Kansas State University

Kansas State upsets No. 1 Oklahoma 80-69

Kansas State guard Barry Brown (5) celebrates after Kansas State knocked off No.1-ranked Oklahoma 80-69 on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.
Kansas State guard Barry Brown (5) celebrates after Kansas State knocked off No.1-ranked Oklahoma 80-69 on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. TNS

Before Kansas State defeated No. 1 Oklahoma 80-69 on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum, coach Bruce Weber took extreme measures to ensure the Wildcats thought they could beat the nation’s top-ranked team.

He showed his players highlights of previous K-State teams that upset No. 1 teams at home. Then he sat them in the Wildcats’ student section and instructed them to picture the eruption of cheers that would occur in those seats should they beat the Sooners. Finally, he ordered them onto the court for a mock court-storming.

Run to midcourt, jump up and down and wait for thousands of enthusiastic supporters to join them for a party. Weber covered every detail.

“This is what you will have a chance to enjoy,” Weber told them, “and be part of a special legacy as one of the teams to beat a No.1 team in Bramlage. That is something they can remember for their whole lives.”

The motivational tactics worked to perfection.

“It got me really excited and brought back a lot of memories,” said K-State junior forward D.J. Johnson, after scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds. “It got me thinking, man, we can do this. I was screaming at the video board, just yelling. It brought back a lot of positive emotion and brought back a lot of confidence that we can do this if we just stick together and stick to the game plan.”

The Wildcats, 14-9 overall and 3-7 in the Big 12, responded with an inspired effort and their best performance of the season. They knocked off the Sooners, 19-3 and 7-3, with an effort full of moxie, timely shots and defense.

It was the high-water mark of the season, K-State’s first victory against a ranked opponent after eight failed attempts and its first victory over a No. 1 team since 2011, when it defeated Kansas in this same arena.

“My emotions were running,” junior guard Wesley Iwundu said of the win. “It was high emotions from the get-go, from the beginning of the game. Coach Weber was just building up the emotions before the game, days before. Emotions were running high.”

Iwundu led the way with 22 points and a sensational defensive performance against Sooners star Buddy Hield.

Hield, the nation’s second-leading scorer entered the game averaging 25.8 points, but Iwundu limited him to 23 on 16 attempts.

Iwundu forced Hield out of his comfort zone and into several bad shots, at one point chucking up an air ball. Hield had six points in the first half, and deferred to his teammates for much of the second. It wasn’t until K-State possessed a sizable lead late that Hield scored the majority of his points, ignoring his teammates and driving to the hoop with reckless abandon.

“I should have done that earlier,” Hield said. “I just have to do a better job. They had a great game trying to defend me.”

Iwundu was up for the challenge. Weber asked freshman Barry Brown to defend Hield last month, and Hield scored 31 points in an Oklahoma victory. Iwundu wanted Hield in the rematch.

“Just make everything tough for him,” Iwundu said of his defensive strategy. “He is a good player, a great player. I knew he was going to get his shots off. My job was just to chase him, make him tired, make everything tough for him. I wanted him to take tough shots.”

Weber couldn’t have asked for more.

“To beat a team like that, as good as Oklahoma is, you have to have a player step up and be special,” Weber said. “Well, Wes was really, really special.”

Several other K-State players also stepped up. Weber asked for more from Justin Edwards and Dean Wade leading up to the game, and took them out of the starting lineup in an attempt to further motivate them. He told Edwards to start playing like a senior. He ordered Wade to stop acting like a zombie.

That strategy worked, too.

Wade came off the bench and scored 17 points, draining seven of 11 shots, with Edwards adding 11 points and seven rebounds.

“Dean came back,” Weber said. “That was the real Dean Wade we thought we would have all year.”

This was the type of victory K-State players thought they would have several of this season. Though this was their first win over a ranked team, they had several close calls, including a pair of double-overtime losses.

Finally, they broke through.

“We have always had the focus to where we think we can beat any team,” Johnson said. “We just haven’t closed it out. This is a weight lifted off our shoulders. The next time it comes around we won’t have that much pressure on us, and that should help us take down Baylor (on Wednesday), as well.”

Afterward, players admitted the game unfolded how they envisioned, with one exception. A crowd that roared throughout the afternoon didn’t rush the court. Arena security kept students in the bleachers, despite players pleading with students to charge onto the hardwood. Weber went so far as to say he was disappointed they stayed off the floor.

No matter. K-State players went to the students instead of the other way around, storming the bleachers and starting a party that wasn’t rehearsed.

It was a scene to remember, and an appropriate end to the day K-State beat No. 1.

KANSAS STATE 80

No. 1 OKLAHOMA 69

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Oklahoma

Min

FG-A

FT-A

O-R

A

PF

PT

Spangler

37

6-13

2-5

5-10

1

2

14

Lattin

19

3-4

0-0

1-2

0

5

6

Woodard

29

0-6

0-0

0-2

6

3

0

Cousins

37

5-9

4-4

0-4

2

5

16

Hield

38

7-16

6-6

1-4

2

3

23

Buford

19

2-5

1-2

0-2

0

4

5

Walker

15

2-3

0-0

1-2

0

3

5

Manyang

5

0-1

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

James

1

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

TEAM

   

0-2

   

Totals

200

25-58

13-17

8-29

11

26

69

Percentages: FG .431, FT .765. Three-Point Goals: 6-24, .250 (Hield 3-8, Cousins 2-5, Walker 1-2, James 0-1, Buford 0-1, Spangler 0-3, Woodard 0-4). Blocked Shots: 2 (Manyang, Woodard). Turnovers: 11 (Cousins 3, Hield 3, Woodard 3, Buford, Manyang). Steals: 8 (Woodard 4, Spangler 2, Walker, Lattin). Technical Fouls: Cousins. Fouled Out: Lattin, Cousins.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

K-State

Min

FG-A

FT-A

O-R

A

PF

PT

Johnson

23

5-6

2-3

3-8

1

4

12

Hurt

19

1-3

2-2

1-2

0

1

5

Ervin II

16

0-2

0-0

0-2

2

0

0

Brown

30

2-8

5-6

1-2

1

4

9

Iwundu

38

7-11

7-8

0-1

7

4

22

Edwards

36

3-7

4-8

3-7

3

1

11

Wade

27

7-11

0-2

1-7

3

4

17

Budke

11

2-3

0-1

1-1

0

1

4

Rohleder

0

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

TEAM

   

0-6

   

Totals

200

27-51

20-30

10-36

17

19

80

Percentages: FG .529, FT .667. Three-Point Goals: 6-13, .462 (Wade 3-6, Hurt 1-1, Iwundu 1-1, Edwards 1-3, Brown 0-2). Blocked Shots: 1 (Johnson). Turnovers: 15 (Hurt 4, Brown 3, Ervin II 3, Edwards 2, Johnson 2, Iwundu). Steals: 7 (Iwundu 3, Edwards 2, Wade, Ervin II). Technical Fouls: None. Fouled Out: None.

Half: Kansas State 38-32. Attendance: 12,528. Officials: Paul Janssen, Kipp Kissinger, Michael Greenstein.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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