Kansas State upset No. 9 Baylor, 70-64, in the Big 12 quarterfinals Thursday, with sophomore guard Barry Brown scoring a game-high 21 points.
“It was a great effort by our kids,” Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Obviously a lot on the line. They stepped up and we guarded really well, we fought, and when it counted, we made some big plays. I thought our point guard play, Kamau Stokes and Wesley Iwundu made some great reads and got it to some people for easy hoops. Barry Brown (had) the game of his life.”
Brown shot 4-of-4 from three and 9-of-13 from the foul line to finish with 21 points, this after scoring 24 points in his last four games combined. He also had three steals, two assists, two blocks and two rebounds.
“You talk about someone being magical in March Madness,” Weber said.
Kansas State also got 19 points off the bench – its second-highest total of the season. The Wildcats shot 52.3 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from distance.
“When you make shots, it makes the coach looks good,” Weber said. “We made the key plays and key baskets at the right time. Just a great effort by our kids. I’m very proud of them. We’ve had some ups and downs, but they’ve stuck with it and stayed together. Now we’ve got to do it (Friday) night against West Virginia.”
Indeed, Kansas State (20-12) plays West Virginia (25-7) in the Big 12 semifinals Friday at 9 p.m. ET. The Wildcats went 1-1 against West Virginia this season. They won 79-75 in Manhattan on Jan. 21 and lost 85-66 in Morgantown on Feb. 11, albeit without senior forward D.J. Johnson, who had 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks against Baylor.
“That’s our physical presence,” Weber said. “That’s our inside guy. That’s a guy that makes a difference. We got to take care of the ball against the press. We’ve got to make good decisions. We’ve done that both times. Now you got to protect the paint, just like against Baylor, and fight for easy (rebounds and baskets). I think they might have had 50 points in the paint last time. If we’re going to give that up again, we have no chance. Hopefully our guys will do a better job of fighting in the paint.”