MANHATTAN — No sooner had his Kansas State Wildcats knocked off the No. 20-ranked Oklahoma Sooners on the road last Wednesday than Bruce Weber threw out a challenge.

Really it was the same one he issued a couple of weeks earlier, when K-State was languishing in the Big 12 cellar at 0-2. It was all about poise and maturity, only this time the scenario was different.

Coming off an impressive two-game road trip and with the league lead now in sight, the Wildcats played like the veteran team Weber had envisioned all along Saturday against TCU, keeping the ball rolling with a solid 65-55 victory at Bramlage Coliseum.

With Kansas and Texas Tech both losing on the road Saturday and Iowa State winning at home, K-State (14-4) suddenly finds itself in a four-way tie for first at 4-2.

“As soon as the Oklahoma game ended, I talked to them about maturity, I talked to them about leadership — about getting ready, preparing yourself,” Weber said. “I showed them a video that Kenny Smith did the other night during one of the NBA games.

“Just the difference between winning teams and losing teams and having that edge and mental preparation, doing the little things.”

The Wildcats responded by scoring the game’s first seven points against TCU and never relinquished the lead as they ran their winning streak to four. They can further their cause even more Tuesday night when they play host to Texas Tech.

“We knew we were a good team,” said senior forward Dean Wade, who continued to excel in his third game back from a foot injury with 16 points and six assists. “We know we hadn’t showed it a few times this season, but right now we’re hitting our stride and everyone’s playing great basketball.

“We’re just playing great basketball right now and our confidence is at an all-time high. Hopefully we’ll keep that rolling.”

As usual, it started with defense for the Wildcats, who held the league’s top scoring offense in check most of the day. TCU came in averaging 80.4 points, but shot just 42.6 percent and turned the ball over 18 times.

“The turnovers are the obvious thing,” said TCU coach Jamie Dixon, whose Horned Frogs fell to 13-4, 2-3 in the Big 12. “When we have lost, it has been turnovers, against physical teams. That is an extremely physical team and they got it done.”

The Wildcats also were good enough offensively, placing three players in double figures. Junior Xavier Sneed, who had been in a bit of a slump, came through with a season-high 18 points on 6 of 9 shooting with a 3-pointer and 5 of 6 free throws.

“It was good to see a couple go down,” said Sneed, who converted a pair of late alley-oop dunks to get the Wildcats started in the second half and a power drive down the lane late. “I was picking and choosing my spots in the defense and just taking what they were giving to me and knocking down some shots for my team.”

The Wildcats led 37-30 at halftime, and when TCU cut it to 47-44 on a steal and layup by Kendric Davis with 12:22 left, they quickly stopped the bleeding. Barry Brown scored from the baseline, Makol Mawien dunked a Brown miss and Wade beat the shot clock with a free-throw line jumper to push it back to 10.

For TCU, point guard Alex Robinson led the way with 17 points and Desmond Bane added 16. JD Miller had 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds as the Horned Frogs won the board battle, 31-27.

K-State got 10 points and five rebounds from Brown, who saw his streak of three 20-point scoring games come to an end. The Wildcats turned the ball over just seven times.

“We got ourselves in the mix now,” Weber said. “From two weeks ago, we were way deep in a hole and to their credit, you feel good about where they put themselves.”