SE: Wade's Career Night Surges Cats Past Oklahoma State

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - K-State freshman Dean Wade said earlier this week he couldn’t wait to get to Sprint Center in Kansas City for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. 

He said he wanted to “make noise” in Kansas City, and that’s exactly what he did. 

Last night, the freshman forward from St. John, Kansas, used a stellar career high 20-point performance to help the No. 8-seed Wildcats (17-15) take down ninth-seeded Oklahoma State (12-20), 75-71, in the first round of the conference tournament. 

“It was nice to have Dean really step up on the big stage in the tournament and play well tonight,” said Weber following last night’s win. “We knew it’s been there at times all year for Dean, and he was big time for us tonight. He gave us the chance to win.” 

Along with his game-high 20 points that featured a 6-of-9 effort from the field and a 3-of-3 performance from behind the arc, Wade grabbed six rebounds and dished out one assist in his 35 minutes on the court. 

“It’s good for him going forward,” said junior forward Wesley Iwundu, who finished the game with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. “It’s a good confidence booster. He needed a game like this and we needed a game like this from him.” 

His showing in last night’s win only added to what’s been an exciting week for the 6-foot-10 freshman. On Monday, Wade was named to the Big 12 Conference’s All-Newcomer team after averaging 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in the regular season. 

He’s been a key factor for the Wildcats all season, and after last night’s performance – his 16th game scoring in double figures – his future couldn’t look any brighter. 

“He’s had huge games (this season),” said Weber. “He keeps showing us glimmers of what he can be. When it clicks, he’s going to be special. And tonight, he was special.” 

Growing up in the state of Kansas, Wade has always followed the Big 12 closely. He watched the tournament every year and dreamed about the day he’d be at that level, playing in a nationally-viewed tournament in March. 

“It was like a dream come true,” said Wade after the win with a smile stretching from ear to ear. “When I was little, I always dreamed about playing in this tournament, so to have a good game, it really felt like a dream. It was very exciting; it was exciting to be out there on the big stage.” 

After last night’s win, the road doesn’t get any easier for K-State. Wade and the Wildcats return to the floor this afternoon to take on the Big 12 regular-season conference champions and Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship No. 1 seed Kansas (27-4) at 1:30 p.m. 

“The K-State-KU games are always intense rivalry games,” said Wade. “It’s a big game for us. We’re just going to go back to the hotel, get some rest and bring it back tomorrow.”  
  
Today’s game will be aired nationally on ESPN2 with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline) on the call. Fans can also listen to today’s game across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action. 

“Now we have No. 1 again,” said Weber on today’s matchup. “We played No. 1 Oklahoma a couple of times and found a way to win, and we’ve played Kansas a couple of times; we just have to go and play. Obviously we’re going to have to play at a high level, but it should be fun for our guys being a part of March Madness.” 

For highlights, game notes, photos, stats and more on last night’s win, please click here. 


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