MANHATTAN — The Kansas State Wildcats had been there before and it showed.
Not that they wanted to revisit life without Dean Wade or Kamau Stokes.
But when Wade, the Big 12 preseason player of the year, went down with just under 14 minutes left and Stokes followed him to the bench shortly thereafter, the No. 25-ranked Wildcats found a way to regroup.
Led by Barry Brown, the Wildcats put together a pivotal 12-point run to retake the lead from Georgia State, then held the Panthers in check the rest of the way Saturday night for a 71-59 victory at Bramlage Coliseum.
In so doing, the Wildcats ended a two-game skid to win for the first time in three weeks.
“I am very proud of our guys,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We fought through some adversity.”
Of course, the Wildcats played a stretch last year without an injured Stokes and went without Wade for the entire postseason run to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Brown, who scored 11 of his game-high 21 points after his fellow seniors were sidelined, said his main concern was keeping the team focused.
“I kind of took charge of getting our guys back mentally focused and stuff like that, but we as a collective group did the things that we know we can do, that we do on a daily basis,” Brown said. “So it wasn’t just me going out there one on five and scoring all the baskets or anything like that.
“It was a collective offensive effort, a collective defensive effort.”
Weber said Stokes was helped off the court after hurting his left ankle, returned to the bench and should be all right. He was less certain about Wade, who also was helped off in great pain to his right knee or ankle.
“Dean, I don’t have a definite answer,” Weber said. “But I do know he didn’t break anything.
“We’ll do an MRI (Sunday).”
Barry Brown ’s 21 points led four Wildcats in double figures, followed by Stokes with 15 and Xavier Sneed 14. Wade added 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Wildcats (7-2) found their lost shooting touch, knocking down 12 of 26 3-pointers and shooting 47.2 percent from the field in the game. For Georgia State (7-4), Jeff Thomas had 13 points, Nelson Phillips 11 and D’Marcus Simonds 10.
K-State, which already had squandered leads of 10 points in the first half and nine in the second, erased a three-point deficit with a 12-point spurt to go up 62-53 on Sneed’s 15-foot jumper with 5:20 left.
Brown started it off with a layup and 3-pointer, Cartier Diarra finished off a fast-break alley-oop dunk from Mike McGuirl and Brown buried another three.
The Wildcats opened their first double-digit lead of the second half, 68-57, when Brown drilled a 3-pointer at the 3:10 mark. Sneed then brought down the house by driving from the right with for a thunderous dunk.
Georgia State scored the first five points of the second half to grab a 37-35 lead on Thomas’ 3-pointer, but K-State countered with a 13-2 run that included 3-pointers from Stokes and Wade. Wade’s two free throws put the Wildcats up 48-39 with 15:28 left.
But the lead was short-lived as Georgia State roared back with a 14-2 spurt, grabbing the lead on Phillips’ 3 and stretching it to 53-50 when Nelson drove for a layup.
K-State led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but settled for a 35-32 edge at the break following a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Georgia State’s Thomas.
The Wildcats offset some ragged play — 11 turnovers — with five 3-pointers, including three straight from Stokes, Sneed and Diarra during a 14-2 spurt. Sneed’s fast-break layup and a Wade baseline jumper completed the run, which gave K-State a 25-15 lead with 8:40 to go in the period.
K-State shot 48 percent from the field in the half and got a balanced scoring effort with eight points from Brown and seven each from Stokes, Sneed and Wade. Georgia State, which shot 44 percent and turned the ball over nine times, was led by Thomas’ 10 points.
Brown played just six minutes in the half before picking up his second foul, but he scored the Wildcats’ first eight points for an 8-2 lead.
K-State outrebounded Georgia State 14-12 in the half with Wade grabbing five.
No. 25 KANSAS ST. 71, GEORGIA ST. 59
GEORGIA ST. (7-4)
Benlevi 2-9 0-0 5, Thomas 4-9 2-3 13, Williams 3-3 1-2 8, Wilson 1-5 2-2 4, Simonds 4-11 2-2 10, Ivery 0-0 0-0 0, Linder 0-0 0-0 0, Tyson 0-1 0-0 0, Mitchell 3-6 0-0 8, Phillips 5-7 0-0 11. Totals 22-51 7-9 59.
KANSAS ST. (7-2)
Wade 4-8 3-4 12, Sneed 6-11 0-0 14, Mawien 0-2 2-2 2, Stokes 5-9 1-1 15, Brown 8-10 1-1 21, Stockard 0-1 1-2 1, McAtee 0-0 0-0 0, McGuirl 0-5 0-0 0, Diarra 2-6 1-2 6, Neal-Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-53 9-12 71.
Halftime — Kansas St. 35-32. 3-Point Goals — Georgia St. 8-31 (Thomas 3-8, Mitchell 2-5, Williams 1-1, Phillips 1-1, Benlevi 1-8, Wilson 0-3, Simonds 0-5), Kansas St. 12-26 (Brown 4-5, Stokes 4-6, Sneed 2-5, Wade 1-2, Diarra 1-5, Neal-Williams 0-1, McGuirl 0-2). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Georgia St. 23 (Tyson 6), Kansas St. 31 (Wade 9). Assists — Georgia St. 9 (Simonds 3), Kansas St. 23 (Sneed 6). Total Fouls — Georgia St. 12, Kansas St. 13. A — 9,563 (12,528).