It’s hard to imagine how No. 18 Kansas State could have had a worse Saturday.
No. 23 Iowa State rolled into Bramlage Coliseum, hitting 14-for-24 from behind the arc to roll to a 78-64 lead over the Wildcats that cut Kansas State’s lead in the Big 12 standings to just one game in the loss column.
What’s worse is that in the process of getting dropped by 14 points at home, Kansas State lost their best and most important player — Dean Wade. Midway through the second half, the 6-foot-10 Wade came to a jump-stop in the lane and appeared to injure his right foot, the same foot that he injured earlier in the year that forced him to miss six games. Wade hobbled to the bench and did not re-enter the game.
“He had some soreness in his foot all week,” Weber told reporters after the game. “It’s not the same spot, which we were very, very thankful for. He had a boot on and he did not practice. He shot around yesterday.”
“They call it soft tissue damage. He tweaked it. He thought he landed on somebody’s foot.”
Not only did Iowa State beat them, but both Kansas and Texas Tech won in dominant fashion.
Put it all together, and what you have is a Kansas State team that may have just lost the most important player on their roster while seeing the lead that they had built in the Big 12 standings start to evaporate. And while the Wildcats do have a relatively easy schedule remaining. Their next two games are against West Virginia and Oklahoma State — the West Virginia game will be on Big Monday, and Weber was not optimistic that Wade would be healthy by then — which they should be able to survive without Wade.
But they still have to play at Kansas. Assuming that ends up being a loss, the Wildcats would no longer control their own destiny when it comes to winning an outright Big 12 regular season title.
And here’s the other problem: Kansas State has been downright bad on the offensive end of the floor without Wade. He’s their best perimeter shooter and their best passer, the guy that is able to make teams that zone them pay. Simply put, without Wade, they are not going to be able to keep up with the top of the conference.
Lindell Wigginton led the way with 23 points for Iowa State in the win while Talen Horton-Tucker chipped in with 20 points. Barry Brown had 23 points for Kansas State in a losing effort.