K-State's Comeback Falls Short to Georgia, 50-46

Postgame Notes

– Kansas State saw its rally from a 15-point second half come up short, as Georgia held on to post a 50-46 win on New Year’s Eve before a sold-out crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum.

After the Wildcats had rallied to take a 46-43 lead with 2:49 to play, the Bulldogs (8-3) scored the game’s final seven points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer from senior Nemanja Djurisic with 1:07 remaining, to push their win streak to season-high five games. The team went 3-of-4 from the free throw line to close out the game.

K-State (7-6), which dropped consecutive non-conference home games for the first time in Bramlage Coliseum history, was led by senior Thomas Gipson, who had game-highs of points (19) and rebounds (9).

The Basics
Final Score: Georgia 50, Kansas State 46
Records: Kansas State (7-6, 0-0 Big 12); Georgia (8-3, 0-0 SEC)
Attendance: 12,528 (sellout)
Next Game: Saturday, Jan. 3 \\ at Oklahoma State (10-2) \\ 11 a.m. CT \\ ESPNU

The Short Story
•    Down 35-20 with 12:10 to play in the contest, K-State used a 22-6 run capped by a 3-pointer from sophomore Nigel Johnson to take a 42-41 lead with 4:31 to play. It was the Wildcats’ first lead since 12-11 with 6:25 remaining in the first half. Johnson (8) and Gipson (7) combined to score 15 points during the run, while sophomore Wesley Iwundu added 5 points.
•    Gipson gave the Wildcats their largest lead at 44-41 with a lay-up at the 3:35 mark then added a pair of free throws to extend it to 46-43 with 2:49 to play.
•    Gipson scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half on 5-of-6 field goals and 7-of-9 free throw. Five of his 9 rebounds also came after halftime to go with 1 assist and 1 block in 18 minutes.
•    Djurisic scored 4 of Georgia’s last 7 points, while junior Charles Mann put the game out of reach with a pair of free throws with 5 seconds remaining. Mann led two Bulldogs in double figures with 17 points.
•    The teams set three Bramlage Coliseum marks, including fewest combined points (96), fewest combined points in a half (32) and fewest points in a half (K-State/12). The 96 points tied the mark set on Dec. 29, 2012 (K-State 52, UMKC 44), while the 32 combined points in the first half eclipsed the mark of 42 set on Nov. 29, 2004 (K-State 32, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 10).
•    K-State’s 12 first-half points were the second-fewest in a half in school history and the lowest since scoring 11 at Oklahoma State (1/6/1992). They were the fewest points in a half in the arena’s history, surpassing the 18 vs. Colorado (3/4/1995) and Kansas (2/13/2012).
•    K-State posted season-lows in six categories, including points (46), points in a half (12), field goal percentage (31.9), 3-point field goals (1), 3-point field goal percentage (7.1) and field goal percentage in a half (21.7). The Wildcats are now 1-6 when scoring less than 70 points this season.

How It Happened  |  First Half
•    K-State jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a lay-up from senior Nino Williams before Georgia scored 8 straight points, including 3-pointers from Kenny Gaines and Mann.
•    The Wildcats went more than 7 minutes without a field goal before freshman Malek Harris’ tip-in at the 12:16 mark to close the gap to 8-4.
•    The tip-in started an 8-0 run, which gave K-State a 10-8 lead at the 9:40 mark.
•    After a jumper by Gipson gave the Wildcats a 12-11 lead with 6:25 to play in the first half, the Bulldogs ended the half with 9 straight points to take a 20-12 lead into halftime.
•    Georgia scored 16 of its 20 points off of 16 K-State turnovers.

How It Happened  |  Second Half
•    The two teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the second half before the Bulldogs their lead into double digits with 6 straight points for a 35-20 lead with 12:10 to play.
•    Gipson started a 24-6 run over the next 8:23 with a pair of free throws at the 11:58 mark. During the run, Gipson scored 9 points on 2-of-2 field goals and 5-of-6 shooting from the free throw line.
•    Johnson gave the Wildcats the lead at 42-41 with the team’s first and only 3-pointer with 4:31 to play before Gipson’s lay-up made it 44-41 at the 3:35 mark.
•    A lay-up by Mann and a pair of Gipson free throws made it 46-43 with 2:49 to play.
•    Senior Marcus Thornton started the 7-0 run to end the game with 1-of-2 free throws followed by the Djurisic 3-pointer with 1:07 to play that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good.
•    Georgia connected on 3-of-4 free throws to seal the victory.
•    K-State had just 3 turnovers in the second half, resulting in 4 Georgia points.

Beyond the Boxscore
•    K-State fell to 1-6 when scoring less than 70 points… The team is 6-0 when eclipsing the mark.
•    K-State lost for just fourth time (in 26 games) under Bruce Weber when holding opponent to 60 points or less… The Wildcats are 4-7 under Bruce Weber and 1-2 this season when scoring less than 60 points.
•    Georgia scored 20 points off of 19 K-State turnovers and held a 20-13 edge in points off turnovers.
•    K-State held a 39-26 advantage on the boards, including 13 offensive rebounds… The Wildcats out-scored the Bulldogs in points in the paint (26-20), second-chance (10-0) and fast-break points (4-2).
•    K-State received a season-high 41 from its bench.
•    Gipson led all scorers with 19 points, including 17 in the second half… He went 6-of-9 field goals and 7-of-10 from free throw line… He has now led the team in scoring 4 times this season… He has now scored in double figures in 51 career games, including 7 times this season… He also led with a game-high 9 rebounds, which marks the 5th time this season and 33rd time overall he led the way in rebounds.

•    “Obviously another heartbreaker for us, but give our kids credit. I thought they played hard the whole time. It was probably our best defensive team effort against a team that averages 75-to-80 points per game. We held them to 20 in the first half and most of that was off of our turnovers – that was all they had plus the breakdown in the half-court at the end of the half. We just had a hangover from the other day. It is hard and an emotional hangover. It is hard to deal with. A couple of guys fought through it, but some guys did not. Some guys played hard in the first half, but you cannot turn it over and try to make plays too quick and miss lay-ups. But, we found a group of five that wanted to battle, play, and got some things done. That is the kind of effort we need all of the time and hopefully we will continue to get that. I am proud of them, but disappointed that we could not get a win,” said head coach Bruce Weber.   

Up Next
•    K-State (7-6) begins Big 12 play on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Stillwater, Okla., to face Oklahoma State (10-2) at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip is set for 11 a.m. CT and will air nationally on ESPNU. The squad returns home on Wednesday, Jan. 7 when they play post to TCU (13-0) at 8 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.