STILLWATER, Okla. — Kansas State finally made the plays late to claim its first Big 12 road win.
Barry Brown scored 22 points to help the Wildcats defeat Oklahoma State 96-88 on Wednesday night.
D.J. Johnson scored 18 points and Wesley Iwundu added 15 for the Wildcats (14-4, 3-3 Big 12), who had lost two straight and three of four to fall out of the Top 25. Included are a 2-point loss at Kansas and a one-point loss at Texas Tech.
“This is a great win for us,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “Last year, we didn’t win that many road games, and to come in here and in a great atmosphere and pull this win out — it’s great for our team. We all know what we’re capable of here, and to come in here and finish this win — it’s big.”
Kansas State shot 56.3 percent from the field to deny Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood his 100th career win.
Jeffrey Carroll matched a career high with 24 points and Jawun Evans added 20 for the Cowboys (10-8, 0-6), who lost their sixth straight and haven’t won since Dec. 22. The past five losses have come by 10 or fewer points.
“It’s very tough, because nobody likes losing,” Evans said. “We’re playing great teams, we just got to have that dog in this, get one win at least.”
Underwood, a Kansas State graduate who later was an assistant coach there, was disappointed that the Cowboys didn’t defend well enough to give themselves a chance in the 1,000th Oklahoma State game played at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We are struggling to guard the ball and we haven’t fought very well to do it,” Underwood said. “Iwundu just jumped over the top of us. It didn’t matter what we did, man or zone, but it’s a trend. It’s a bad one for us.”
Oklahoma State led 54-51 at halftime behind 15 points from Carroll and 14 from Evans. Kansas State shot 53 percent, but trailed because Oklahoma State made 9 of 14 3-pointers before the break.
The Wildcats led for most of the second half, but Oklahoma State kept it close. Kansas State finally gained control for good in the final minutes. Johnson was fouled while making a putback basket, and the free throw put the Wildcats up eight with just over two minutes to play. Brown followed with a 3-pointer from NBA range to make it an 11-point game.
“We talked the last few days about having the right attitude,” Weber said. “It’s got to be about us and doing it together, coming in with emotion. We had to fight. They’re feisty.”
The Wildcats could jump back into the Top 25 if they can knock off No. 7 West Virginia on Saturday. The Mountaineers lost at home to Oklahoma on Wednesday night and will need a win to stay within range of conference leaders Kansas (6-0) and Baylor (5-1).
Evans made 7 of 17 shots against Kansas State and has connected on just 27 of 84 shots from the field during the six-game losing skid.
MISSED FREE THROW
Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte missed a free throw. That’s not normally news, but Forte entered the night as the nation’s leader in free throw percentage (.962). It was only his third miss of the season.
Johnson, the conference leader in field goal percentage at just under 63 percent entering the night, improved his percentage by making 7 of 9. … Iwundu reached the 1,000 point mark in career points.
Kansas State hosts No. 7 West Virginia on Saturday.