Cats Slip Past Tigers

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Ashley Sweat had 25 points and made the decisive plays down the stretch, helping No. 18 Kansas State hold off pesky Missouri 58-54 Wednesday night.

Kansas State (19-2, 6-2 Big 12), coming off a 60-50 loss to Iowa State, entered with the nation's best scoring defense at 49.8 points per game, but it was Missouri's defense that dictated the flow of this game.

Collapsing in the lane and racing back out to Kansas State's perimeter shooters, the Tigers (10-11, 1-7) repeatedly forced the Wildcats deep into the shot clock, resulting in difficult shots. Missouri held Kansas State to 38 percent shooting, but couldn't stop Sweat to lose its 13th straight conference road game and fifth game overall.

Jessra Johnson led Missouri with 12 points, while Hollins and Bekah Mills added 11 each.

Shalin Spani and Marlies Gipson had 11 points each for Kansas State, but Sweat was the difference, keeping the Wildcats in it with her shooting and taking over in the final 90 seconds.

Sweat first grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed free throw by Shalee Lehning, then grabbed another on the same possession. She followed with a three-point play to put Kansas State up 54-52 with just under a minute left, then grabbed a defensive rebound after a miss by Hollins.

After Kari Kincaid hit 1 of 2 free throws, Johnson scored on a putback to cut the lead to 55-54, but Sweat followed with two free throws with 18 seconds left. Gipson provided the final margin by hitting 1 of 2 free throws with 5 seconds left to give Kansas State its 12th straight home win.

Missouri got off to a miserable start. Unable to get much of anything inside of 15 feet, the Tigers missed their first seven shots and didn't have a point until Mills scored on a tough runner 6 minutes into the game. Missouri went another 3 minutes before scoring again, falling behind 15-4.

The Tigers kept playing defense, though, forcing Kansas State use most of the shot clock on just about every possession. The Wildcats didn't help themselves by trying to force the ball inside and ended up shooting just 10-of-29 in the first half.

Missouri finally started hitting shots midway through, with Hollins' turnaround triggering a 16-3 run that put the Tigers up 23-20. The Tigers led by three at halftime and kept up the defensive pressure to start the second half, hitting enough shots to keep Kansas State from making a run.

Kansas State finally grabbed the lead at 43-42 on Shalin Spani's 3-pointer with about 8 minutes left, setting up the tight finish.