AUSTIN, Texas – Five Wildcats players scored in double figures for the first time since the season opener, as Kansas State snapped a two-game skid with a 67-64 win over Texas on Wednesday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
With the victory, K-State (17-7, 6-5 Big 12) earned its third consecutive win over Texas, including back-to-back wins at the Frank Erwin Center for the first time since the start of round-robin play and the first time since the 2009 and 2011 seasons. The Wildcats’ five road wins tie Kansas for the most among Big 12 teams.
The scoring effort was led by five starters that reached double-digits, as junior forward Dean Wade paced the Wildcats with 16 points, while redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra added 13 points, junior guard Barry Brown Jr., and sophomore forward Xavier Sneed scored 11 and sophomore forward Makol Mawien tallied 10 points. It marked the first time since the opener with American on Nov. 10, 2017 that five players scored in double figures.
The Wildcats connected on 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the field, including 50 percent or better in each half, and 8-of-10 from the floor over the last 7:46 to come away with the victory.
Texas (15-9, 5-6 Big 12) was led by freshman forward Mo Bamba, who scored a game-high 18 points on 6-of-11 from the field, while the Longhorns shot just 41.3 percent (24-of-58) from the floor.
Redshirt freshman forward James Love II scored a career-high 6 points on 3-of-3 from the field and his first-career rebound in 15 minutes against the Longhorns, also the most minutes he has recorded in a game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The mid-week matchup got off to a good start for the two K-State leading scorers, as junior forward Dean Wade scored on the first possession with a fade away jumper. On the next time down the court, junior guard Barry Brown Jr., who entered Wednesday averaging 16.3 points per game, drove the lane pass the Longhorns defenders and lay it in to make the score 4-0. Although, Texas would match with a good start of their own.
After scoring the first four points of the contest, the Wildcats allowed a 14-3 run, behind 10 points in the paint. K-State would respond by knocking down two free-throws from Wade and a jumper by sophomore forward Makol Mawien to bring the score to 14-11.
Texas would bounce back again, this time with the deep ball. Junior guard Eric Davis Jr., and Bamba hit back-to-back 3-pointers to expand the lead to 20-13. Bamba and Davis would lead the Longhorns throughout the first half, as they each scored 8 points in the first 10 minutes of play.
The story of the first half for the Wildcats was Wade’s ability to score, as he tallied 11 points in the first half on 4-of-7 from the field including a 3-pointer to get the Wildcats going. With time winding down in the first half, redshirt freshman guard Cartier Diarra gave the Wildcats the lead with 3:33 remaining behind an aerobic layup to bring the score to 27-26.
After the Longhorns responded to take the lead at 34-32, Love received a dish from junior guard Kamau Stokes underneath the hoop to tie the game up at 34 a-piece with 12 seconds remaining in the half. The Longhorns would miss a shot at the buzzer to enter halftime at 34-34.
K-State shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from the field while scoring over half of their points in the paint. Stokes led the team with 3 assists in 8 minutes of play, while the Wildcats forced 8 turnovers in the first half.
Bamba would lead the Longhorns with 15 points on 5-of-6 from the field, as Texas shot 41.9 percent (13-of-31) from the field in the first half.
In the second half, the Wildcats went back to what worked in the first, scoring in the paint. The Wildcats scored their first 8 points of the second half in the paint, including a layup from Diarra to bring the score to 42-38.
After possessing the lead early in the second-half, the back-and-forth affair continued as Texas regained the lead with 14:40 remaining in the game. Over the next seven minutes, both teams would battle back-and-forth, as Texas contained the lead at 54-50 with seven minutes remaining.
It wasn’t until the 5:25 mark that the Wildcats regained the lead against the Longhorns when Diarra pulled up from beyond the arc to make the score 55-54. The lead came on a nice pass from Brown, who tallied 6 assists in the game.
On the next two offensive possessions, Diarra and Brown came through again, this time with Diarra on an up-and-under around Bamba to lay in the score. On the subsequent possession, Brown would work down the court resulting in another layup to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the night at 59-54 with 3:24 remaining.
Still leading by five at 61-56, Texas found an open 3-pointer from the corner to bring the score to 61-59. K-State would respond with a three of their own from Sneed who nailed a trey from the corner from Brown.
After a Bamba dunk on the Texas possession, Brown and the Wildcats used the whole shot clock as Brown drove the lane and dropped in a tear-drop to bring the score to 66-61. The Longhorns and Davis connected on a big 3-pointer on the Longhorns possession as K-State led 66-64 with 42 seconds remaining.
With a two-point lead, Texas possessed the ball with 14 seconds remaining. Texas’ Matt Coleman turned the ball over in the paint, as Mawien came away with the steal. In turn, Wade was fouled and sent to the line where he hit 1-of-2 free throws to bring the score to 67-64 with 3 seconds remaining.
With only seconds remaining Texas put the ball in the hands of Kerwin Roach II who stumbled and couldn’t convert the last-second shot, as the Wildcats escaped the Frank Erwin Center with a 67-64 victory.
Over the last 7:46 of the game, the Wildcats connected on 8-of-10 from the field to secure the victory. Diarra accounted for five of the points during this span, to up his scoring total to 13 points.
As a team, K-State shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the field and 35.2 percent (6-of-17) from the 3-point line to down the Longhorns. All-five of the starting lineup scored in double-figures for the Wildcats, including a team-high 16 points from Wade.
Defensively, the Wildcats held Texas to shoot 41.3 percent (24-of-58) from the floor and just 27.5 percent (8-of-29) from beyond the arc. The Wildcat defense forced the Longhorns into 16 turnovers throughout the game’s entirety, led by 3 steals from Diarra, Brown and Sneed.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cartier Diarra – Redshirt Freshman Cartier Diarra was one of five Wildcat scorers in double-digits on Wednesday night, as he tallied 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists. Diarra helped propel the Wildcat to the win down the stretch, scoring a team-high 5 points in the final six minutes of play.
STAT OF THE GAME
53.7 – After three consecutive games that saw the Wildcats shoot under 50 percent from the floor, K-State bounced back on Wednesday by shooting 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the field, while marks the 12th time the Wildcats have done so this season.