AMES, Iowa — Dean Wade was in the zone.
Wade was a scoring machine for Kansas State, connecting on 3-point shots, mid-range jumpers and getting into the paint.
It added up to a career-high 34 points to lead the Wildcats to a 91-75 victory over Iowa State in the Big 12 opener Friday at Hilton Coliseum, but Wade didn’t comprehend exactly what he had accomplished.
“Honestly, I did not know how many (points) I had at all at the end until one of the guys on Iowa State told me,” Wade said. “I didn’t feel like I was doing anything crazy, like 34 or anything. I was just focused on the next play and focused on rebounding.”
What was the 6-foot-10 junior forward’s reaction when informed by the opposing player?
“I just started laughing,” Wade said. “I thought he was joking with me.”
Wade made 13 of 16 shots, going 6 of 8 on 3-pointers, with eight rebounds as K-State (11-2, 1-0 Big 12) snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cyclones (9-3, 0-1) and won at Hilton Coliseum for the first time since 2011.
“We had never won here before,” Wade said. “It was the very first game in the Big 12 so we were all hyped up and ready to go. It was big for us to get this win and come out and show we can play.”
Wade posted the first 30-point game by a Wildcat since Marcus Foster in 2014.
“If you’re going to win road games, you have to have somebody step up and be special,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “Obviously, he was huge. He shot it with confidence, played with confidence, he wanted the ball. He got a little tired and asked out and we got him out around a timeout, but we had so much foul trouble with the big guys it was tough to get him in and out.
“He was ready to play. He was in that zone.”
Wade wasn’t a one-man show. Kamau Stokes scored 23 points — 21 in the first half — with 7 assists and 3 steals and Barry Brown had 21 points, 4 assists and 2 steals.
“Kam and Barry were pretty special, too,” Weber said. “I like that they were efficient.”
It was the first time the Wildcats had three 20-plus point scorers since the 2010 NCAA Tournament game against Xavier, which went two overtimes.
“As far as me, Barry and Dean stepping up, we’re the veterans on this team and we expect to do what we did tonight every night,” said Stokes, who made 4 of 6 treys.
“Dean is a threat every night and teams have to key on him because of the different things he can do and different ways he can score,” Brown said. “When he gets in the post he can still pass so it definitely makes the guard’s job a lot easier.”
It was a matter of Wade and the two guards playing off each other.
“The defense has to collapse on Barry and Kam coming off ball screens and that leaves me by myself wide open,” Wade said, “and once you get one you feel more confident on the second one and so on and so forth. Everyone keeps telling me to shoot it so I was taking their advice and shooting it.
“My teammates were giving me open shots. Coach always tells me there’s no more open than open so shoot it when you’re open, and if you don’t shoot it when you’re open turnovers happen.”
K-State went 9 of 18 on 3-pointers in the first half for a 53-50 lead, with Iowa State shooting 68 percent (17 of 25).
Brown scored with two seconds left in the half, and the Wildcats carried that momentum over to the second half. They scored the first five points and opened a 66-54 lead after back-to-back treys by Xavier Sneed.
The offense continued from the first to second half for the Wildcats, but it was an upgrade in their defense after the break that turned the game around. The Cyclones shot just 21 percent the second half (6 of 26).
“The big key to the game was our defense to start the second half,” Weber said. “Defense was optional for both teams the first half. We got some shutouts … somebody said at one stretch it was 1-for-11 field goals for them (to start the second half).
“We made a bunch of 3s in the first half, nine at halftime, and Xavier made a couple of huge ones in the second half but we did a great job getting to the paint to score or kick it out and made the right plays.”
Freshman guard Lindell Wigginton scored 23 points for the Cyclones and point guard Nick Weiler-Babb had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
“The second half we keyed in on what the coaches said and executed on defense,” Brown said. “The first half they were getting a lot of offensive rebounds. The second half we limited them to one shot, we boxed out and rebounded.”