Kansas State’s Big 12 season did not get off to an auspicious beginning. Two and a half minutes in, the Wildcats had already spotted Texas six points, and two minutes later they still trailed 11-4.
No worries. 7:27 later, Texas still only had 11 points, and the Cats had gone on a 15-0 run. Although the Longhorns did retake a one-point lead a minute before halftime, K-State (12-1, 1-0) cruised in the second half before having to hold on for a 65-62 victory tonight at Bramlage Coliseum.
Things did get interesting at the very end, as Texas (6-7, 0-1) finally found a three-point stroke in the final minute, turning an eight-point game into a one-possession affair with six seconds left. But Kamau Stokes, who was 9-10 from the stripe on the night, buried both free throws to seal the victory.
Dean Wade and Wesley Iwundu stepped up tonight, with the pair being responsible for most of the first-half surge, and Wade going off early in the second half to help the Wildcats build the cushion they’d protect over the final ten minutes.
Wade was responsible for seven of the team’s points during the 15-0 run, and poured in ten during the first seven minutes of the second half, including back-to-back threes. Those contributions added up to all but one of Wade’s 18 points on the night, while Iwundu added 16 and seven rebounds. Stokes also checked in with double figures at 15, while D.J. Johnson added nine and Barry Brown seven.
There were two glaring nightmares on the night, one for each team. For the Wildcats, the nightmare becomes apparent if you add up the scoring totals in the previous paragraph. K-State got zero points from the bench. As for Texas, the plague was the empty possession. The Longhorns took five shots which found nothing but air, and committed 17 turnovers to K-State’s 12. That included a 12-5 disadvantage in steals.
Jarrett Allen led Texas with a 14-13 double-double, and Shaquille Cleare and Kerwin Roach added ten points each. The Cats were beaten 36-29 on the boards, but had a massive 26-7 edge from the free throw line, and perhaps an even more jarring 33-12 advantage in free throw attempts.
Ultimately, a three-point win over a bad Texas team at home isn’t the greatest outcome. But a win is a win. Next up is Tuesday night at Allen Field House, as the Wildcats get the Sunflower Showdown underway. That could be interesting; as we publish, the Jayhawks are in a dogfight with TCU down in Fort Worth.