MANHATTAN (TNS) — Kansas State has produced some encouraging basketball scores this season.
A 77-68 victory over Oral Roberts on Wednesday at Bramlage Coliseum was not one of them.
The Wildcats (6-1) turned in their worst performance of the year, failing to pull away from the Golden Eagles (1-7) and needing a big effort from Dean Wade just to survive. They appeared lost against zone defense and attempted 26 three-pointers, making eight. They failed to create turnovers and they rarely played with energy.
Calling this an ugly win might be an understatement.
K-State built a 24-10 lead midway through the first half, but played is if its players were sleepwalking from there. Oral Roberts hung around the rest of the way. The Wildcats needed 25 points and 11 rebounds from Wade to stay in the lead, and they needed late baskets from Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes to pull comfortably ahead.
That was surprising. This was supposed to be a romp.
Oral Roberts entered the game on a six-game losing streak with its only win coming at home against a NAIA opponent. It lost at Oklahoma State 91-48, at Penn State 86-48 and at Tulsa 90-71.
Oral Roberts is one of the nation’s worst teams, yet it gave K-State a competitive game.
If not for Wade, the Golden Eagles might have pulled off an upset. The junior forward made 9 of 14 shots on his way to a game-high 25 points. He was involved in all areas, grabbing 11 rebounds and sending out two assists.
Stokes added 12 points, but he was the only other K-State player to reach double figures.
Sam Kearns led Oral Roberts with 21 points, Javan White had 14 points and Albert Owens scored 13.
After splitting a pair of challenging games against Arizona State and George Washington at the Las Vegas Invitational last week, K-State coach Bruce Weber said he figured out the Wildcats were a good team.
Perhaps that is still true, but K-State will need to play much better than this to win its next game at Vanderbilt on Sunday.