LUBBOCK, Texas – A battle of two Top 10 defensive teams proved to be every bit as advertised, as Kansas State’s second-half rally fell short in a 63-57 loss to No. 11/11 Texas Tech before a packed house at United Supermarkets Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Down by as many as 16 points, K-State (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) closed to with 43-42 on a 3-pointer by senior Barry Brown, Jr., with 6:56 remaining. However, Texas Tech got a 3-pointer from leading scorer Davide Moretti on the next possession that ignited a 7-0 run that gave the Red Raider a cushion the rest of the way.
The Wildcats continued their struggles on the offensive end, missing their first 13 field goals and finishing with 57 points on 33.3 percent (19-of-57) shooting from the field, including 17.4 percent (4-of-23) against one of the nation’s toughest defenses. The team has now failed to eclipse 60 points in 3 consecutive games.
Brown was joined in double figures by sophomore Cartier Diarra (11) and junior Makol Mawien (10), who also finished with a career-best 11 rebounds to earn his first career double-double.
Moretti’s game-high 19 points led a balanced offensive attack by the Red Raiders, who have now won 26 of their last 27 games at United Supermarkets Arena, including 10 straight victories. In all, five different players scored at least 9 points, including 14 points from graduate transfer Matt Mooney.
Texas Tech connected on 44.7 percent (17-of-38), including 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from 3-point range.
The Red Raiders have now won 6 of the last 8 meetings in the series, including 5 straight victories at home.
The Wildcats were without senior Dean Wade for the fifth consecutive game, while senior Kamau Stokes did not start but came off the bench after missing Wednesday’s game with Texas due to injury. Stokes played 21 minutes, posting 7 points on 3-of-8 field goals, including 1-of-5 from long range.
The game was officiated with just 2 referees for most of the second half after an injury to Rick Crawford.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Red Raiders showed themselves as one of the top teams in the country, jumping out to an 8-0 lead and forcing head coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout at the 16:41 mark. The lead grew to 14-0 before a pair of free throws by senior Barry Brown, Jr., gave the Wildcats their first points with 13:31 to play.
K-State missed its first 13 field goals before Diarra converted on a layup from a long pass from fellow sophomore Levi Stockard III to give the squad their first bucket with 9:12 to play before halftime.
The field goal made seemed to ignite the Wildcats, as they rattled off 7 straight points to cut the deficit to 17-10 and force Red Raider head coach Chris Beard to call his first timeout at the 7:52 mark. However, Texas Tech converted on its next two offensive possessions, including a 3-pointer from sophomore Davide Moretti, to push the lead back to 22-10 at the 6:50 mark.
Diarra, who led the Wildcats with 8 points in the first half, cut the deficit to 26-16 with 3:38 remaining, but the Red Raiders finished the half on an 8-3 run to lead 34-19 at halftime.
Stokes ended K-State’s 0-for-9 drought from 3-point range with a trey from left side of the arc just 9 seconds into the second half leading to a 6-0 run that cut the deficit to 34-25 at the 18:31 mark.
After the Red Raiders pushed back lead back to double digits, another 6-0 run, including buckets by Brown, pulled the Wildcats to within 38-33 at the 13:46 mark. However, a block by Tariq Owens on a layup by Brown on the subsequent possession, led to a second 3-pointer by Moretti.
K-State continued to rally, running off 6 straight points to close the gap to 41-39 on Sneed’s free throw at 8:51 mark. A 3-pointer from Brown got the Wildcats to within 43-42 less than 2 minutes later, but a third trey from Moretti helped start a decisive 7-0 run that helped carry the Red Raiders the rest of the way.
After scoring just 19 points on 23.1 percent (6-of-26) in the first half, K-State scored 38 points after halftime on 41.9 percent (13-of-31) shooting. Brown scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the second half, while Mawien added 10 and 8 rebounds en route to his first career double-double.
Moretti scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Makol Mawien – Mawien registered his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-best 11 rebounds, which included a 10-point, 8-rebound effort after halftime.
STAT OF THE GAME
14-0 – Texas Tech raced out to a 14-0 lead in the first half, as the pesky Red Raiders forced the Wildcats to miss their first 13 field goals while forcing 3 turnovers.