LUBBOCK, Texas – A key 8-2 run by Texas Tech midway through the second half provided the necessary cushion, as the Red Raiders earned a 69-62 win on Wednesday night before 14,695 fans at United Supermarkets Arena.
Texas Tech (17-9, 8-5 Big 12), which has lost its 2 home games by a combined 7 points to top-ranked Baylor and Top 10 Kentucky, connected on 50 percent (23-of-46) from the field, including in each half, while its five starters accounted for 67 of its 69 points led by junior Davide Moretti’s game-high 18 points.
Despite the impressive offensive effort by the Red Raiders, K-State (9-17, 2-11 Big 12) still had ample of opportunities in yet another close loss, as the team fell to 3-12 in games decided by 10 points or less. The Wildcats have lost 11 games by single digits, including 6 in Big 12 play.
After falling behind 37-29 less than 2 minutes into the second half after a 7-2 run by Texas Tech, K-State followed with its own run to rally to within 44-42 after a layup by junior Cartier Diarra with 10:10 to play. Diarra stole the ball on the next possession and had a breakaway dunk that would have tied it at 44-all, but the ball hit the rim on the attempted dunk and was rebounded by sophomore Kyler Edwards who then dished it to Moretti for a wide open 3-pointer for a 47-42 lead with 9:46 to play.
The 3-pointer by Moretti ignited the pivotal 8-2 run that flipped a narrow 44-42 lead into a 52-44 advantage, as head coach Bruce Weber called his final timeout with 6:44 remaining. The lead grew to as many as 13 points (64-51) after a personal 5-0 run by Moretti at the 1:37 mark, but the Wildcats continued to fight, using an 8-0 run, to close to within 64-59 with 38 seconds left. However, they could get no closer the rest of the way, as freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey scored the Red Raiders’ last 5 points on a dunk and 3 free throws.
The loss was K-State’s sixth straight, which is the longest such streak in the Bruce Weber era and the longest by a Wildcat team since also dropping 6 in a row from Feb. 2-19, 2005.
Senior Xavier Sneed paced three Wildcats in double figures with 15 points on 5-of-12 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and a 3-of-4 effort from the free throw line to go with a game-high 4 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 37 minutes. Freshman Antonio Gordon tallied a near double-double with a season-high 14 points on 6-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, to go with a game-high 8 rebounds.
For the game, K-State connected on 47.9 percent (23-of-48) from the field, including 61.3 percent (19-of-31) from inside the 3-point line. It was the highest field goal percentage since hitting on 59.2 percent in a win over West Virginia at home on Jan. 18 and the highest this season in a road game.
Moretti was joined in double figures by Ramsey (17) and Edwards (14).
With the win, the Red Raiders swept the season series from the Wildcats for the second time in 3 seasons.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Texas Tech jumped out quickly scoring 7 of the first 8 points, including 5 points from redshirt freshman Kevin McCullar, to take a 7-3 lead into the first media timeout at the 15:58 mark. However, K-State rallied to score 9 of the next 12 points to tie the game at 10-all on a steal and dunk by junior Cartier Diarra.
The Red Raiders got hot from long distance on the next 2 possessions, as junior Davide Moretti and freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the lead to 16-10 and force head coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout at the 12:10 mark.
The consecutive triples seemed to ignite the Tech offense, as the run was extended to 10-0 on a pair of free throws by Ramsey and a layup by sophomore Kyler Edwards to push the lead to 20-10 at the near mid-point of the half.
The lead stayed in double figures heading into the final media timeout of the first half, as a layup by senior transfer Chris Clarke gave the Red Raiders a 28-17 advantage with 3:30 before halftime.
It was after this last timeout that K-State was able to get going offensively, ending the half on a 10-2 run, which included 6 points from freshman Antonio Gordon, to close to within 30-27 at the break. The run was started with 6 straight points from 3 different Wildcats (DaJuan Gordon, Antonio Gordon and Diarra) before a dunk and a layup by Gordon ended the half.
Both teams connected on close to 50 percent from the field in the first half, as Texas Tech hit on 50 percent (10-of-20), including 27.3 percent (3-of-11) from 3-point range, while K-State shot 47.3 percent (11-of-23), but just 12.5 percent (1-of-8) from long range. Edwards led all scorers with 9 points on 3-of-5 field goals, while junior Xavier Sneed led the Wildcats with 8 points on 3-of-6 shooting.
The Red Raiders started hot out of halftime, scoring 7 of the first 9 points, to take a 37-29 lead and forced Weber to call a timeout barely 2 minutes into the second half.
The timeout seemed to work for the Wildcats, as they put together a 7-0 run, which included a jumper by senior Makol Mawien, a 3-pointer by Sneed and 2 free throws by Diarra, to close to within 37-36. However, a 3-pointer by Edwards on the next possession gave the Red Raiders a 40-36 lead into the first media timeout.
K-State stayed within striking distance, closing to within 44-42 on a layup by Diarra with 10:10 left. However, a missed Diarra dunk after a steal resulted in a Moretti 3-pointer on the other end to push Texas Tech back out to 47-42 and forced Weber to call a timeout with 9:44 remaining.
After a layup by freshman Montavious Murphy against closed it to one possession, a 5-0 spurt by Tech made Weber call his final timeout with 6:44 to play with the Wildcats trailing 52-44.
The Red Raiders’ lead grew to double figures at 59-49 after a free throw by Holyfield just after the final media timeout with 3:50 remaining. A few possessions later, the deficit grew to 13 (64-51) after 2 free throws and a 3-pointer by Moretti with 1:37 to play.
