MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State extended its winning streak in Big 12 play to five games, as the Wildcats held No. 14/13 Texas Tech to a season-low 45 points on 32.7 percent shooting in earning a 58-45 victory in front of 11,134 fans on a snowy Tuesday evening at Bramlage Coliseum.
The 5-game winning streak in league play is the longest for the Wildcats (15-4, 5-2 Big 12) since rattling off 6 in a row from Feb. 18 to March 5, 2013 and the second such streak under head coach Bruce Weber.
K-State has won 3 straight against ranked teams since dropping a 63-57 decision at No. 11/11 Texas Tech on Jan. 5 and has now posted at least 3 wins over Top 25 opponents in each of the last 3 seasons.
In a battle of two of the best defensive teams in the country, the Wildcats lived up to their billing, holding the Red Raiders (15-4, 4-3 Big 12) to their lowest point total (45) under head coach Chris Beard and the lowest since scoring 44 in a loss against Loyola Chicago on December 22, 2014. The team was held to a season-low 32.7 field goal percentage (16-of-49), including just 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from 3-point range.
The 45 points were the fewest surrendered a conference opponent under Weber and the fewest since holding No. 23 Texas Tech to 44 points on January 11, 2003. The Wildcats have now held 12 of 19 opponents to 60 points or less, while three of the last four opponents (Iowa State, TCU and Texas Tech) have been held to its season-low.
On the offensive end, K-State connected on a Texas Tech opponent-high 46.3 percent (19-of-41) from the field, including 54.5 percent (12-of-22) in the first half, as the Wildcats used a 10-2 run near the end of the first half to break open a tight game, in which, they led for 33 minutes.
Seniors Barry Brown, Jr., and Dean Wade both scored in double figures, as Brown, who scored in double figures for the sixth consecutive game, led the way with 15 points on 6-of-11 field goals, while Wade added 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting. Brown also added a game-high 7 rebounds to go with 3 steals.
The Red Raiders were led by sophomore Jarrett Culver, who produced 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field, while grabbing a team-high 7 rebounds.
The win snapped a 3-game skid in the series and extended the Wildcats’ series lead to 24-16.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Tuesday’s contest opened as a back-and-forth affair, as K-State was able to jump out to an early 7-2 lead in the early minutes, including three points from senior Kamau Stokes just three minutes into the game.
Minutes later at the 11:11 mark, the Red Raiders bounced back to tie the game at 11-11. Throughout the span of the first half, teams battled back-and-forth, marking 4 lead changes and 6 ties throughout the half.
The Wildcats got things going after the midway point of the first half, as senior Barry Brown, Jr. nailed a 3-pointer to give K-State the lead at 18-15 with 7:35 remaining. On the next possession, Stokes attempted a 3-pointer that rimmed out, but resulted in a put-back slam for junior Xavier Sneed to make the score 20-16 with 6:46 to play.
After taking over the lead behind Brown’s 3-pointer at 7:35, the Wildcats went on to grab their largest lead of the first half with 2:02 remaining, on a dribble-drive from sophomore Mike McGuirl to bring the score to 28-18.
K-State would carry the lead into halftime at 32-24, as the team shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the floor in the half. Brown led all scorers in the half with 11 points on 4-of-6 from the field.
The Wildcats came out for the second-half looking to expand on its first half lead, as the team drew to an 11-point lead on a drive from Brown, who connected on a layup before the shot clock sounded to push the team to 44-33 with 11:04 left in the game.
At 5:56, Sneed buried a 3-pointer from the corner on an assist from Stokes, that gave K-State a 51-38 lead with 5:56 left in the game. Stokes went on to lead K-State with 3 assists in the game.
In the final minutes of play, the Wildcats expanded their lead off of free throws and a deep 3-pointer from Stokes on the assist from McGuirl. The Stokes 3-pointer gave K-State its largest lead of the night at 58-43 with only 1:32 left in the game en route to winning 58-45 to snap a 3-game losing streak to Texas Tech.
The Wildcats connected on 46.3 percent (19-of-41) from the field in the game, while holding the Red Raiders to a season-low 32.7 percent (16-of-49), including 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from 3-point range.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Barry Brown, Jr. – Brown reached his 15th 10+ point scoring effort of the season and 78th of his career, by scoring a team-high 15 points on 6-of-11 from the field. He has now led the Wildcats in scoring on 8 occasions this season. He also led the team with 7 rebounds, the fifth occurrence this season.
STAT OF THE GAME
45 – K-State held Texas Tech to a season-low 45 points on Tuesday, marking the fewest points the Red Raiders have scored since scoring 44 against Loyola-Chicago in 2014. The 45 points are also the fewest the Wildcats have allowed against a conference opponent since holding Nebraska to the same total on Jan. 27, 2007.