K-State Upends Texas Tech, 58-51, to Extend Streak


MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State used a stellar defensive effort to outlast Texas Tech, 58-51, for its third-straight win in front of 12,264 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Up 49-46 with 3:05 left to play in the contest, the Wildcats locked down on the defensive end, holding the Red Raiders to only five points on 2-of-6 shooting for the remainder of the game, while tacking on nine points of their own to seal the victory. Free throw shooting keyed the Wildcats on offense, as they hit 21-of-26 with Marcus Foster (6-of-8), Justin Edwards (5-of-5), Thomas Gipson (4-of-5) and Wesley Iwundu (3-of-4) all having strong days at the line.

K-State (10-7, 3-1 Big 12), which held Tech (10-7, 0-4 Big 12) to 33.9 percent shooting for the game – an opponent season-low – improved to 3-1 in Big 12 play and has held opponents to under 65 points or less in 10-straight contests.

The Basics
Final Score: Kansas State 58, Texas Tech 51
Records: Kansas State (10-7, 3-1 Big 12); Texas Tech (10-7, 0-4 Big 12)
Attendance: 12,264 (paid)
Next Game: Saturday, Jan. 17 \\ No. 22/23 Baylor (12-3, 1-2 Big 12) \\ 2 p.m. CT \\ ESPNU

The Short Story
•    K-State suffocated the Red Raiders on defense, holding them to sub-40 percent shooting for both halves, including a 31.4 percent (11-of-35) throttling from the field in the game’s final 20 minutes.
•    Leading 49-46 with a little three minutes to play, the Wildcats allowed only five more points on 2-of-6 shooting, eventually pulling away thanks to lay-ups from Thomas Gipson and Justin Edwards, as well as 4-of-4 shooting from the line in the closing seconds of the contest.  
•    The game, as a whole, was dictated by the defenses with neither team eclipsing 40 percent shooting from the field. Though the Wildcats led 28-20 at the half, Tech would go on to outscore K-State 31-30. Despite this, K-State used strong free throw shooting, 21-of-26 for the game and 11-of-15 in the second half, to earn the victory.
•    Keeping with the defensive theme of recent games, the Wildcats held an opponent to 65 points or less for a now-10th-straight game – the longest such streak in school history since the Wildcats accomplished the feat in 17-straight, dating from Nov. 27, 1982 to Jan. 29, 1983.  
•    Marcus Foster led K-State in scoring with 14 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from deep and 6-of-8 at the line, as well as in rebounds (5) and assists (4). His latest effort marked the sixth time he has led the Wildcats in scoring this season, a team-high, and the 23rd time in his career. After not hitting double digits in back-to-back games against Georgia and Oklahoma State, Foster has bounced back in a big way, averaging 17.0 points in his past three contests – all wins for the Wildcats.
•    Wesley Iwundu in his ninth start of the season led all Wildcats with 37 minutes played. The minutes played for Iwundu were a season high and nearly eclipsed his career high of 38 that came against Ole Miss on Dec. 5, 2013. The sophomore finished the game with 10 points to go along with four boards, and an assist, block and steal each.
•    K-State entered the contest ranking in the national Top-40 in free throws attempted (25th) and free throws made (37th) with those numbers holding serve against the Red Raiders. Both the Wildcats’ free throws attempted (26) and free throws made (21) were over their season averages in each category – 16.6 FT made/per game and 25 FT attempted/per game.

How It Happened  |  First Half
•    Texas Tech jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead with back-to-back baskets to open the contest. It would be the Red Raiders’ only lead of the half though, as the Wildcats responded with nine straight points for a 9-4 advantage at the 14:42 mark -  Wesley Iwundu, who led all first half scorers with eight points, played a major role during the run, pitching in five on 2-of-2 shooting.  
•    Sitting at 15-12 K-State with a little under 10 to play, the Wildcat defense locked down, holding Texas Tech scoreless over the next six minutes. That stretch saw the ‘Cats score 11 points from four different players, including five points from Marcus Foster.
•    Despite the struggles on the offensive side of the ball, the Red Raiders finished the first half strong, notching eight unanswered points to close the gap to 26-20 with 1:07 to play.
•    Primed to make a further dent into the K-State lead, the Red Raiders saw their opportunity get away as Nigel Johnson picked up a key steal with seven seconds remaining. After a K-State timeout, Johnson, who started for the second time this season, ended the half on a high note, going end-to-end to convert a lay-up as time expired and give K-State a 28-20 advantage.
•    Free throws played a major role in the game’s opening 20 – neither team shot particularly well from the field with K-State converting only 8-of-22 attempts for a 36.4 percent success rate, while Tech hit 8-of-21 attempts for a 38.1 percent shooting percentage – as the Wildcats racked up 10 points on 11 tries from the charity stripe compared to only four points on four attempts from the Red Raiders.
•    The Wildcats owned scoring on the fast break, 7-to-0, and off turnovers, 9-to-4, but gave up eight second chance points, compared to only three points for themselves, and were outscored 14-to-5 in bench scoring

