The first game was close. So was the rematch. The third game was an absolute slugfest.
Kansas State defeated TCU 66-64 in overtime on Thursday at Sprint Center to advance to the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, where the Wildcats will play the winner of Thursday afternoon's Kansas-Oklahoma State game on Friday.
Barry Brown kept the Wildcats’ hopes for a trophy alive by hitting a floater in traffic with 11.2 seconds remaining in overtime. It was a big shot for himself and the team. He had a similar opportunity to ice the game on the final possession of regulation and missed.
He found redemption a few minutes later.
K-State players celebrated wildly when it was final. This one of their most hard-fought games of the season.
It seemed like the Wildcats were on their way to a much less stressful victory until Desmond Bane hit a three-pointer as time expired in regulation.
K-State led 59-56 on its final possession. A basket of any kind would win the game for the Wildcats. With that in mind, they gave the ball to Barry Brown behind the arc and he drove at the basket before pulling back for a jumper near the free-throw line as the clock ticked under 10 seconds.
The shot missed long, giving TCU just enough time to bring the ball up the court and kick it to guard Desmond Bane in the corner. He hoisted a three as the buzzer sounded and swished it. When it held up on video review, the game went to overtime.
Many will argue K-State should have fouled TCU on its final possession, as sending the Horned Frogs to the free-throw line would have taken a potential game-tying shot off the table, and that’s fair. But without a timeout to discuss strategy before the play, that was difficult to execute amid the final scramble.
The game went back and forth in overtime and the score was tied 64-64 with 34.5 seconds remaining.
Brown called for the ball in another clutch situation and made a shot that kept the Wildcats dancing.
He finished with 11 points and five rebounds, so it wasn’t one of his best games. But he came through when it mattered.
This was an odd game for the Wildcats. Brown didn’t contribute at his normal levels, and neither did Dean Wade, who had 12 points and three rebounds. Without their stars flexing their muscles, other players stepped up.
Makol Mawien was the player of the game, doing work in the paint on his way to 16 points and nine rebounds. Xavier Sneed also had 12 points.
TCU fought back and threatened to win several times behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from Kenrich Williams. Alex Robinson had 16 points.
The Horned Frogs will head back to Fort Worth and await their NCAA Tournament destination.
The Wildcats can probably lock themselves into a bid now, if they hadn’t already. But they can worry about the NCAA Tournament at a later time. For now, their Big 12 Tournament hopes remain alive.