3-pointers, Edwards added 12 more in his final home game, and Kansas State routed TCU 79-54 on Wednesday night.
“With all the close games we’ve had, all the heartbreaking games, it was good for them to enjoy this,” Weber said. “We played the game the right way.”
Brown and Edwards combined to hit eight of Kansas State’s 10 3-pointers. Wesley Iwundu finished with 11 points and seven assists for the Wildcats (16-14, 5-12 Big 12).
“We had two of our best practices this past week,” Edwards said. “I feel like everyone’s confidence has increased, and I feel like the players today just played for us seniors. It all just fell into place.”
Brown hit his fourth 3-pointer with 13:37 left to stretch a 19-point halftime advantage to 58-33. Dean Wade gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game — 31 points — with a pair of free throws late as the seniors looked on from the bench.
Chauncey Collins led TCU (11-19, 2-15) with 11 points. The visitors finished 18 of 54 from the field (33 percent).
“That was a good `ol fashion beat down,” Horned Frogs coach Trent Johnson said. “I had concerns going in because we were fatigued. But I don’t want to take anything away from K-State — they shot the ball really well.”
Kansas State shot 76 percent from the field in the first half, including a scorching 6 of 9 from deep, to take a commanding 47-28 lead into the break. It was the seventh-highest shooting percentage in a half in school history and the best since December 2014.
The rout didn’t start immediately, though.
The Wildcats turned the ball over on their first three possessions, then scored TCU’s first bucket on a goaltend call, all before the under-16 media timeout.
The Horned Frogs couldn’t take advantage, missing five of their first seven shots, as Kansas State regrouped and went on a 14-0 run. Senior guard and former walk-on Brian Rohleder — who had tallied just eight points in his career — capped off the half by converting a jumper at the buzzer.
TCU’s shooting woes continued into the second half. The Horned Frogs dipped from 39 percent from the field in the first half to 30 percent with just under eight minutes to play. They finished 9 of 31 in the second half.
Brown stretched Kansas State’s lead to 67-39 with 12:37 to play with his fifth and final 3-pointer. Edwards exited the game to hugs from his teammates following a tough finish at the basket.
“I keep telling them we’re going to finish on a good note,” Weber said. “If they keep believing, keep doing the right things, we’ll finish on a positive note. I still believe that, and hopefully this will springboard into some more good things.”
Rohleder has been a fan favorite during his time at Kansas State despite playing less than four minutes a game in his career. On Wednesday, he was rewarded with a buzzer beater:
“It wouldn’t have even happened if it wasn’t for Austin Budke diving on the floor and playing hard, then kicking it to Wesley who passed it to me. If it wasn’t for my teammates, it would’ve have happened, but it was pretty cool that it did happen. It’s something I will never forget.”
TCU: The Horned Frogs have lost five conference games by 20 points or more this season.
Kansas State: The Wildcats entered carrying a three-game home losing streak, the program’s longest drought since dropping three straight from Feb. 5-19, 2005. . Senior Stephen Hurt grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds. . Kansas State finished with 26 made field goals, 23 of which were assisted on.
TCU: Hosts No. 6 Oklahoma on Saturday
Kansas State: At Texas Tech on Saturday
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