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PROVO, Utah – Kansas State used a 16-2 run to close to within a single possession with just over a minute to play, but No. 21/19 BYU was able to hold on in the final seconds to post a 72-66 win on Saturday night before a crowd of 17,446 fans at the Marriott Center.
Junior Arthur Kaluma, who scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, gave K-State (15-9, 5-6 Big 12) the opportunity at the comeback, as his 3-pointer closed the deficit to 66-64 with 1:11 remaining and forcing a BYU timeout. However, out of the timeout, the nation’s best 3-point shooting team answered back with 51 seconds left as the Cougars’ leading scorer Jaxson Robinson connected on his second triple of the game to push the lead out to 69-66.
Kaluma’s reverse layup with 32 seconds left gave the Wildcats’ one last chance at 69-66, but the Cougars were able to get a layup from senior Spencer Johnson with the shot clock running out for a 71-66 lead with 13 seconds remaining. Senior Tylor Perry’s jumper with 9 seconds missed and Johnson got the rebound and made 1-of-2 from the free throw line for the final margin of victory.
Kaluma, who hit on 7-of-13 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range, was joined in double figures by fellow junior Cam Carter, who scored 14 points to go with 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 37 minutes. Kaluma had a near double-double with 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 35 minutes. The bench gave the Wildcats a boost, as senior Will McNair Jr. collected a season-best 10 rebounds to go with 7 points, 2 assists and 2 blocks, while fellow David N’Guessan chipped in 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
BYU (17-6, 5-5 Big 12) saw five players score in double figures led by junior Fousseyni Traore’s 14 points.
Down by as many as 17 points midway through the second half, K-State was able to slowly chip away at the deficit, as the Wildcats scored 23 of 31 points in a more than 7-minute stretch behind the play of Kaluma, who had 11 of his 13 second-half points during this span. Trailing 64-48 with just under 6 minutes to play, the Wildcats rattled off 11 straight points, all from 5 different players, to close the gap to 64-59 and force a timeout by head coach Mark Pope with 3:35 remaining.
BYU, which made just 10 of 21 attempts from the free throw line, kept the comeback alive by going 2-of-4 from the stripe on back-to-back opportunities, as Perry made 2 free throws followed by Kaluma’s 3-pointer that closed the deficit to 66-64 with 1:11 to play.
The Cougars seized control of the game in the first half behind a 16-8 run that broke a 14-all tie and resulted in a 9-point lead (36-27) at the break.
K-State finished the night at 43.1 percent (25-of-58) shooting from the field, scoring 36 of its 66 points in the paint, and made 10 of 12 attempts from the free throw line. The Wildcats struggled from 3-point range, making just 26.1 percent (6-of-23) of its attempts, including a combined 1-of-14 from Carter and Perry. The team outrebounded the Cougars, 42-34, including 34 defensive boards.
The loss continued the Wildcats’ frustration on the road with their fifth straight setback.
BYU connected on 42.9 percent (27-of-63) from the field, including 32 percent (8-of-25) from 3-point range, but made just 10 of 21 attempts from the line. The Cougars scored nearly half their points in the paint (34), while they scored 14 points off 16 Wildcat turnovers.
Traore was joined in double figures by Robinson and Johnson who each added 12 points, while senior Noah Waterman and junior Trevin Knell scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
This was just the eighth meeting between the schools and the first as Big 12 members. It was the first matchup at the Marriott Center since the schools opened the building on Dec. 3, 1971.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Freshman Dai Dai Ames enjoyed a strong start to the game, scoring all 8 of K-State’s points at the first media timeout as BYU led 9-8 at the 14:59 mark. Ames opened the scoring with a corner 3-pointer off a miss by senior Tylor Perry then made a second triple from the opposite corner. He drove the line and made the Wildcats’ first 2-point basket on a layup.
Junior Cam Carter was the first player outside of Ames to score with a jumper from the top of the key out of the timeout that gave K-State a 10-9 lead. Carter added a second jumper while senior David N’Guessan had a dunk off a feed from sophomore Jerrell Colbert that knotted the game at 14-all, as the teams hit the second media timeout tied near the halfway point of the first half.
BYU’s first 3-pointer from junior center Aly Khalifa gave the Cougars the lead that they would extend to 23-19 at the third media timeout with 6:50 to play before halftime. A Flagrant 1 technical was called on Perry on a loose ball that resulted in 4 straight points and extended the lead to 27-19 just 35 seconds later. The teams traded 3-point plays over the next few minutes, including Perry’s first triple, as the lead stood at 32-25 at the final media timeout with 3:25 to play.
Junior Arthur Kaluma’s driving layup with 3:02 remaining would be K-State’s last points of the half, as BYU led 36-27 at the break. The Cougars outshot the Wildcats, 42.4 percent to 37.9 percent, in the first half as Ames’ 8 points tied Khalifa for the individual lead.
BYU extended its lead to double digits for the first time at 39-27 on the second possession of the second half on a 3-point play by senior Noah Waterman. Five straight points by N’Guessan, including a 3-point play, cut the deficit to 39-32, but the Cougars responded with 5 in a row to stay ahead in double figures at 45-33 at the first media timeout at the 15:48 mark.
