K-State Falls Short to No. 3/4 Arizona, 72-68

MAUI, Hawai’i – Kansas State got a near-record setting effort from sophomore Marcus Foster, as the Wildcats put up a stiff challenge in a 72-68 loss to No. 3/4 Arizona in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational on Tuesday before a sold-out crowd of 2,400 at Lahaina Civic Center.

Foster led all scorers with 23 points, which included a near personal-best six 3-pointers.

K-State (3-2, 0-0 Big 12) will now face Pittsburgh (3-2, 0-0 ACC) on Wednesday in the third-place game at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2. Arizona will play No. 15/15 San Diego State (5-0, 0-0 MWC) in the title contest.

Final Score: 3/4 Arizona 72, Kansas State 68
Records: Kansas State (3-2, 0-0 Big 12); Arizona (5-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Attendance: 2,400 (sold out)
Next Game: Wednesday, Nov. 26 \\ vs. Pittsburgh at EA Sports Maui Invitational \\ 6:30 p.m. CT \\ ESPN2

The Short Story
•    Arizona extended a one-point halftime lead to as many as nine in the second half before Kansas State rallied to within two points on two occasions in the waning minutes.
•    Arizona connected on 53.3 percent (24-of-45), including 63.2 percent (12-of-19) in the second half. The Wildcats also knocked down 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the free throw line in the second half.
•    K-State shot 44.9 percent (22-of-49) from the field, including 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from 3-point range, and 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the free throw line. The Wildcats connected on 52 percent (13-of-25) in the second half, including 60 percent (3-of-5) from 3, and 90 percent (9-of-10) from the charity stripe.
•    Foster recorded his 10th career 20-point contest, including his second in 2014-15, with a game-high 23 points to pace four players with 9 or more points. It marked his 31st career double-digit scoring game, including his fourth this season, while he has now led the team in scoring 19 times in his career.
•    Foster connected on 7-of-14 field goals, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range. The six 3-pointers are the second-most in his career and the most since knocking down seven vs. Baylor (3/8/14).
•    Senior Thomas Gipson, sophomore Wesley Iwundu and senior Nino Williams all scored 9 points.
•    Arizona posted a 30-26 advantage in points in the paint and held a 30-23 edge in rebounding.
•    Arizona out-scored K-State, 12-6, in second-chance points.
•    K-State scored 19 points off of 12 Arizona turnovers, marking the fourth time this season that the Wildcats have tallied 19 or more points off of opponent miscues.

How It Happened  |  First Half
•    After Arizona opened the scoring with a lay-up, K-State jumped out to a 13-6 lead after Foster’s second 3-pointer at the 15:23 mark of the first half.
•    K-State stayed in front for much of the first half until Arizona took its first lead at 23-22 after a Brandon Ashley lay-up and a pair of free throws from Stanley Johnson with 4:48 remaining.
•    After Nigel Johnson tied it at 27-all with a 3-pointer, Arizona scored got another jumper from Ashley and a pair of free throws from Kaleb Tarczewski to take four-point lead at the 1:30 mark.
•    A free throw by Iwundu and a tip-in by Stephen Hurt at the buzzer made it 31-30 at halftime.
•    Arizona shot 46.2 percent (12-of-26) in the first half and held an 18-10 edge in the paint.
•    Foster led all scorers with 11 points in the first half.

How It Happened  |  Second Half
•    The two teams went back and forth in the early going of the second half, as K-State holding a 3-point lead at the 18:49 mark before Arizona grabbed and extended the lead to many as four at the 14:50 mark.
•    After a Gipson lay-up gave K-State a 43-42 lead with 12:48 to play, Arizona used a 10-0 run to take its largest lead at 52-43 with 10:38 to play on a 3-pointer by Gabe York.
•    Arizona maintained a multiple possession lead until a Foster 3-pointer cut it to 66-64 with 2:35 to play.
•    After a 3-point miss and a rebound, K-State came down the court with the opportunity to tie or take the lead but Nino Williams’ jumper rattled out with 1:44 to play.
•    Arizona would make 3-of-4 free throws to extend it out to 69-64 with just 17 seconds remaining before another Foster 3-pointer cut it to 69-67 with 11 ticks.
•    Johnson would give K-State yet another opportunity, going 1-of-2 from the free throw line to make it 70-67 with 10 seconds left, but Arizona wisely fouled Foster before he could attempt a game-tying 3-pointer.
•    Foster went 1-of-2 from the stripe to make it 70-68 and Hollis-Jefferson made both of his free throws for the final margin of victory.

Beyond the Boxscore
•    With the loss, K-State is now 93-23 in non-conference play since 2006-07… The Wildcats are now 24-7 in non-conference play, including 5-4 in-season tournament play, under head coach Bruce Weber.
•    K-State is now 3-4 all-time in Maui Invitational play.
•    The loss snapped four-game winning streak in tournament games in the state of Hawai’i.
•    K-State still leads the all-time series with Arizona, 8-6, and has now lost three straight in the series… It marked the first match-up between the schools on a neutral court since the 1951 NCAA Tournament at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
•    Head coach Bruce Weber is now 1-3 all-time vs. Arizona with three straight losses.

Quotable
•    “Well, you come to these tournaments to play against good competition if on a neutral floor and learn about your team. I think we've made a lot of progress since last Friday. I've asked them to have an urgency, and I think we've done that. We've competed. We've played hard. Now we've got to do some little things, some execution and get better on that part." said head coach Bruce Weber.

Up Next
•    K-State will now play Pittsburgh on the hardwood for the first time in each teams’ respective histories in the EA Sports Maui Invitational third-place game. The match-up will tip off at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2 with Sean McDonough (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) on the call.