K-State Comes Up Short to Texas, 61-57


MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State’s late rally came up short on Saturday, as the Wildcats dropped a 61-57 decision to No. 25 Texas before a sellout crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Down 59-57 with 17 seconds remaining, K-State had an opportunity to either tie or take the lead in the closing seconds of contest, but senior Thomas Gipson’s shot would not go. The Longhorns’ Isaiah Taylor, who scored a game-high 23 points, would close the door on any remaining comeback opportunities, hitting both of his free throw attempts with 1.4 seconds remaining for the eventual 61-57 final.

Kansas State (12-12, 5-6 Big 12) dropped the close contest despite tying a season-low for field goal percentage at 31.9 percent (15-of-47), including just 24 percent (6-of-25) in the first half. It marked the 10th time this season that the Wildcats have registered a shooting percent of 40 percent or lower.

Texas (15-8, 4-6 Big 12) connected on better than 50 percent from the field in both halves and finished at 54.1 percent (20-of-37) for the game. Seven of the eight Longhorns who played scored in contest led by Taylor’s 23.

Individually, Nino Williams once again paced the Wildcats in scoring, collecting 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. He was joined in double-figures by freshman Tre Harris and sophomore Nigel Johnson, who both came off the bench to score 12 and 10 points, respectively.

With the loss, the Wildcats saw their losing streak reach a season-worst four games, which is the longest of the Bruce Weber era and the longest since also dropping four in a row from Jan. 10-21, 2009.

Both teams played without key players, as K-State’s Marcus Foster and Malek Harris remained on suspension, while Texas was without the injured Jonathan Holmes and Javan Felix.

The Basics
Final Score: 25/rv Texas 61, Kansas State 57
Records: Kansas State (12-12, 5-6 Big 12); 25/rv (15-8, 4-6 Big 12)
Attendance: 12,528 (paid - sellout)
Next Game: Wednesday, Feb. 11 \\ vs. 15/12 West Virginia (18-5, 6-4 Big 12) \\ 6 p.m. CT \\ ESPNU

The Short Story
•    K-State was weighed down by a tough first-half performance on the offensive end that saw them go 6-of-25 (24 percent) from the field, while enduring a scoreless stretch of 8-plus minutes. Despite the struggles, the Wildcats entered the second half tied with the Longhorns 27-27.
•    The Wildcats fared somewhat better in the second half, hitting 9-of-22 for a 40.9 percent success rate, but were unable to keep pace with the Longhorns, losing the lead for good with 10 minutes remaining in the second half. Up 42-41 at the 10:34 mark, K-State was outscored 20-15 to close out the contest.
•    Timely 3-point shooting and a relatively strong showing from the free throw line kept the Wildcats afloat for most of the contest. K-State went 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) from the free throw line in the first half to counteract the poor shooting from the field, while also using three-consecutive 3-pointers from Tre Harris to kick-start an eventual 7-0 run to tie the game at 27-all.
•    The second half was similar from deep with the Wildcats’ comeback being powered thanks to two 3’s from Nigel Johnson and one from Nino Williams to cut the deficit to only two, 59-57, with 17 seconds remaining. K-State finished the half hitting 5 of their 8 attempts from deep for a 62.5 percent success rate.
•    K-State’s overall shooting percentage from the field of 31.9 percent matched a season-low, set previously against Georgia on New Year’s Eve. The Wildcats also finished 8-of-16 (50 percent) from long range and 19-of-25 (76 percent) from the line. They are now 4-11 in games when shooting below 50 percent.
•    Williams’ 13 points marked a team-leading eighth time he has led the Wildcats in scoring this season, as well as marked the 25th double-digit scoring game of his career. The senior also pitched in a team-leading 8 rebounds, including 3 on the offensive end.
•    Also scoring in double-figures were Harris and Johnson. Harris’ 12 points marked his second career double-figure scoring performance, as he was true on 4-of-6 attempts from deep. Johnson posted his third double-figure scoring performance of the season with 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field.
•    Despite a tough shooting performance, the Wildcats excelled in several other areas, leading the Longhorns in points off turnovers (15-to-6), second-chance points (9-to-4), fast break points (7-to-0) and bench scoring (26-to-16). K-State also picked up 13 assists to the Longhorns’ 11 and forced Texas into seven turnovers. The Longhorns found most of their success in the paint, scoring 22 points to K-State’s 10 in the paint and outrebounding the ‘Cats 31-to-25.