Twice the BYU lead grew to 14 points before consecutive baskets by Carter and senior Will McNair Jr., cut the deficit to 51-39 at the second media timeout with 11:22 to play. A 7-2 spurt by the Cougars pushed the lead to 58-41 on a corner 3-pointer by senior Jaxson Robinson just 2 minutes later.
After a 3-pointer by BYU extended the lead to 64-48 with just under 6 to play, K-State erupted for 11 straight points, including points from 5 different players, to cut the deficit to 64-59 and force a timeout by head coach Mark Pope with 3:35 to play. The Wildcats continued to push, closing the deficit to 66-64 with 1:10 to play on a 3-pointer by Kaluma and forcing another timeout by Pope.
A 3-pointer by Robinson with 51 seconds left gave the Cougars the cushion they would need, as they held on down the stretch to post a 72-66 win.
HEAD COACH JEROME TANG
On the game…
“This is my second time here. The last time I was here it came down to a block at the buzzer. (Baylor’s) Pierre Jackson blocked a 3-pointer by Brandon Davies in front of an incredible environment. And once again, the environment didn’t fail to live up to the great reputation that it has. Coach (Mark) Pope does a great job with their guys. And at the end of the day, they made one or two more plays than we did.”
On what changed offensively in the last part of the second half…
“We said in pregame that this was going to be a 15-round fight. And it didn’t matter how big of a lead they had, they let you back in the game because of the way they play. And it’s just like, you got to keep throwing punches. And eventually we can wear him down. And I felt like late we worn them down, whether it was mentally or physically, and they took a couple of quick shots because that’s how they play. (Coach Pope) gives them confidence to do things. And it allowed us to have some opportunities. Problem is they got to throw the last punch tonight instead of us.”
On the number of turnovers…
“Well, actually, 16 is a low number for us. So, I kind of felt we took care of the basketball. However, we gotta get better at that. Some of it (turnovers) was their guys were doing a great job defensively and some of it was self-inflicted wounds.”
On the lack of 3-pointers by either team…
“They just missed some that they would normally make. However, we did a good job of running guys off the line. Our game plan was to get to the paint more. We didn’t want to just settle for 3s. We had to make some (3-pointers) late to stay in it. They’re the number one 3-point shooting team. They’re not taking as many 3s the last couple of games. So, whether it’s the scouting report or it’s just an emphasis on their part to get to the paint more as we have gotten into league play.”
On the additions of the new teams to the Big 12…
“Just look at the NET. From top to bottom, this league has great environments, great coaches and really good teams. I think two games separate first (place) from 10th or whatever it is. There’s no easy game, whether it’s at home or the road. There’s no easy win. Anybody can beat anybody. This is the best conference in America. That’s why we’ll have 10, maybe 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament.”
On if there was a letdown after the big win on Monday…
“I didn’t think we had a letdown. I didn’t think we started bad. We expected them to start fast. They’re at home. That adrenaline is rushing. We expected all of that. We just waited too long to respond.”
- K-State (15-9, 5-6 Big 12) nearly overcame a 17-point second-half deficit, closing to within a possession with just over a minute to play, but No. 21/19 BYU held on for a 72-66 win.
- K-State is now 2-5 on the road this season, including 1-5 in Big 12 play… The Wildcats have now lost 5 in a row on the road (at Texas Tech, Iowa State, Houston, Oklahoma State, BYU).
- The series between K-State and BYU is now tied at 4-all, in this, the first meeting as conference foes and the first overall since the 2010 NCAA Tournament… It was the first matchup between the schools at the Marriott Center since they opened the building on Dec. 3, 1971.
- K-State scored its 66 points on 43.1 percent (25-of-58) shooting, including 26.1 percent (6-of-23) from 3-point range, and 83.3 percent (10-of-12) from the free throw line.
- K-State won the rebounding battle, 42-34, for the 15th time in 24 games this season… The Wildcats collected 40 or more rebounds for the ninth time this season.
- K-State held the nation’s top 3-point shooting team to 8 triples on 32 percent shooting.
- K-State’s 16 turnovers led to 14 BYU points.
- K-State used a starting lineup of senior Tylor Perry, freshman Dai Dai Ames, junior Cam Carter, junior Arthur Kaluma and redshirt sophomore Jerrell Colbert… It marked the third straight game using this lineup and just the fifth different lineup this season… Carter has now started all 60 games in his K-State career… Carter and Perry have started all 24 games… Kaluma earned his 22nd start… It was the sixth start for Ames and the third career start for Colbert.
- Two Wildcats scored in double figures, including a game-high 18 points from junior Arthur Kaluma… He was joined by junior Cam Carter (14 points).
- Kaluma scored his 18 points on 7-of-13 field goals, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with 8 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in 35 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 60 career games, including 20 this season.
- Kaluma has now led the team in scoring on 6 occasions.
- Carter scored his 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting to go with 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 37 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in a team-best 21 games.
- Senior Will McNair Jr. grabbed a game-high and season-best 10 rebounds to go with 7 points, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 27 minutes off the bench… It marked the third time registering double-digit rebounds, including the first time at K-State.
- Seniors David N’Guessan and Tylor Perry each had 9 points, while N’Guessan added 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 24 minutes off the bench.
K-State has a midweek bye before returning to action on Saturday, Feb. 17 when the Wildcats play host to TCU (16-7, 5-5 Big 12) at 11 a.m., CT on ESPN/2/U. The game is sold out, but tickets can be found on the secondary market via SeatGeek.