TULSA, Okla. – No. 16/15 Kansas State had consecutive shots rim out in the final seconds, as the Wildcats dropped a defensive slugfest to Tulsa, 47-46, in front of 5,719 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Saturday.
K-State (6-2) has now dropped consecutive road games after starting the season with six consecutive wins.
In a game where neither team shot particularly well from the field, the Wildcats were notably unproductive on offense, connecting on a season-low 30.5 percent (18-of-59) of their field goals, including 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from 3-point range. The 46 points were the fewest since scoring 42 at Baylor on Feb. 21, 2015.
Trailing 45-40 with 4:19 remaining, K-State got back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Xavier Sneed to take a one-point lead at 46-45 with 2:24 to play. Junior Martins Igbanu gave Tulsa (7-3) what turned out to be the game-winning jumper on the next possession at the 1:53 mark.
After a rebound by Sneed on a missed lay-up by Sterling Taplin with 23 seconds left and two called timeouts, a lay-up by senior Barry Brown, Jr., and the subsequent follow by fellow senior Kamau Stokes both rimmed out.
Sneed collected his second career double-double with a team-high 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Cartier Diarra added 9 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Junior guard Curran Scott led Tulsa (7-3) with a game-high 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Tulsa jumped out quickly, using changing defenses to disrupt K-State, to take a 9-2 lead into the first media timeout at the 15:51 mark. The Golden Hurricane started 3-of-5 from the field compared to the Wildcats’ 1-of-7.
Despite foul trouble from their two big men (Makol Mawien and Dean Wade), the Wildcats were able to cut into the deficit with a smaller lineup, as a 3-pointer from sophomore Mike McGuirl and a long jumper by Sneed cut the deficit to 20-17 with 8:45 before halftime.
However, a steal off an Austin Trice rebound resulted in a 3-pointer by junior Lawson Korita to push the lead back out to 23-17 and force K-State to call a timeout with 8:10 remaining.
The Wildcats wouldn’t go away, slowly chipping away at the deficit, ending the half on an 8-1 run capped by a 3-pointer from Diarra from the corner to take a 25-24 lead into halftime. Diarra would score 5 of the 8 points during this pivotal stretch and lead the team with 7 points at halftime.
Both teams struggled from the field, as they combined to go 17-of-53, including 5-of-21 from 3-point range, and combined for 17 turnovers and 18 fouls. K-State connected on just 31 percent (9-of-29), including 22.2 percent (2-of-9) from 3, while Tulsa shot 33.3 percent (8-of-24), including 25 percent (3-of-12) from long range.
The poor shooting continued in the second half, as neither team could grab any rhythm in a back and forth affair.
After Wade scored his first basket to give K-State a 33-30 lead with 11:31 to play, Tulsa scored 10 of the next 12 points to take a 40-35 lead and force head coach Bruce Weber to call a timeout with 7:45 remaining.
A quick 5-0 spurt by the Wildcats tied the game at 40-all with 6:14 to play before the Golden Hurricane responded with their own 5-0 run to take a 45-40 advantage at the 4:19 mark.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Sneed gave K-State a 46-45 lead with 2:24 remaining, before a jumper by Igbanu on the next possession proved to be the game-winner at the 1:53 mark.
Brown and Stokes each missed lay-ups in the waning seconds, as the Wildcats dropped their second straight game.
K-State connected on 30.5 percent (18-of-59) from the field, including 30 percent (9-of-30) in the second half, while Tulsa shot 38 percent (19-of-50), including 42.3 percent (11-of-26) after halftime.
Sneed scored 9 of his team-high 13 points in the second half.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Xavier Sneed – The junior collected his second career double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in 35 minutes, as he went 5-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
STAT OF THE GAME
30.5 – K-State connected on a season-low 30.5 percent (18-of-59) of its field goals, including 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from 3-point range, as the Wildcats posted their fewest points (46) since 2015.