How It Happened  |  First Half
•    The Wildcats and Longhorns opened up the contest trading baskets with an Isaiah Taylor 3-point play giving Texas a 7-6 lead at the 16:14 mark – Wesley Iwundu and Nino Williams combined for the six points on K-State’s side.
•    The Longhorns would push their advantage to 11-6 before Williams responded for the ‘Cats, scoring four of the Wildcats’ next six unanswered to give K-State a 12-11 lead with 12:22 remaining.
•    Missing on their next 12 shots, the Wildcats battled through a scoreless stretch that ran for 8:17 before Justin Edwards hit a free throw to close the gap to 24-13. They would not hit a field goal again until Tre Harris ignited a dormant Wildcat offense with his first of three-consecutive 3-pointers at the 3:23 mark.
•    During the scoreless stretch, Texas took advantage going on a 13-0 run to balloon their advantage to 24-12. Harris though would cut that lead to single digits, hitting from deep to close the lead to 25-17.
•    The freshman continued his hot shooting, outscoring the Longhorns 9-2 himself thanks to three-consecutive threes. His third three, which cut the Longhorn lead to 27-23, kick-started what would be a 7-0 run to end the half for K-State.
•    The Wildcats went 4-of-4 from the line in the final 34 seconds of the first half, stifling the Texas offense in the process. K-State forced two key turnovers in the final minute-and-a-half of the opening 20, eventually tying the game, 27-27.
•    Texas led the way in shooting, hitting 12-of-22 from the field for a 54.5 percent success rate, while the Wildcats hit on only 6-of-25 (24 percent) attempts. K-State made up for the big-time shooting discrepancy though with a strong showing from the line, 12-of-14 (85.7 percent), and 3-of-8 shooting from deep, compared to only 1-of-7 for the burnt orange.
•    Also of note, the Wildcats forced Texas into 6 turnovers, converting the Longhorn miscues into 8 points.

How It Happened  |  Second Half
•    The second half opened with a flurry of scoring from both sides, with K-State holding a slight edge in points through the first 10 minutes of the half, 14-13, to take a 42-41 lead. The Wildcats got scoring contributions from five different players during the opening stretch, including 3 points each from Tre Harris, Nigel Johnson and Nino Williams.
•    Texas would take control soon after, scoring eight-straight to take a 49-42 lead at the 8:15 mark.
•    K-State saw that lead grow to 55-47 with 2:50 to play, as the Wildcats were outscored 14-to-5 in the seven-plus minute stretch after they took the lead midway through the second half.
•    Forcing the Longhorns to the free throw line where they would go 6-of-10, the Wildcats scored 10 points in the following two-plus minutes to close the gap to 59-57. Johnson (7) and Williams (3) combined to score all 10 points.
•    Down 59-57 with 17 seconds to play, the Wildcats had the opportunity to either tie or take the lead, but Thomas Gipson’s shot would not fall. A following scramble for the rebound resulted in a jump ball and possession for the Longhorns. Isaiah Taylor would go onto ice the game with two free throws for the eventual final of 61-57.
•    The Wildcats improved their shooting in the second half, hitting 40.9 percent (9-of-22) of their field goal attempts, including 62.5 percent (5-of-8) of their tries from deep. Texas kept K-State at bay with timely scoring though, notching all 6 of its point off turnovers in the second half thanks to 3 Wildcat miscues.
•    The second half saw the lead change a total of six times and was tied only once, at the beginning of the contest’s final 20.

Beyond the Boxscore
•    K-State is now 17-12 all-time against Texas in head-to-head match-ups, including 12-13 in Big 12 play… The loss is the first at home for the Wildcats against Texas under head coach Bruce Weber, 2-1, and they are now 9-4 all-time in Manhattan.
•    K-State did not reach the 60-point plateau for the fourth consecutive game, which is the longest such streak since also doing it 4 straight games from Feb. 15-26, 1997.
•    Texas outscored K-State 22-to-10 in the paint… The points scored for K-State tied for the fewest ever – the Wildcats also notched 10 points in the paint at home against Nebraska on Jan. 11, 2006.
•    The Wildcats committed only 5 turnovers – their lowest total of the season, trumping the previous low 7 set against KU on Jan. 31, 2015.

•    “I’m proud of our guys, they fought and battled. We obviously had a lid on the hoop, we haven’t been the best offensive team all year, and I thought we would do a little better job against their zone. But we couldn’t get shots down. I’m just disappointed, in both games we worked so hard, there was just not enough there to find a victory. All we can do is help the guys to move forward. We had an unbelievable crowd, they stuck with us. I understood it would be hard when we weren’t making shots, but they were great. We just have to help each other, keep working at it and see if we can find a way to get a victory here sooner than later,” said head coach Bruce Weber.

Up Next
•    K-State returns to action on Wednesday, as the Wildcats travel to Morgantown, W.Va., to face No. 15/12 West Virginia (18-5, 6-4 Big 12) at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The Mountaineers won the first meeting, 65-59, in Manhattan on Jan. 27 and will attempt to sweep the season series for the first time in the Big 12 era.