MANHATTAN — It was a senior moment to remember.
The good kind.
Kansas State seniors Dean Wade, Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes not only left Bramlage Coliseum in style Saturday in their final home game, but they also walked out with a Big 12 championship trophy.
With a suffocating defensive performance, the Wildcats broke the game open early in the second half and cruised home with a 68-53 victory over Oklahoma, good for a share of the conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament.
Along with the league championship and a postgame celebration that included confetti, a trophy presentation and chance to cut down the nets, the Wildcats finished at 24-7 overall and tied Texas Tech for first in the league at 14-4.
Wade claimed he had no idea that Tech had won at Iowa State earlier in the day to put the onus on the Wildcats to deliver.
"I had no idea what happened," said Wade, who finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. "We made it a big point, don't worry about other games, just worry about ours, and I think the team did a great job because I don't know if anybody really knows what Tech or anybody else did.
"We were just focused on our task at hand, and to think if we do what we're supposed to do we'll be fine. We came out and played great tonight."
Great enough that K-State coach Bruce Weber felt more than comfortable taking each senior out to a thunderous ovation.
"I'm so proud of them," Weber told the sellout crowd of 12,528. "This is what you dream of growing up. I can't say enough about all the seniors."
Stokes finished with 19 points and six assists and Brown 15 points and four assists to go with Wade's performance.
The Wildcats blew the game open early in the second half after leading by 32-22 at intermission. The message in the locker room during the break was simple, according to Brown.
"It was 20 minutes left, that was the mindset," Brown said. "Twenty minutes left with the five media timeouts. Just win each timeout by one or however many we can win each timeout by — that's the only way we can guarantee the win. We can't worry about celebrating, we can't worry about 10, 20 minutes left and we're going to win the game and really focus in on playing defense."
The Wildcats started the second period with a 10-2 spurt that included a long jumper and back-to-back 3-pointers from Stokes, who reached 200 threes for his career with the second one.
They led by as many as 29 points, 62-33, on Stokes' fast-break layup with 7:10 left before Oklahoma closed the gap late.
Oklahoma was led by Kristian Doolittle with 14 points and Jamal Bieniemy with 12 points and four assists.
K-State outscored OU 8-2 to end the half and open the 10-point lead at the break. The Sooners were shut out over the last 2:24 of the period and hit just one of their last eight shots.
The Wildcats broke a 14-14 tie and went in front for good, 20-14, on back-to-back 3-pointers from Wade and Stokes. They outrebounded Oklahoma 20-14 in the half and had a 9-0 advantage on second-chance points.
Wade led the way for KSU at the break with nine points and six rebounds, while Brown had eight points and Stokes seven, plus five assists.
Kristian Doolittle's 10 points led all scorers for OU.
No. 18 KANSAS ST. 68, OKLAHOMA 53
Manek 1-4 2-2 4, Doolittle 7-11 0-0 14, Odomes 2-8 1-2 6, Bieniemy 5-11 0-0 12, James 3-8 1-2 8, Freeman 1-3 0-0 3, McNeace 0-1 0-0 0, Reynolds 3-5 0-0 6, Calixte 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 4-6 53.
KANSAS ST. (24-7)
Wade 5-14 0-0 11, Sneed 2-7 3-4 7, Mawien 2-3 0-0 4, Stokes 7-15 1-2 19, Brown 5-12 3-4 15, Trice 3-3 0-3 6, Stockard 0-0 0-0 0, McAtee 0-0 0-2 0, Shadd 0-0 0-2 0, Love 0-0 0-0 0, McGuirl 2-3 0-0 6, Neal-Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 7-17 68.
Halftime — Kansas St. 32-22. 3-Point Goals — Oklahoma 5-17 (Bieniemy 2-5, Odomes 1-1, Freeman 1-3, James 1-4, Manek 0-2, Calixte 0-2), Kansas St. 9-29 (Stokes 4-10, McGuirl 2-3, Brown 2-5, Wade 1-7, Neal-Williams 0-1, Sneed 0-3). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Oklahoma 28 (Odomes 7), Kansas St. 30 (Trice, Wade 7). Assists — Oklahoma 9 (Bieniemy 4), Kansas St. 15 (Stokes 6). Total Fouls — Oklahoma 13, Kansas St. 11. Ejected — Manek.