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K-State unable to complete comeback in 70-65 loss to Iowa State

The Wildcats ripped off a 20-3 run in the second half, but weren’t able to turn it into a win

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

K-State has seen this movie before.

It’s a film those familiar with the Wildcats have seen time and again, as K-State fell in the closing moments at Maryland, Kansas and Texas Tech — and now Iowa State.

The Wildcats erased what was at one point a 20-point deficit in Ames, Iowa Tuesday night and took the lead with five minutes left — only to see it evaporate in an eventual 70-65 loss to the Cyclones.

Barry Brown was the man responsible for the Wildcats’ late lead, converting on a transition layup and capping a 20-3 K-State run.

It was magical, all right — but as the Wildcats (15-5, 4-4 Big 12) know by now, it’s the final minutes that make the difference, and that’s what led to K-State’s demise Tuesday against an Iowa State (13-6, 5-3) team relentless beyond the arc.

Trailing 69-65 with 8 seconds left, K-State had a chance to snare a quick bucket in hopes of staging a comeback, but Kamau Stokes lost the ball, D.J. Johnson fouled Iowa State’s Deonte Burton’s breakaway dunk attempt, and the rest was history for a K-State team finding itself on the wrong end of it too often this season.

The run, though — it all started at the free throw line, where Johnson hit a foul shot and Wesley Iwundu added two more. Each then hit consecutive layups, the latter of which was an and-1 from Johnson with 9:26 left.

After close baskets from each Johnson and Kamau Stokes, freshman guard Xavier Sneed drilled a pair of 3-balls, the second of which sliced the deficit to just one with 5:32 left.

That’s when Brown laid the ball in the hoop for a K-State lead, but that’s also when the Wildcats began their late descent down the mountain with which fans are now all too familiar.

Iowa State guard Matt Thomas — who totaled 25 points on seven 3s — connected on a guarded jumper, and Monte Morris made a layup to stretch the Cylones’ lead back to three with 4:07 left.

After a Johnson free throw, Morris canned a jumper and two free throws for a six-point Iowa State lead.

Stokes later missed one of two free throws, but his two costly turnovers doomed K-State.

The Wildcats, who again saw five players score in double figures Tuesday night, return to action 1 p.m. Saturday at Tennessee.