AUSTIN, Texas – All five starters scored in double figures, as No. 18/18 Kansas State ran its conference winning streak to 9 games with a 71-64 win over Texas on Tuesday night before 9,418 fans at the Frank Erwin Center.
The 9-game conference winning streak is the longest by a K-State team in the Big 12 era and continues the longest regular-season conference winning streak in 45 seasons since the Wildcats won 11 consecutive conference games from Jan. 14 to Feb. 26, 1974 in the old Big Eight Conference.
Down 39-31 with 1:37 remaining before halftime, K-State (19-5, 9-2 Big 12) combined for a 23-8 run between the two halves, including a 19-8 run to start the second half, to earn its third consecutive win over Texas (14-11, 6-6 Big 12) at the Frank Erwin Center and even the season series at 1-1.
The Wildcats connected on 54.9 percent (28-of-51) of their field goals – the second-highest field goal percentage and the highest in Big 12 play this season – and shot better than 50 percent in both halves. The team had 17 assists on their 28 made field goals and turned the ball over just 9 times.
Senior Barry Brown, Jr., and junior Xavier Sneed paced five Wildcat starters in double figures with team-tying 16 points each, while seniors Dean Wade (12) and Kamau Stokes (11) and junior Makol Mawien (11) also registered double digits. It marked the first time this season that all five starters scored in double figures and the first time since the last visit to Texas on Feb. 7, 2018.
K-State is now 9-1 this season when four or more players score in double figures.
Brown, who has now scored in double figures in 11 consecutive games, went 6-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from the free throw line to go with 5 rebounds, a game-high 3 steals and 2 assists. Sneed connected on 5-of-11 field goals, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and 3-of-4 from the free throw line to go with game-high 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. Wade dished out a game-high 6 assists to go with his 12 points and 5 rebounds.
After allowing the Longhorns to score 39 points on 55.6 percent (15-of-27) from the field in the first half, the Wildcats held them to just 25 points in the second half on just 30 percent (6-of-20) shooting.
Senior Kerwin Roach II led Texas with 17 points, while freshman Courtney Ramey added 10 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two teams went back and forth in the early going before junior Makol Mawien completed a 3-point play right before the first media timeout to give K-State a 10-7 edge. The early 8-2 run was capped by a 3-pointer from fellow senior Kamau Stokes that pushed the Wildcat lead to 15-9 at the 14:17 mark.
Texas slowly chipped at the advantage, taking an 18-17 lead with 11:22 before halftime on a 5-0 run.
The teams then traded the lead over the next few minutes before the Longhorns used a 9-2 run, including 5 straight from the free throw line, to take a 29-24 lead with 5:01 remaining. A pair of buckets from senior Dean Wade cut the deficit to 29-28 before a 10-3 run, capped by a 3-pointer from freshman Courtney Ramey, push the lead to 39-31 and forced head coach Bruce Weber to call his second timeout of the half with 1:36 left.
The Wildcats were able to score 4 straight to end the half behind baskets from Stokes and fellow senior Barry Brown, Jr., to trim the lead to 39-35 at the break.
Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field in the first half, as Texas connected on 56 percent (15-of-27) compared to K-State’s 54 percent (15-of-28) shooting, including 57 percent (4-of-7) from 3-point range. Six different Wildcats scored at least 5 points in the opening half, led by senior Dean Wade’s 8 points, while senior Kerwin Roach II (14) and Ramey (10) each had double figures for the Longhorns.
K-State opened the second half, much like it ended the first, using a 10-3 run to push the lead to 45-42 and force head coach Shaka Smart to call a timeout at the 16:56 mark. The timeout worked, as the Longhorns scored 5 in a row to take a 47-45 lead into the first media timeout with 15:24 to play.
A pair of free throws by Brown ignited a 7-0 run, as K-State took a 54-47 lead, again forcing Smart to call a timeout at the 13:28 mark. Five straight free throws by Texas closed the gap to 56-54, but back-to-back baskets by junior Xavier Sneed and Brown pushed it back to 60-54 with 9:34 to play.
The Longhorns again got to within one possession at 60-57, but the Wildcats responded by scoring 7 of the next 10 points, capped by a Stokes 3, to take a 67-60 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Texas made one last run, scoring 4 in a row, to close to within one possession with 2:17 to play, but it would be the last points scored by the Longhorns, as Sneed and Brown combined to go 4-of-6 from the line to seal the victory.
K-State connected on 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from the field in the second half, including 40 percent from 3-point range, while holding Texas to just 25 points on 30 percent shooting (6-of-20), including 18.2 percent from long range. Of the 25 points scored in the second half, 11 came from the free throw line.
Sneed scored 11 of his team-tying 16 points in the second half.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Xavier Sneed – Junior Xavier Sneed played perhaps his best all-around game of the season, pouring in a team-tying 16 points on 5-of-11 field goals, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, to go with game-tying 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 29 minutes. It marked his 12th game this season scoring in double figures.
STAT OF THE GAME
54.9 – K-State connected on 54.9 percent (28-of-51) of its field goals, including 50 percent or better in each half, in earning its third straight win over Texas at the Frank Erwin Center. It was the second highest field goal percentage of the season and the just the second time shooting 50 percent or better in each half.