After watching each of the Big 12 games for Week 5 of the league season (Jan. 27-Feb. 2), here is the Heartland College Sports Men’s Basketball Starting 5.
MAKAI MASON, G, BAYLOR
Mason’s 40-point game against TCU was a headline-grabber and proof that the injuries that have dogged him the past two years are truly healed. But he also had 4 assists against TCU, and that followed a 12-point, 4-assist game against Oklahoma. Mason has finally settled into that role of scorer and facilitator and the Bears have won six straight as a result.
DEAN WADE, F, KANSAS STATE
Wade only played one game this past week, but it deserves a spot here due to its perfection — 9-for-9 from the floor en route to 24 points. His game helped keep the Wildcats at the top of the Big 12 entering another week, a lead they share with Mason’s Baylor Bears.
OCHAI AGBAJI, G, KANSAS
The freshman guard is growing in leaps and bounds. In the loss to Texas he had the huge game, scoring 24 points to lead the Jayhawks. Then, on Saturday against Texas Tech, he had a double-double — 10 points and 10 rebounds. Remember when Kansas wanted to redshirt him for the whole season? Boy, those were the days, right?
NICK WEILER-BABB, G, IOWA STATE
We forget to talk about this guy sometimes, but the senior is one of the bedrocks of Iowa State’s resurgence this season. W-B’s week was tremendous in that it touched several spots of each box score. He had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals against West Virginia. Then, against Texas, he had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Marial Shayok and the freshmen get the attention. But W-B gets the job done every game.
TARIQ OWENS, F, TEXAS TECH
I really enjoyed the week Owens had for the Red Raiders, despite Tech only going 1-1. Against TCU Owens had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in the win over the Horned Frogs. Then, on Saturday, in his first game in Lawrence he had a double-double — 12 points and 10 rebounds — along with 3 blocks. This is the kind of production head coach Chris Beard would like to see every game.
THE SIXTH MAN
BRANDON KNAPPER, G, WEST VIRGINIA
The Mountaineers needed a spot this week after bouncing back to beat Oklahoma on Saturday. Knapper had a huge game off the bench — 25 points — showing that he has the talent West Virginia has been talking about. Head coach Bob Huggins said it best after the game — scoring isn’t his problem. Turnovers are his problem. Once Knapper figures that out, he could become a potential force for the Mountaineers.
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