In a game that featured two of the Big 12’s most offensively inept squads, TCU used hot outside shooting and (what else?) a Kansas State scoring drought over the last six minutes to beat the Wildcats, 68-57. TCU ended its six-game skid. K-State’s losing streak, meanwhile, now stands at five.
K-State (9-15, 2-10 Big 12) persevered through the usual inconsistencies and lapses to lead 52-51 with 6:47 to play. But the Cats did not make another field goal until a meaningless David Sloan lay-up with 29 seconds left. TCU (14-11, 5-7) finished on a 17-5 run to pull away in what had been a closely contested game to that point.
Three-point shooting was the glaring difference. The Frogs hoisted 33 attempts from deep, hitting 15 of them (43.3%). The Wildcats managed to make only two of 12 attempts (16.7%). Four TCU players made at least two 3-point baskets. Desmond Bane hit 5-of-10, and he might have been the only Frog to make one over defense all day. After K-State took its last lead of the game, he buried one over Xavier Sneed to ignite the TCU run and put his team in front for good. Many of the Frogs’ makes came off wide-open looks generated by penetration and K-State over-helping off the weak side shooters. Twice, TCU made threes with the shot clock buzzer sounding. Freshman guard Francisco Farabello made two of four attempts, with both makes from about thirty feet away from the basket.
K-State got off to its usual slow start and was on pace for only 40 points a quarter of the way through the contest. But, due to the Frogs’ own struggles, the Wildcats were down only 15-10 at that point. TCU hit six first-half three pointers and stretched the lead to 24-14, but the Wildcats clawed back and rode a 13-2 run to a 27-26 halftime lead. Defense keyed the surge, as the Cats forced 10 first-half turnovers, including five steals, that they converted to 13 points.
Sneed came alive from the mid-range in the second half and finished with 15 points to lead K-State on 6-12 shooting. David Sloan scored 11, and Cartier Diarra—who missed a long stretch of the second half while being treated for a laceration to his chin—scored 10.
TCU was led by Bane’s 17. Jaire Grayer made four threes on his way to 15 points, and RJ Nembhard hit three as part of his 15.
Three in the Key
- Some of this has been said so often that it should go without saying by now. Scoring droughts have plagued this team all year, and the Wildcats have lost largely because of them. Normally they’ll suffer one per half, and today was no different. Apart from the three-point disparity, another telling statistic was assists. TCU had 19. K-State: 9. Teams like K-State, who lack transcendent offensive talent, must play better team offense than that to win. Relying on hero ball seldom works. Especially when you don’t have an offensive hero.
- The freshman wall is real. K-State’s three freshmen played only 54 minutes in this one and contributed a total of 10 points. DaJuan Gordon went scoreless on only two shots. Tempting as it is to think the team should just be turned over to them to finish the year, nothing lately suggests they are ready to grab the reins and go.
- There is no third key. Not one that isn’t nauseatingly repetitive. So I just won’t waste the energy. Read past recaps, if you like. The movie is on loop. Oh, I guess there is this: After Oklahoma State upset Texas Tech today, the Wildcats now occupy last place in the conference all alone. Hooray.
The Cats are at Texas Tech Wednesday night at 8:00. Should be fun, since the Red Raiders will be focused on righting their own ship, which is barely listing compared to our own.