SE: Wade’s Double-Double Helps K-State to Win Over Missouri
A different player has led K-State in scoring in each of its four games this season.
First, it was Wesley Iwundu who carried K-State past Maryland-Eastern Shore with 23 points. Then came Justin Edwards’ big night against Columbia where he scored 19. The following game, against South Dakota, it was Barry Brown’s turn to lead the Cats, and he did so with an 18-point performance.
So last night, it was Dean Wade’s turn.
Wade paced the Wildcats (4-0) in a 66-42 victory over Missouri (2-2) in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Semifinal, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
“(My coaches) have been on me pretty hard lately, so I just wanted to be aggressive, box out and crash the boards,” said Wade, who notched his first career double-double status with 12 minutes still left in the game. “That was my main focus tonight: being aggressive. It worked out.”
Like it did last night, things have been working out well early in the season for the 6-foot-10 freshman forward from St. John, Kansas. Wade has started all four games this year and is averaging 13 points per contest, but his success has come as no surprise to Wildcat head coach Bruce Weber.
“He’s a good player,” said Weber after last night’s win. “He’s such a good young man. He’s got a great drive. We’ve been on him about defensive rebounding, and tonight he responded against bigger, more athletic guys than we played the first few games. It is a big transition from St. John (High School) to here, but he’s such a good young man; he wants to learn and he wants to do well.”
Along with Wade, Edwards and Iwundu also scored in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Defensively, the Wildcats held the Tigers to just 30.9-percent shooting (17-of-55) from the field, including an 18.5-percent mark in the first half (5-of-27). It was the fewest points allowed an opponent since 2013.
“We hit the scouting report heavy,” said Iwundu, who, along with his 10 points, snagged eight rebounds and dished out four assists. “Coming into a game like this, it was a rivalry game, so there was a lot more focus. We felt like we had to accomplish the task at hand and we did.”
Last night’s win secured K-State a spot in tomorrow evening’s CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship game where the Wildcats will take on No. 9/8 North Carolina (4-1) at 9 p.m., in the Sprint Center in Kansas City. It will be the first meeting with the Tar Heels since 1989.
“I hope our guys appreciate the challenge,” said Weber about the opportunity to take on one of the nation’s top teams. “That’s why you play in these tournaments, to have these opportunities. We have a little bit of an advantage playing here (in Kansas City). If (North Carolina) takes care of their business tonight, it would be a great opportunity for our guys to play a top-10 team because we’re going to play a lot more top-10 teams. A bunch of the teams in our league are up there, so we’re going to have a lot of opportunities this season.”
And the first of those opportunities begins tonight.
Tonight’s matchup won’t be an easy one by any means, but the Wildcats have proven to be a force to be reckoned with this season and are ready for whatever the path throws their way.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” closed Wade about his first collegiate game outside of Bramlage Coliseum. “It was intense. It was loud. There were tons of people there, and I tried to stay focused and do what I had to do. I’m excited (for the next game). The competition is rising; I’m ready.”
For more information on tonight’s matchup against 9/8 North Carolina, please click here.