Hot-Shooting Texas A&M Downs K-State, 78-68


GAME RECAP

68

78

RV/NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
7-2 (0-0 Big 12)

25/RV
TEXAS A&M
AGGIES
8-2 (0-0 SEC)

LEADERS:
J. Jones: 25pts, 9rebs
A. Caruso: 13pts, 9asts, 6stls
T. Davis: 10pts, 5rebs, 1blk

LEADERS:
W. Iwundu: 23pts, 3rebs, 2asts, 2stls
D. Johnson: 14pts, 6rebs, 2blks
K. Stokes: 9pts, 6rebs, 3asts

TEAM 1ST 2ND F
K-State 29 39 68
Texas A&M 35 43 78

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M connected 54 percent from the field, including 58.3 percent in the second half, to hand Kansas State a 78-68 loss on Saturday afternoon before 7,003 fans at Reed Arena.

Leading 43-42 with 13:47 to play in the contest, Texas A&M (8-2) used a critical intentional foul call to ignite a 21-3 run over a near eight-minute stretch to give the home team a near insurmountable lead. 

Behind huge second-half efforts by juniors Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson, the Wildcats (7-2) nearly made an improbable comeback, closing the gap to 71-66 with 1:03 remaining. However, the Aggies would score seven of the last nine points to clinch the game and move to 6-0 at home this season.

Iwundu scored 18 of his career-tying 23 points in the second half on 7-of-9 field goals, while Johnson scored 12 of his career-high 14 points after halftime on 5-of-6 shooting. The rest of the team was a combined 2-of-19.

Senior Jalen Jones led all scorers with a game-high 25 points off the bench to go with a game-high 9 rebounds. Fellow senior Alex Caruso added 13 points to go with game-highs in both assists (9) and steals (6).

Texas A&M snapped a 3-game losing streak to K-State and won the first time in the series since a 64-56 victory at Reed Arena on Jan. 22, 2011. Seven of the Aggies’ eight wins have come at home.

The Basics

Final Score: Texas A&M 78, Kansas State 68
Records: Kansas State 7-2, 0-0 Big 12 // Texas A&M 8-2, 0-0 SEC
Attendance: 7,003
Next Game: Saturday, Dec. 19 \\ vs. Colorado State \\ 3 p.m. CT \\ FOX Sports Kansas City

The Short Story
Texas A&M shot 54 percent (27-of-50) from the field, including 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the second half, to earn a 78-68 win over Kansas State on Saturday afternoon before 7,003 at Reed Arena.
The Aggies used a pivotal intentional foul call to start a 21-3 run that proved too much to overcome.
Junior Wesley Iwundu (23 points) and D.J. Johnson (14 points) each either tied or set their respective career-highs in scoring in the contest.
Iwundu and Johnson combined for 30 of the Wildcats’ 39 points in the second half on 12-of-15 shooting. The rest of the team went just 2-of-19 from the field after halftime.
The two teams combined for 45 points off of turnovers with the Aggies holding a slight 23-22 edge.
K-State connected on 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the field, including 41.2 percent (14-of-34) in the second half. The Wildcats went just 5-of-20 (25 percent) from 3-point range.
Texas A&M shot 50 percent (7-of-14) from long range with five players with at least one trey.
The game completes a home-and-home series between the schools that began with a 71-64 win by K-State on Dec. 20, 2014 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

How It Happened | First Half
The teams battled through three ties before Texas A&M used a 7-0 spurt to take a 18-11 lead at the 10:50 mark of the first half. K-State went nearly four minutes without a field goal. 
The Wildcats rallied to tie the game at 23-all at the 6:43 mark on a 3-pointer by Edwards to cap a 10-3 run.
The Aggies responded out of a timeout with a 10-0 run to take a 33-23 advantage with 4:11 before halftime. The run was highlighted by 3-pointers from Jones and D.J. Hogg.
K-State answered with six in a row, including four by Hurt, to close the deficit to 33-29 at 1:57 mark. However, that would be closest the Wildcats would get, as Texas A&M took a 35-29 lead into halftime.
The Aggies connected on 50 percent (13-of-26) from the field in the first half, including 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from 3-point range, while the Wildcats shot 44.4 percent (12-of-27). 
Edwards and Hurt led eight Wildcat scorers with 6 points each, while Hurt added team-highs in both rebounds (4) and assists (3). 

How It Happened | Second Half
Texas A&M held a 9-point lead multiple times in the early going, including 42-33 with 16:12 to play.
K-State used a 9-1 run to slash the deficit to 43-42 on a steal and lay-up by Iwundu at the 13:47 mark.
An intentional foul on Caruso by Iwundu ignited a run, as the Aggies scored seven straight points to extend the lead to 50-42 with 11:08 remaining.
Texas A&M took advantage of a cold-shooting K-State to score 14 of the next 16 points to take its largest lead at 64-45 with 6:02 to play. Jones scored 8 points in the stretch.
The Wildcats went nearly eight minutes without a field goal before Iwundu’s layup with 5:49 to play.
Down by 19 points, K-State wouldn’t go away, using a 16-3 run to cut the deficit to 67-61 with 2:39 remaining. Iwundu scored 10 points during the run.
The Wildcats would close the gap to 71-66 with 1:03 left on an Iwundu dunk, but the Aggies clinched the game with a layup from Caruso and a pair of free throws from Anthony Collins.
Texas A&M connected on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the second half compared to K-State’s 41.2 percentage (14-of-34), which included just 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from 3-point range.
Iwundu scored 18 of his game-tying 23 points in the second half, while Johnson had 12 of his 14 points after halftime. 

Beyond the Boxscore
K-State still leads the all-time series with Texas A&M, 18-8… Seven of the Aggies’ eight wins in the series have come in College Station… The Wildcats had won 5 of the last 6 meetings, including 3 in a row.
K-State is now 53-12 in the month of December since 2006-07, including a 19-5 mark under head coach Bruce Weber… The Wildcats are now 7-4 in true road games in that span.
K-State lost for the first time (7-1) this season when holding a rebounding advantage (35-31)… The Wildcats are now 49-13 under head coach Bruce Weber when out-rebounding their opponent.
The teams combined to score 45 points off of 29 turnovers with Texas A&M holding a slight 23-22 edge… It marked the second time this season that Wildcats have scored 20 or more points off of turnovers.
K-State scored a season-high 19 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds.
K-State has now used the same lineup in all 9 games and those starters have responsible for 75 percent (508/677) of the team’s scoring.

Quotable
“You knew we were going to get a good shot from them,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “They got their butts kicked last week at Arizona State and they had a week of practice. I told the guys before the game when they didn’t start Jalen Jones, ‘What happens when you bench a senior. How’s he going to react?’ And he reacted with fire and vengeance and played probably one of the better games of his career. We didn’t have any answers for him.”

Up Next
K-State will take a week off for final exams before returning to the court on Saturday, Dec. 19 for the Wichita Wildcat Classic against Colorado State (5-3) at 3 p.m. at INTRUST Bank Arena. Tickets are available through the K-State Athletic Ticket Office by calling (800) 221.CATS for as low as $12. The contest will be televised on FOX Sports Kansas City (state of Kansas, Kansas City area), K-StateHD.TV and ESPN3 (outside of state of Kansas) with Brian Smoller and Stan Weber on the call.