Tennessee was able to gather their own misses, while K-State was not, and that’s the basic storyline behind the Wildcats’ 70-58 loss to Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.
The Wildcats (15-6, 4-4) were really never in this. Austin Budke came off the bench for his first appearance as a scholarship player with just under eight minutes to play in the first half, and K-State went on a 7-0 run in which the Volunteer lead was trimmed from 26-13 to 26-20. But Tennessee (12-9, 4-4) immediately went back on the offensive, pulling ahead by 17 at the half.
Unlike earlier in the week at Ames, however, K-State did not have a huge rally in the tank. The Wildcats only managed to trim the Tennessee lead to single digits for 30 seconds in the second half.
The big difference was rebounds. Tennessee literally recovered half of their misses (16 of 32); K-State only had seven offensive rebounds all afternoon against 31 misses. The Vols also outrebounded the Cats on the defensive end, 27-22, for an overall 43-29 advantage. Nine of those 29 boards were courtesy of D.J. Johnson, who still came nowhere near a double-double as he only scored four points.
Barry Brown led the Wildcats with 17; Wesley Iwundu had 14 and 6 rebounds, and Kamau Stokes finished with 11 points. Grant Williams joined Brown as the game’s high scorer with 17 for Tennessee.
K-State returns home to face TCU (14-6, 3-5) on Wednesday, and with Baylor and Kansas following that one a loss is simply not a thing the Cats can legitimately weather.