K-State drops nailbiter at No. 11 Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas Kansas State gave No. 11 Texas A&M all it wanted, but the Wildcats were unable to rally down the stretch and the Aggies escaped with a 69-65 victory Saturday night at Reed Arena in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Akeem Wright scored a career-high 18 points and David Hoskins added 11 before fouling out with 36 seconds to play to lead Kansas State (10-5, 0-1 Big 12).

Acie Law paced Texas A&M (13-2, 1-0 Big 12) with 18 points and Joseph Jones chipped in with 17 for the Aggies, who shot 85 percent (22-26) from the free throw line and made four more free throws than the Wildcats even attempted (18).

Kansas State and Texas A&M battled through eight ties and 22 lead changes, including an incredible 14 in the second half, as the momentum seesawed back and forth all night long.

The Aggies led 32-30 at intermission and went up by four early in the second half before a 3-pointer by Clent Stewart and a jumper by Wright put the Wildcats on top 35-34.

A 7-0 run by K-State that featured a trey and a pair of free throws by Lance Harris and a layup by Blake Young made it 53-48 Wildcats with just over 12 minutes to play.

It was the largest lead held by either team during the second half, but Texas A&M had an answer and used a 9-2 run of its own over the next five minutes to take a 57-55 lead.

Two free throws by Cartier Martin and a pair by Hoskins gave K-State a 61-59 lead with 4:48 to play, but the Aggies answered once again behind a 3-pointer and a layup by Josh Carter to go back on top 64-61.

Wright connected on two more field goals in the final minute, but Texas A&M was able to put the game on ice by hitting 5-of-8 at the free throw line to hold off the Cats.

The Wildcats posted the only sustained run during the opening 20 minutes and took a 14-9 lead midway through the period following a layup by Wright and back-to-back 3-pointers from Martin and Stewart.

Texas A&M led by as many as three points on three occasions, the last coming after a pair of free throws by Carter for a 30-27 Aggie lead with 1:26 left in the half.

Wright answered with a free throw and a put back to tie the game with 25 seconds to go before Jones converted a layup just before the buzzer to send the Wildcats to the locker room down by two.

Kansas State makes its Big 12 home debut on Monday, Jan. 8, at 9 p.m. (CST), when the Wildcats host Bob Knight and the Texas Tech Red Raiders for a Big Monday tilt that will be televised nationally by ESPN.