SPOKANE, Wash. — Barry Brown Jr. seemed to do everything for Kansas State when the game against Washington State was on the line.
Brown scored the last six points during a 10-0 run in the closing minutes that lifted Kansas State to a 68-65 come-from-behind victory over the Cougars on Wednesday night at the Spokane Arena.
Brown finished with 23 points and six rebounds. Makol Mawien added 15 points and nine boards for Kansas State (10-2), which has won six of its past seven games.
“Down the stretch we really executed,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “The most important thing is we got stops when we needed stops, and rebounds.”
“It was a good win for our guys,” Weber said.
Carter Skaggs had 24 points and Malachi Flynn 23 for Washington State (7-4), which overcame a dreadful first half to take the lead in the second half.
“This team has come a long way after getting picked last in the conference,” Washington State coach Ernie Kent said.
“As much as we took control, that veteran team grinded out the game,” Kent said of the Wildcats.
Neither team shot well. Kansas State finished at 42 percent shooting while Washington State shot 38 percent.
Mawien scored eight points as Kansas State jumped to a 21-9 lead.
The Wildcats led 35-25 at halftime, after holding Washington State to 29-percent shooting (9-of-31). Kansas State wasn’t much better, shooting 39 percent in the first.
Skaggs had 13 first half points for Washington State.
Washington State found its shooting range in the second half.
Skaggs hit a pair of 3-pointers as Washington State opened the second half with an 11-4 run to cut its deficit to 39-36.
Flynn’s layup and free throw gave Washington State its first lead at 49-47 with 10 minutes left. Flynn sank a pair of 3-pointers to give the Cougars a 57-49 lead.
“We handled ourselves well to get back in the game,” Kent said.
But the Wildcats closed with a 19-8 run to win.
“They closed it and we didn’t,” Kent said.
Brown made six straight points as Kansas State cut the deficit to 63-62 with 1:26 left.
Brown’s dunk put the Wildcats ahead 64-63 with 51 seconds left.
Flynn missed a long jumper and Kansas State rebounded. Brown hit a pair of free throws and the Cougars missed another long jumper.
THREE’S HARD TO GET
Kansas State hit just 4 of 24 from 3-point range.
The Wildcats won the rebound battle 43-37, and outscored the Cougars in the paint 38-24.
Kansas State: Former Kansas State president Kirk Schulz is now president of Washington State. The Wildcats have scored at least 80 points six times this season. Against Tulsa, Xavier Sneed led the Wildcats in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Four starters average at least 12.5 points per game.
Washington State: The Cougars are something of a question mark. They opened with six straight wins, then lost three in a row before beating IUPUI last weekend. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by an average of 42-35 in the second half this season.
Kansas State plays at Iowa State on Dec. 29 in their Big 12 opener.
Washington State hosts Bethune-Cookman on Friday in their final non-conference game before opening Pac-12 play.