What happens to K-State when Xavier Sneed shoots 4-13 (2-8 from 3-point range), Kamau Stokes shoots 3-12 (1-8), Dean Wade shoots 5-11 (1-4), and Barry Brown shoots 4-13 (0-7)? No, this is not a riddle. It’s not a trick question. There is no gotcha, no “Ah-hah!” All together, now: “K-State loses.”
Really, this recap could just about end there. You shoot 32.1% (18-56), including 12.9% (4-31!) from outside as a team, and you lose. Even in junior high school, you usually lose. This was unexpected, because K-State as a team—Stokes especially—has shot well recently. They beat Vanderbilt on the road mainly because they were able to make 3-point shots and midrange jumpers every time the Commodores made a run.
Tonight, the ‘Cats should not have even been in the game. They stayed ahead for awhile, and remained close, for three reasons: free throw shooting (14-17) hustle plays (9 steals) and early defense (held Tulsa to 32% shooting in the first half).
The defense deserves some credit. It pestered the Golden Hurricanes, turned them over 15 times, and held them to 61 points. Nine nights of ten, that effort will win the game. This was night number ten.
Coincidentally, 10 was also the the rebounding margin, with Tulsa grabbing 40 to K-State’s 30. For a period of the game, Dean Wade and Xavier Sneed cleaned the defensive glass with authority. Sneed also had a spectacular one-handed rebound/slam in the first half. But the rebounding effort was not aided by the abundance of K-State shots that ricocheted or fell into the hands of Tulsa defenders. Overall, rebounding remains the most glaring of K-State’s weaknesses.
The Big 4 all hit double-figures, led by Sneed’s inefficient 15. Wade, the best of the starters offensively tonight, scored 13, with Stokes and Brown contributing 11 and 10, respectively. The post players combined for three points and five rebounds in 39 minutes. The bench scored a total of two points.
Credit to Tulsa for its active match-up zone defense. But K-State had oodles of open looks. They just did not hit enough of them. In a game where shots aren’t falling, you have to do enough other things well to overcome. Tonight, the ‘Cats did not.
Bad games happen. Nobody is immune, as ranked teams have been reminded all week. Go take finals, get back to practice, and put a better effort on the floor next time.
No breakdown of highs and lows tonight. They are all apparent in the preceding lament.