AUSTIN, Texas — Barry Brown isn’t just a scorer. He is also a facilitator.
The Kansas State junior guard proved that much while showing off a more versatile set of skills than usual during a 67-64 victory over Texas on Wednesday at the Erwin Center. His big game (11 points, six rebounds, six assists) gave the Wildcats an important win and busted himself out of an ugly slump.
Brown picked an ideal time to step up. With Texas leading 54-50 late in the second half, Brown moved to point guard and became the catalyst for a K-State comeback.
Brown scored or assisted on six of the Wildcats’ final seven field goals, sparking a run that gave them a lead they never relinquished.
The stretch of impressive play began with a length-of-the-court pass to Makol Mawien for a layup. Then Brown made a driving layup and found Cartier Diarra for a three-pointer. After a driving layup from Diarra, Brown added two more layups of his own and found Mawien for a bucket.
He was unable to close out the game himself when he missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw that followed a string of Texas fouls. But Dean Wade made a free throw to give K-State a three-point cushion and the Wildcats stopped the Longhorns on their last-gasp attempt.
This wasn’t a vintage game for Brown, as he didn’t come anywhere close to the 38 points he scored against Oklahoma State or the 34 he scored against Baylor, but it was impressive in its own right.
Brown usually plays shooting guard opposite Diarra and Kamau Stokes. But he thrived in a new role on this night.
He seemed to welcome having the ball in his hands. Brown had scored just 19 points in his past three games. But he was a different, more active player against Texas.
The Wildcats (17-7, 6-5 Big 12) certainly needed everything he could muster against the Longhorns (15-9, 5-6). This was a big game for both teams. The victory moved K-State into fourth place of the Big 12 standings and boosts its hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
Wade led K-State with 16 points while Diarra added 13, Xavier Sneed had 11 and Mawien had 10.
It was a back-and-forth game, but Texas jumped out to a 14-7 lead behind star forward Mohamed Bomba. The talented freshman finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
The Wildcats had no answers for him inside, but they contained everyone else on the Longhorns’ roster. Texas only shot 40.7 percent from the field and 25 percent from three.
K-State bounced back from a blowout loss to West Virginia in its last game and will now return home on Saturday for another important game against Texas Tech.