First Half Run Propels Texas Tech Past K-State, 80-71




16-15 (5-13 Big 12)

19-11 (9-9 Big 12)

D. Johnson: 21pts, 10rebs, 2blks
J. Edwards: 16pts, 7rebs, 2stls
D. Wade: 13pts, 6rebs, 1stl

D. Williams: 20pts, 4rebs, 3asts
K. Evans: 20pts, 3asts, 3stls
Z. Smith: 13pts, 6rebs, 2blks

K-State 28 43 71
Texas Tech 36 44 80

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Texas Tech’s offense caught fire midway through the first half, as the Red Raiders connected on 59.2 percent from the field en route to an 80-71 win over Kansas State on Saturday afternoon before 12,359 at United Supermarket Arena.

Down by as many as 12 points, Texas Tech (19-11, 9-9 Big 12) flipped the switch on a tip-in by sophomore Zach Smith with 8:56 remaining in the first half, which started a 13-2 run that cut the deficit to 25-24 with 4:21 before halftime. The run eventually expanded to 25-5, as the Red Raiders tied the game at 28-all at the 2:24 mark before taking the lead for good with a Toddrick Gotcher layup just 18 seconds later. 

K-State (16-15, 5-13 Big 12) closed to within 59-51 with 6:46 to play after a dunk by junior D.J. Johnson, who finished with his first career double-double with game-highs in both points (21) and rebounds (10). However, a 3-pointer by junior Aaron Ross just 23 seconds later pushed the lead back in double figures, as the Red Raiders were able to thwart any other comeback attempt by knocking down 10 of 12 attempts from the free throw line.

Texas Tech’s 59.2 field goal percentage (29-of-49) was the highest by a K-State opponent this season, as the Red Raiders connected on an opponent first-half high of 60 percent (15-of-25) to go with 58.3 percentage (14-of-24) in the second half. It was the highest field goal percentage since Georgetown shot 63.5 percent on Nov. 22, 2013 at the Puerto Rico Tipoff.

Senior Devaugntah Williams and sophomore Keenan Evans each scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures, while Smith and Gotcher totaled 13 points each.

The loss spoiled another stellar performance from Johnson, who became the fifth different Wildcat to record a double-double. It marked his second career 20-point game and the second in the last three games. Ten of Johnson’s 11 double figure scoring games this season have come in Big 12 play.

Johnson was joined in double figures by senior Justin Edwards, who scored 11 of his 16 points after halftime, along with freshman Dean Wade (13) and junior Wesley Iwundu (12). The Wildcats shot 41 percent (25-of-61) from the field, including just 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from beyond the arc.

The loss ended the regular season for K-State, which will be the No. 8 seed at next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will play No. 9 seed Oklahoma State (12-19, 3-15 Big 12) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT.

The Basics
Final Score: Texas Tech 80, Kansas State 71
Records: Kansas State 16-15, 5-13 Big 12 // Texas Tech 19-11, 9-9 Big 12
Attendance: 12,359
Next Game: Wednesday, March 9 // vs. Oklahoma State // 6 p.m. CT // ESPNU

The Short Story
A 25-5 run to end the first half helped Texas Tech erase an early 12-point deficit, as the Red Raiders finished off the regular season with an 80-71 win over Kansas State at home on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Raiders connected on an opponent-high 59.2 percent (29-of-49) from the field, including 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range, as four players scored in double figures led by 20-point efforts from senior Devaugntah Williams and sophomore Keenan Evans.
Junior D.J. Johnson paced four Wildcats in double figures with his first career double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Justin Edwards added 16 points for his team-leading 24th double-digit scoring game. 

How It Happened | First Half
K-State started the game hot, connecting all four field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers, to take a 10-2 lead at the first media timeout at the 15:54 mark. Four of the five starters scored in the stretch.
The Wildcats hit their first six field goals before an Iwundu miss with 14:15 to play.
The lead grew to 19-9 after a layup by Iwundu at the 11:16 mark.
After K-State took a 23-11 on a layup by Johnson, Texas Tech used a 4-0 spurt to close the gap and force coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout with 8:17 before halftime.
The Red Raiders continued their comeback, using an 8-0 run to make it 25-24 at the 4:21 mark. During the stretch, the Wildcats went nearly four minutes without a field goal. 
Texas Tech tied the game at 28-all then took its first lead at 30-28 on a layup by Gotcher at the 2:06 mark.
The hot shooting continued, as the Red Raiders ended the half on a 10-0 run to take a 36-28 advantage into the break. The squad scored 21 of the last 24 points after trailing by as many as 10 in the first half.
Texas Tech connected on an opponent-high 60 percent (15-of-25) from the field in the first half, including 40 percent (2-of-5) from 3-point range. K-State shot 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from the field, including 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from long range.
Wade led the Wildcats with 8 first-half points, while Iwundu added 6 points and 3 assists.

