DAYTON, Ohio — Kamau Stokes scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half of a wide-open game on Tuesday night, and Kansas State’s balance was the difference as the Wildcats pulled away to a 95-88 victory over Wake Forest in the First Four.
Eleventh-seeded K-State (21-13) got its first NCAA Tournament win in five years and a trip to play No. 6 Cincinnati on Friday in Sacramento as part of the South Regional.
In a matchup of two versatile offenses, the Wildcats had the most options and hot shooters. Wesley Iwundu added 24 points, and D.J. Johnson scored 18.
Wake Forest (19-14) couldn’t keep up during its first NCAA Tournament game in seven years. The Demon Deacons scored 90 points nine times during the season, but couldn’t match the Wildcats as they shot 66 percent from the field.
John Collins led Wake Forest with 26 points and nine rebounds.
Kansas State: The Wildcats repeatedly made clutch shots to hold onto the lead down the stretch. Wake Forest got within three points 11 times, but K-State always matched it.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons shot only 36 percent from the field in the first half and had more turnovers (nine) than field goals (eight), forcing them to play from behind.
Kansas State: The Wildcats will try to win two NCAA Tournament games for the first time since 2010, when they lost to Butler in a regional final.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons return the bulk of one of the youngest teams in the tournament, including three sophomore starters and one junior.