Spradling Sparks K-State Past Texas Tech, 66-58

Jan. 29, 2014

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K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Senior Will Spradling scored a season-high 17 points to pace three Wildcats in double figures, as Kansas State earned a 66-58 win over Texas Tech at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday.

The win was the 11th consecutive at home for K-State (15-6, 5-3 Big 12), which moved to 28-2 in home games under head coach Bruce Weber, including 12-1 in Big 12 play. The win snapped a two-game losing streak after dropping back-to-back contests on the road at Texas and No. 16 Iowa State.

“Every time you win, even if it wasn’t pretty, you still have to be happy,” said Weber. “We came out in the first half and played energized basketball. It was good to be back home. We went on a stretch where we held them scoreless for eight minutes. We had great energy from the bench, and then Will (Spradling) got going as well. We had our chances in the first half to stretch it out. We have to make good decisions towards the end of the half. We keep giving up baskets in key momentum situations.”

Spradling, who scored in double figures for the second consecutive game, went 4-of-9 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, to go with a 7-of-8 effort from the free throw line. Joining Spradling in double figures was junior Nino Williams (13) and freshman Wesley Iwundu (11).

The bench was key for K-State, as reserves accounted for 25 points, including the big effort from Williams. It marked the ninth time this season that the bench has posted 20 or more points.

The defense was also stellar for K-State, as the team held Texas Tech (10-11, 2-6 Big 12) to 58 points on a season-low 33.9 percent (19-of-56) shooting from the field. The 58 points were the second-fewest scored by the Red Raiders, as the Wildcats have now held 11 opponents to 60 points or less.

After falling behind 9-7 in the first four minutes, a jumper by Williams tied the game and sparked a 16-2 run. During the run, K-State’s defense proved to be impenetrable, holding the Red Raiders to no field goals for nearly eight minutes. In that span, Williams scored five of his nine first-half points.

K-State would lead by as many as 14 points, and went into halftime holding a 32-20 advantage. The Wildcats had 10 assists on 48.1 percent shooting (13-of-27) from the field in the first half. Spradling and Williams paced the Wildcats with nine points each.

The Wildcats looked to extend their lead in the second half, after an alley-oop dunk from Iwundu gave K-State a 34-20 lead with 18:42 to play. However, Texas Tech found its stroke, going on a 22-12 run, to make the score, 46-42, with just 10 minutes to play.

Another dunk from Iwundu gave the Wildcats a boost, but a Red Raider tip-in and a 3-pointer from Dusty Hannahs made it a 48-47 contest with 7:16 to play.

However, a pair of free throws by Iwundu ignited a 6-0 run by K-State to push the advantage to seven points with 4:37 to play, as Texas Tech got no closer than four points the rest of the way.

The Wildcats made 12 straight free throws in the last 6:12 of the game, including six in a row by Spradling and two each by Iwundu, Williams and senior Shane Southwell.

“We missed four layups to start the second half, and then they pushed it at us and got some baskets,” said Weber. “They started to feel good and the game changes. In gut-check time, Will made an unbelievable layup. Marcus (Foster) did not make many shots, but he made a great pass to Wesley (Iwundu) for a dunk. We also got enough stops when we needed to. They do not quit. Tubby Smith has done a great job. They are a tough team. They play together and they play hard.”

Jaye Crockett led Texas Tech with 15 points, while Hannahs came off the bench to score 14.

K-State connected on 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field, including just 20 percent (3-of-15) from 3-point range, and knocked down 70.4 percent (19-of-27) from the free throw line, including 75 percent (15-of-20) in the second half.

Despite losing the rebounding battle, 34-32, the Wildcats were able to outscore the Red Raiders, 28-24, in the paint. K-State has now outscored 12 opponents in the paint this season.

Kansas State hits the road this weekend, as the Wildcats travel to Morgantown, W.Va., to face West Virginia (12-9, 4-4 Big 12) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. CT on the Big 12 Network.