Wildcats Stuff Late UCSB Rally

Dec. 15, 2013

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K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. -  Despite turning the ball over 25 times, the Kansas State Wildcats staved off a late UC Santa Barbara rally to win, 73-64, Sunday afternoon in Bramlage Coliseum. The win boosted K-State’s winning streak to three games, which is the largest winning streak for the Wildcats since winning seven straight to open the 2012-13 season.

Leticia Romero led three Wildcat players in double digit scoring with 15 points, while adding five rebounds and five assists. Ashia Woods recorded 13 points, seven rebounds and five steals while Bri Craig notched 11 points off the bench including a 3-of-3 performance from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats (5-3) looked strong in the opening minutes, jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of the game over the Gauchos (4-5). The Wildcats led by as much as 14 points in the opening half and went into halftime holding a 39-27 lead. K-State did most of their damage on the inside, outscoring UCSB, 20-6, in the paint. As a team, the Wildcats shot a season-high for a half of 15-of-24 (62.5%) from the field, but were plagued by 16 turnovers. Romero led the way with nine first half points.

The Wildcats came out in the second half sluggishly, letting UCSB go on an 11-6 run, to cut the lead to 45-40 with 13:42 left in the game.

K-State answered right back with a 7-0 run of their own to push the lead back to 12 points. However, the Gauchos pieced together a 6-0 run capped off by two free-throws from Onome Jemerigbe, to bring the score to 61-59 with 3:15 remaining.

On K-State’s next possession, Craig knocked down three-pointer in transition to give the Wildcats’ a five-point advantage, 64-59. The visitors would not come any closer to threatening the lead, as the Wildcats would make seven of their last eight free-throws, including four straight points from Woods. K-State finished the game shooting 25-of-51 (49%) from the field.

Melissa Zornig led the Gauchos with 18 points, with Nicole Nesbit adding 15 and Jemerigbe with 11.

Bench depth proved to be a decisive factor, with the Wildcat reserves scoring 29 points to UCSB’s 11. The Wildcats also finished the day with a 36-28 advantage in points scored in the paint.

The Wildcats will have a few days off before a road matchup at Hampton on Saturday. That game is set for a 3 p.m. tipoff and can be heard on the K-State Sports Network.