No. 12 K-State tops Missouri 82-67 to win Paradise Jam championship
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Dean Wade wanted nothing more than to win a regular-season tournament title for Kansas State coach Bruce Weber.
Wade helped the 12th-ranked Wildcats deliver, scoring 21 points as Kansas State defeated Missouri 82-67 Monday night in the championship game of the Paradise Jam tournament.
The Wildcats (5-0) won their first regular-season tournament championship in four tries under Weber, and Kansas State’s first since 2011.
“A lot of it has to do with the past three years,” Wade said. “We’ve had the games, and we’ve let them slip away. This year, we came out and kept the foot on the pedal. That was a big step for us maturing as a team.”
Barry Brown. Jr. added 19 points and six assists, Xavier Sneed had 13 points and Kamau Stokes scored 10 for Kansas State, which used a big run at the end the first half to help put the Tigers away.
“It’s all part of growing as a team and getting better,” Weber said. “We had a great run last year, and we’ve had some good moments with all the seniors each year. But now, can we be special and take that next step? This was our first big challenge.”
Jordan Geist had 24 points, Xavier Pinson added 12 and Mark Smith 11 for Missouri (3-2), which trailed by as many as eight points in the first 5½ minutes.
However, the Tigers rallied to tie the game four times, the last at 27-all on Reed Nikko’s dunk with 4:17 remaining.
Wade — named the tournament’s most valuable player — hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 13-0 run to close the first half by the Wildcats, who took a 40-27 lead at the break on Cartier Diarra’s layup with two seconds remaining.
Kansas State would extend its lead to as many as 22 points in the second half, going up 58-36 on Levi Stockard’s layup with 12:50 left.
The Tigers would pull no closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
The Wildcats shot 54.5 percent (30 of 55) from the field Monday, and made a season-best 50 percent of their 3-point attempts (12 of 24).
“I thought K-State shot the ball well from 3, that’s the biggest thing,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Wade made some great plays, getting to the rim. He made 3-point shots — he was 0-for-4 going into the game, but he made those shots, and it just opened it up for him. His confidence grew, and that made the difference.”