FORT WORTH — As good as Barry Brown and Dean Wade have been this season, they aren’t dominant enough to win basketball games without significant help from their teammates.
That’s one of the main lessons Kansas State will take away from a 66-59 loss to TCU on Tuesday at Schollmaier Arena.
Wade led all scorers with 24 points, displaying excellent touch and awareness on his way to a 10-for-14 shooting night that also featured five rebounds and four assists. His campaign for a spot on the All-Big 12 team continued.
Brown also had a big game, scoring 17 points on 10 shots while sending out six assists.
But there were few positives to report from the rest of the team.
Cartier Diarra played his worst game since taking over as K-State’s starting point guard, scoring three points with no assists and five turnovers in 25 minutes of action. His backup, Kamau Stokes, was no better. The junior point guard went scoreless with two assists and a turnover.
The Wildcats also got little inside. Makol Mawien had a solid effort with nine points and seven rebounds, but Levi Stockard and James Love were quiet off the bench. Xavier Sneed snared seven rebounds, but only made one of six shots.
Compare that to TCU, which had eight players score at least three points, and it’s easy to see why the Horned Frogs (21-9, 9-8 Big 12) pulled away late for an important victory that ties them with the Wildcats (20-10, 9-8) for fourth place in the Big 12 standings.
Kenrich Williams led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds, continually causing problems for K-State inside and out. Desmond Bane was right behind him with 15 points and five rebounds.
K-State led by as much as 44-39 early in the second half, and the game was back and forth until the final minutes. But TCU made more plays late, including a three-pointer from Vlad Brodziansky that clinched the game in the last minute.
It will go down as an opportunity missed for the Wildcats.
Though they remain in decent shape to lock up a NCAA Tournament bid with a home victory over Baylor on Saturday or a nice run at the Big 12 Tournament, they are still on the bubble. They would have felt much better about their chances had they won this game.
Beating TCU would have gone down as a signature victory of sorts. The Horned Frogs entered the day with an impressive RPI of 19, and beating a team ranked that high would have boosted the Wildcats’ stock with the selection committee.
It didn’t happen.
Brown and Wade needed more help to win this game.