How It Happened | Second Half
K-State opened the half with a pair of free throws from Johnson, but Texas Tech continued where it left off, pushing the lead to 44-30 on a 3-pointer from Gotcher at the 17:32 mark.
The lead stayed at double digits at the first media timeout, as Johnson scored all 8 of the Wildcats’ points to open the half as the Red Raiders led 46-36 at the 15:58 mark. 
Texas Tech pushed the lead to 59-41 on Gotcher tip-in with 9:37 play before K-State used a 10-0 run to close within 59-51 at the 6:37 mark on a Johnson dunk.
However, a 3-pointer by Aaron Ross just 23 seconds later ignited another run by the Red Raiders to push the game back to double figures at 62-51.
The Wildcats would never go completely away, closing to 70-62 on a 3-pointer by Edwards with 2:14 left.
Texas Tech wrapped the game up from the free throw line, knocking down 10 of its 12 attempts from the line in the final 1:45 of the contest.
The Red Raiders connected on 58.3 percent (14-of-24), including 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from 3-point range, in the second half compared to the Wildcats’ 37.1 percent shooting (13-of-35), including just 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from long range. 
Johnson scored 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half on 5-of-9 field goals and 7-of-9 attempts from the line, while Edwards scored 11 of his 16 points after halftime.

Beyond the Boxscore
Today’s matchup marked the 34th meeting between K-State and Texas Tech… The Wildcats still hold a 22-12 advantage over the Red Raiders, including a 15-11 mark in the Big 12 era.
K-State fell to 9-31 under head coach Bruce Weber when allowing 70 or more points.
K-State tied a season-high with 40 points in the paint… The Wildcats eclipsed 1,000 points in the paint (1,022) for the first time since recording 1,032 paint points in 2011-12.
K-State registered double-digit steals for the ninth time this season with 11… The team’s 236 steals this season are the most since recording 247 in 2012-13.
K-State posted a season-low 7 assists.
Johnson became the fifth different Wildcat (Stephen Hurt, Wesley Iwundu, Justin Edwards and Dean Wade) to record a double-double, recording his first career mark with a game-highs in both points (21) and rebounds (10)… It marked his second career 20-point game, while he registered double figures for the 11th time this season with 10 coming in Big 12 play.
Edwards posted double figures for the team-leading 24th time this season, including the 14th time in Big 12 play… He now has scored in double digits 13 times in the last 16 games.
Wade registered double digits for 15th time this season, including the 8th occasion in Big 12 play… His 13 points helped him becoming the eighth Wildcat freshman with at least 300 points.
Iwundu also tallied double figures for the 23rd time this season, including 13th time in Big 12 play… His team-high 4 assists gave him 115 for the season, which is the most by a Wildcat since 2012-13.
Freshman Barry Brown tallied a season-high 4 steals… He now has 38 for the season, which is the fifth-most by a freshman in school history.
K-State started two true freshmen in the starting lineup for the 27th time in 31 games with a lineup of Iwundu, Brown, Edwards, Wade and Johnson… Iwundu is the only player to start all 31 games.

“I don’t know if I’ve had a team like this, but the consistency is a big key,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “We’re playing freshmen. We’re the only ones with freshman playing. You’d have Kam (Kamau Stokes) out there too, and he’d be a big part of it. Even the other guys; D.J. (Johnson) hasn’t played for a long time. Wes (Wesley Iwundu) has kind of had to change positions…I don’t think we have a go-to guy. You know, when it gets tough and they pick it up. [Keenan] Evans made plays for them [Tech]. They beat Baylor; I’m watching the game, Evans makes plays. Another game, [Toddrick] Gotcher makes plays. Tonight, [Devaugntah] Williams jumps up and goes 6-for-9. I think just that consistency and that experience…The one thing we’ve gotten is experience. Hopefully that will be a positive factor for us a year from now.”

Up Next
K-State begins play in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Wednesday, as the No. 8 seed Wildcats play No. 9 seed Oklahoma State (12-19, 3-15 Big 12) at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. The teams split their regular season meetings with K-State winning 89-73 at home on Jan. 23 and OSU winning 58-55 on Feb. 13 at home.