How It Happened  |  Second Half
•    Tech came out firing in the second half, spotting 13 points in the first six minutes of the second half. The Wildcats though, scoring six points of their own and were able to hold the lead despite a brief 5-0 Red Raider run, as well as 11 points from Devaugntah Williams cutting their lead to 34-33.
•    After a 7-0 run made it 43-35 K-State thanks to three from Foster and 4-of-4 team shooting at the line, Tech would not relent, trading baskets to eventually cut the lead to four points, 45-41, with 6:09 to play.
•    Jevon Thomas’ lay-in extended the Wildcat lead to six following a sloppy sequence that saw K-State turn the ball over and Tech unable to capitalize missing two jumpers.
•    K-State could not pull away despite Foster hitting a jumper at the 4:30 to keep the lead at six, 49-43, as Tech’s Robert Turner hit from deep to pull the Red Raiders within three.
•    From there, the Wildcat defense held serve, allowing Tech to only score five more points on 2-of-6 shooting, while forcing two key turnovers.
•    The effort was needed, as K-State, 16-of-17 shooting at the line prior to this stretch, endured a 1-of-5 cold streak from the line for over two minutes before hitting 4-of-4 in the final 27 seconds of the contest to ice the victory – a garbage-time basket from Tech’s Zach Smith closed scoring for the final of 58-51.  
•    K-State was able to rebound slightly from a poor first half of shooting, hitting on 40.9 percent of its attempts (9-of-22), while Tech further crumbled. The Red Raiders chucked up 35 shots, but only saw 11 hit for a 31.4 percent success rate, though five of those came via the three (5-of-12 – 41 percent).

Beyond the Boxscore
•    K-State has now held 37 opponents to 60 points or less under head coach Bruce Weber, including 17 Big 12 points…the team is now 32-5 in those match-ups, including 16-1 in Big 12 play.
•    K-State notched its 10th-straight win against Texas Tech dating back to 2009, including six-straight at Bramlage Coliseum…the ‘Cats also improved to 21-10 overall and 13-2 at home in head-to-head contests.
•    Weber notched his 40th win at home in his tenure with K-State and is now 40-5 all-time, including 8-2 this season.
•    K-State is now 32-4 under head coach Bruce Weber when holding opponents to less than 60 points, including 4-2 for this season…the Wildcats are 3-4 when scoring under 60 points this season and 6-10 all-time under Weber.
•    Texas Tech outrebounded K-State 38-to-30, while also holding advantages in points in the paint (24-to-22) and bench scoring (39-to-20)…the Wildcats are 3-3 this season when being outrebounded…K-State did win the turnover battle narrowly, 13-to-11, converting those opportunities into 13 points compared to only nine for Tech.
•    Since dropping their Big 12 opener to Oklahoma State earlier this month, K-State has responded by holding its next three conference opponents to below their season scoring averages…the Red Raiders were the latest casualty, with their 51 points being well under their season average of 67.4 points.

•    “I thought we jumped on them pretty well from the start, we had a nice comfortable lead, but they put some pressure on us and just kept coming at us. We had to have some mature play down the stretch and we got enough stops when it counted. It was a maturity game coming back from the really good game against Oklahoma, we had to earn the victory and we did it. We fought and won the victory,” said head coach Bruce Weber.

Up Next
•    K-State continues its homestand on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to No. 22/23 Baylor (12-3, 1-2 Big 12) at 2 p.m. CT in the first game of a men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader at Bramlage Coliseum. The women’s team plays Iowa State at 7 p.m. Tickets for both games can be purchase through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets.