The usual culprit reared its ugly head this afternoon at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. With a decent lead, Bruce Weber decided to try and eat the clock, and the Kansas State offense stalled in the process.
But this time, the end was acceptable. With 1.6 seconds left in a tie game, Kamau Stokes rimmed a jumper, and D.J. Johnson was fouled while tipping the rebound into the cylinder. Johnson made the free throw, Texas (10-17, 4-10) was unable to get a deep inbound, and the Wildcats (17-10, 6-8) escaped with a 64-61 victory.
That final basket was mired in some confusion, as the initial call on the floor was that Johnson was fouled before the tip. That was overruled, however, and the basket counted.
An earlier controversy saw Austin Budke ejected for clotheslining Jarrett Allen while attempting to block a shot. It was unquestionably a foul, but whether it was a flagrant two is possibly arguable. Two Longhorn bench players were also ejected for leaving the bench in the ensuing mini-fracas. K-State persevered, however, and somehow survived the loss of Budke.
The real theme of the game, however, was the shooting. Despite tailing off badly in the second half — K-State had 39 points at halftime, but both teams combined for only 50 afterward — K-State shot 53% from the field and from behind the arc, and hit ten of 12 free-throws (83%). Texas was “only” 47% from the field, but hit 57% from three-land.
Wesley Iwundu led K-State with 16 points and seven rebounds. Barry Brown added 15, and Stokes had 14. Johnson just missed double figures, as the three points he scored in the final two seconds brought him to nine.
Texas was led by Kendal Yancy with 13 points; Allen scored a dozen.
The win leaves K-State with the same Big 12 road record (3-4) as they possess at Bramlage. The good news for the Wildcats is that the final four games are eminently winnable affairs. They return home for a Wednesday visit by Oklahoma State, the most dangerous game remaining on paper; they finish at home against Texas Tech. In between are visits to Oklahoma and TCU. It is entirely possible that the Wildcats could finish with a better record away from Bramlage than in it.
Octagon of Gloom, indeed.