LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 12/11 Kansas State had numerous chances to take the lead in the final minutes but could not quite make the right play at the right time in dropping a 71-63 decision at Texas Tech on Saturday night before a crowd of 12,973 at United Supermarkets Arena.
The Wildcats (19-6, 7-5 Big 12) had opportunities to win the game down the stretch despite a season-high 23 turnovers which the Red Raiders (13-12, 2-10 Big 12) converted into 28 points. It is the most points allowed to an opponent via turnovers since Texas Tech scored 30 in a win at Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 17, 2020.
Seven times in the last 12 minutes of the game K-State was within one possession and each time Texas Tech had an answer. The Red Raiders responded with 3-point plays after the Wildcats closed to within 2 points midway through the second half.
K-State closed to within 50-49 on 2 free throws by senior Keyontae Johnson and a 3-pointer from reserve Desi Sills with under 9 minutes to play then again at 52-51 on 2 more free throws by senior Markquis Nowell with 8:19 remaining. However, each time Texas Tech made a clutch shot, including a dunk by junior D’Maurian Williams and a layup by senior De’Vion Harmon, who led all scorers with 20 points.
A pair of free throws by Nowell gave the Wildcats’ one last opportunity at 62-61 with 1:45 to play, but the Red Raiders were able to answer with a second-chance layup from sophomore Jaylon Tyson that ignited a 9-2 run to end the game that included a jumper from Harmon and 4 free throws from senior Kevin Obanor.
Nowell led three players in double figures with 18 points, while Sills and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Johnson did not reach double figures for the first time this season, scoring 9 points on 3-of-11 field goals but he did grab a game-high 8 rebounds to go with 3 assists.
For the game, K-State hit on just 35.2 percent (19-of-54) from the field, including 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from 3-point range, while hitting on 67.9 percent (19-of-28) from the free throw line. Although the Wildcats were able to turn the Red Raiders over 18 times, they scored just 14 points off those miscues.
Texas Tech got a spirited effort from Harmon – the transfer from Oklahoma and Oregon – who had a game-high 20 points on 7-of-16 field goals to go with 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 31 minutes. He was joined in double figures by freshman Lamar Washington with 13, Tyson with 11 and Obanor with 10.
The Red Raiders connected on 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the field, including 28 percent (7-of-25) from 3-point range, and made 72 percent (18-of-25) of their free throws.
K-State and Texas Tech split the season series for the second straight season, while the Red Raiders ran their winning streak at home over the Wildcats to 9 games.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The teams went back and forth in the early going, as they battled through 5 ties before a 3-pointer by junior Ismael Massoud broke a 12-all tie and started a 5-0 run right before the media timeout at the 9:46 mark. Texas Tech responded with a 6-0 run to take an 18-17 lead capped by a 3-pointer from Lamar Washington.
The teams continued to trade the lead over the next few minutes before back-to-back 3-pointers from senior De’Vion Harmon ignited an 11-1 run that ended the half and helped Texas Tech to a 33-26 edge at the break. Although both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field, it was the turnovers that proved to be the difference, as the Wildcats turned the ball over 14 times, resulting in 17 points for the Red Raiders.
K-State got to within 4 points on 2 occasions in the early moments of second half before Texas Tech used a quick 6-2 spurt to push the lead to 43-35 with 14:04 remaining. However, the Wildcats stayed in the fight, closing to within a possession at 43-41 on a 6-0 run right before the media timeout with 11:11 remaining.
The Red Raiders pushed back out ahead on a 3-point play by junior K.J. Adams out of the timeout before the Wildcats once again closed to within a possession on a layup by senior Keyontae Johnson and a free throw by senior Markquis Nowell. However, a 3-pointer by Washington and free throw by freshman Robert Jennings made it 50-44 in favor of the home team near the midway point.
K-State again got to within 52-51 on a pair of free throws by Nowell with 8:19 remaining, but Texas Tech quickly answered with a layup by senior De’Vion Harmon and a corner 3-pointer by junior D’Maurian Williams to extend the lead to 57-51. A Nowell layup and free throws by senior Abayomi Iyiola closed the gap to 57-55, but a 3-pointer by Kevin Obanor gave the Red Raiders more breathing room at 60-55 with just over 5 minutes to play.
Another free throw by Iyiola and a 3-pointer by Johnson closed the deficit to 60-59 with 3:57 to play, but Harmon answered back with 2 free throws to push back ahead at 62-59. Nowell made a pair of free throws to give the Wildcats’ one last chance at 62-61 with 2:15 remaining, but the Red Raiders were able to close the game out with a 9-2 run, which included a layup by Jaylon Tyson, a jumper by Harmon and 4 free throws by Obanor.
