MANHATTAN — Someone obviously needed to step up Wednesday for Kansas State.
One look at the protective boot Kamau Stokes was wearing on his left leg was sufficient proof.
No better man then to give the Wildcats a lift than the other member of their backcourt duo, Barry Brown.
The junior guard did a little of everything, but most importantly netted a career-high 38 points, as Kansas State toppled Oklahoma State 86-82 in Bramlage Coliseum.
Brown authored the best individual performance by a Wildcat since Jacob Pullen scored 38 against Kansas on Feb. 14, 2011. Brown’s six steals were the second-most by a Wildcat in a conference game in school history and the most ever in a Big 12 game.
Brown scored 26 of his points in the second half on 8-for-10 shooting, including 18 of the first 22 points the Cats scored in the half after trailing 34-33 at the break.
Two fast-break buckets off steals showed off the sneaky positioning he can get while finishing drives. Another drive in the half-court included some kind of dazzling Euro-crossover move.
Yes, Brown definitely showed what he can do for you if you happened to be a K-State fan fretting over two consecutive defeats in Big 12 play. The Cats improved to 12-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference entering an 11 a.m. game Saturday at Kansas.
The backcourt replacement for Stokes, who is out indefinitely with an injury he suffered in a loss Saturday at Texas Tech, also sparkled.
Freshman Cartier Diarra moved into the starting lineup and added 17 points. A 3-pointer by Diarra with 5:19 remaining helped K-State gain separation as part of a 12-4 run after the game was tied at 58.
K-State weathered a late comeback bid by Oklahoma State, which found the Cats parading to the line in the final minute. They made seven of their last eight free throws. Brown was 11 of 16 from the stripe.
Sophomore forward Xavier Sneed added his first double-double with a career-high 12 rebounds, while scoring 11 points.
Sophomore guard Brandon Averette scored 22 points and senior wing Jeffrey Carroll added 20 to lead Oklahoma State (11-5, 1-3). The Cowboys managed a 37-28 rebounding advantage behind nine boards from senior forward Mitchell Solomon.
K-State jumped to a 13-6 lead and then went up by nine, 27-18, with 5:59 to go in the first half.
Oklahoma State stormed back, however, scoring on all but two of its last 10 first-half possessions. A dunk with 46 seconds left by Mitchell Solomon gave the Cowboys a 34-33 halftime edge.
Brown scored 12 first-half points as the Cats moved the ball well offensively, but the Pokes countered by getting to the rim consistently late in the half. OSU shot just 36.4 percent in the half, but exerted its authority on the glass with a 23-15 advantage.