IN THEIR WORDS
Head Coach Jerome Tang
On the game…
“I want to congratulate Coach (Mark) Adams, his staff and team on the win tonight. They were the tougher team tonight and they did a better job of executing down the stretch. I’m very thankful to be coaching my guys and being at K-State. I’m a very blessed man and I’m very thankful for that. I’m very disappointed that we gave the ball away as many times as we did today. Obviously, they should get some credit for that, but most of it was we weren’t tough enough and they exposed us. We are going to be better for that on Tuesday.”
On the turnovers and what you can do to cut down on them…
“I will have to go back and look at the film, but you can’t have live ball turnovers and expect to win games. We play the same style of defense, and we understand how they rotate. It’s just about being mentally and physically tough on delivering passes with two people on you. We work on it; we just didn’t get it done today.”
On losing four straight games on the road after the fast start…
“Well, we outscored those teams (Texas and Baylor), so it’s anomaly that’s not going to happen in this league very often. Your defense has to travel. That’s how you win games is by being a really good defensive team. We’re not going to shoot like that all the time. I did feel like we played better defense today than we have had in the past. But there’s no defense for live ball turnovers. They scored 28 points off 23 turnovers. That was the difference in the ballgame. And that had nothing to do with our defense that had a whole lot to do with our offense.”
On Keyontae Johnson not reaching double figures for the first time this season…
“I don’t know. Every now and then you have a bad night. He just picked a bad night to have a bad night.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State falls to 19-6 overall, including 7-5 in Big 12 play… The 19-6 start still is the best start after 25 games since the 2018-19 squad posted a 20-5 mark.
- K-State is now lost 4 straight road games in Big 12 play after opening 2-0 in league play.
- K-State fell to 9-3 in games decided by single digits (9 points or less).
- K-State still leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 26-22, while the Red Raiders have now won 9 in a row at home in the series… Tech holds a narrow 21-19 advantage in the Big 12 era.
- K-State scored its 63 points on 35.2 percent shooting (19-of-54), including 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from 3-point range, and connected on 67.9 percent (19-of-28) from the free throw line.
- K-State had a season-high 23 turnovers, which resulted in 28 points for Texas Tech.
- K-State held a 36-32 advantage in rebounding, including 12 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 11 second-chance points… The Wildcats are 11-2 when winning the rebounding battle.
- K-State got 26 points from its bench, which marked the third straight game with 20 or more bench points.
- Texas Tech led 33-26 at the half on the strength of its defense, forcing 14 K-State turnovers and turning those into a 17-1 advantage in points in the paint… Senior De’Vion Harmon led all scorers with 9 points, while junior Ismael Massoud paced the Wildcats with 6 points.
- K-State is now 6-4 this season when trailing at the half.
- Senior Markquis Nowell scored his team-high 18 points on 5-of-19 field goals, including 1-of-10 from 3-point range, and 7-of-7 free throws… He has now led the team in scoring 13 times this season and 22 times in his career… He added a game-tying 4 assists to go with a game-high 4 steals and 2 rebounds in playing all but 35 seconds (39:25)… He has now scored in double figures in 88 career games, including 41 at K-State and 22 in 2022-23… He has at least 2 steals in 19 of 25 games this season.
- Senior Desi Sills continued his solid play off the bench, scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 field goals to go with 4 rebounds, an assist and a steal in 31 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 61 career games, including 11 times at K-State.
- Junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin scored 10 points on 3-of-6 field goals, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range, and 3-of-4 free throws to go with 7 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist in just 18 minutes due to foul trouble… He has now scored in double figures in 14 games this season.
- Senior Keyontae Johnson had a near double-double with 9 points on 3-of-11 field goals to go with a game-high 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 36 minutes… It marked the first time this season that Johnson has failed to reach double figure points… He has at least 5 rebounds in 21 of 25 games.
- Senior Abayomi Iyiola was also solid off the bench, scoring 7 points on 1-of-1 field goal and 5-of-6 free throws to go with 5 rebounds, an assist and a block in 16 minutes.
K-State continues it 2-game road swing on Tuesday night when the Wildcats travel to Norman, Okla., to take on Oklahoma (12-13, 2-10 Big 12) at 8 p.m., CT on ESPNU. It will be the first meeting between the teams in 2023.