The Wildcats continued to fight until the end, scoring 8 in a row, which included a layup by DaJuan Gordon and back-to-back corner 3-pointers from Antonio Gordon, that cut the lead to 64-59 with 38 seconds. However, that would be closest it would get the rest of the way, as Ramsey finished off the scoring with a dunk on the next possession and 3-of-4 free throws for the 69-62 final.
Texas Tech connected on 50 percent (13-of-26) from the field in the second half, including 50 percent (5-of-10) from 3-point range, and knocked down 8 of 9 from the free throw line. K-State hit on 48 percent (12-of-25) after halftime, but just 33.3 percent (3-of-9) from long range, to go with 8 of 13 shooting from the line.
Moretti scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half on 4-of-8 field goals, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and made all 4 of his free throw attempts. Ramsey also had double figures with 10. Four different Wildcats had at least 6 points after halftime, including 8 by Antonio Gordon on 3-of-4 shooting.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Xavier Sneed scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-12 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with a game-high 4 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 37 minutes. He has now led the Wildcats in scoring in 11 games this season, while he registered double-digit points for the 20th time.
Freshman Antonio Gordon scored a season-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, to go with 8 rebounds in 20 minutes. It marked the first he scored in double figures in a Big 12 game.
STAT OF THE GAME
18 – Texas Tech had 18 assists on 23 field goals made, as four different players had at least 3 assists. In comparison, K-State managed just 9 assists on 23 field goals made with two players having 2 assists.
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“Obviously, you have to give lots of credit to Texas Tech. They made the plays when they needed to make them. I love (Davide) Moretti. He just makes all the right plays. He is their go-to player. He makes plays when they count. I’m never happy after a loss, but I’m proud of how hard our guys played tonight. Antonio (Gordon) played really well. He played really hard. In fact, all three freshmen played extremely hard. I thought that was one of Xavier’s (Sneed) best overall games of the season. He did a great job on (Jahmi’us) Ramsey. He played to near exhaustion. I feel for our guys, but all I can ask from them is their best and I think we got that tonight.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State’s 6-game losing streak is the longest of the Bruce Weber era and the longest for the Wildcats since dropping 6 in a row from Feb. 2-19, 2005.
- K-State still leads the all-time series, 25-18, with Texas Tech… The series is now tied 17-17 all in the Big 12 era… The Red Raiders sweep the season series for the second time in 3 seasons.
- The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of junior David Sloan, junior Cartier Diarra, senior Xavier Sneed, freshman Montavious Murphy and senior Makol Mawien… This was the first time using this lineup and the seventh different lineup used this season, the most since 2014-15.
- Sneed has now played in 131 career games, including 98 starts (59 consecutive)… He is now tied with Thomas Gipson (131/2011-15) for seventh place on the all-time games played list… He is also 4 starts
shy of cracking the career starts list… He is now in eighth place on all-time minutes played list with 3,653.
- Mawien has played and started in every game in his career, which now stretches to 97… He is also 5 starts shy of cracking the career starts list.
- Diarra has now started in 52 career games, including 21 of 26 games this season… Murphy earned his 16th start (most among all K-State freshmen) and has now played in 19 career games (missing 7 due to injury).
- Freshman DaJuan Gordon was the first player off the bench.
- K-State scored its 62 points on 47.9 percent (23-of-48) shooting, including 23.5 percent (4-of-17) from 3-point range, and went 12 of 19 from the free throw line… It was the highest field goal percentage since hitting on 59.2 percent (29-of-49) against West Virginia (1/18/20).
- Texas Tech connected on 50 percent (23-of-46) from the field, including 50 percent in each half… It marked fifth opponent to shoot 50 percent or better from the field (all losses).
- Both teams connected on 23 field goals with Texas Tech hitting on 8 made 3-pointers compared to K-State’s 4… The Red Raiders also had 18 assists to just 9 for the Wildcats.
- The teams combined for 34 turnovers, including 18 by Texas Tech… K-State scored 17 points off those 18 miscues and now has at least 17 points off turnovers in 17 of 26 games this season.
- K-State tallied 12 steals on the game, which marked the 10th time with double-digit steals.
- K-State held advantages in points off turnovers (17-16), points in the paint (30-24) and bench points (18-2), while Texas Tech had the upper hand in second-chance points (10-6) and fast-break points (13-10).
- Texas Tech led for 39 minutes as K-State never led in the contest… During the current 6-game losing streak, the Wildcats have led for less than 17 minutes (out of 240 total minutes).
- Senior Xavier Sneed scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-12 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and a 3-of-4 effort from the free throw line with 4 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 37 minutes… It marked the 26th time in his career leading the team in scoring, including the 11th time this season… He has now scored in double figures in 73 career games, including a team-high 20 this season.
- With his 15-point effort, Sneed moved past Chuckie Williams (1,364/1972-76) into 11th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,379 points… He is one of four Bruce Weber era players in the Top 11.
- With his game-tying 4 steals, Sneed now has 186 in his career, which ranks fourth in school history.
- Freshman Antonio Gordon scored a career-high 14 points on 6-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, to go with a team-high 8 rebounds in 20 minutes… It marked just his second double-digit scoring game, including his first in Big 12 play.
- Junior Cartier Diarra scored 10 points on 3-of-8 field goals, including 0-of-3 from 3-point range, and 4-of-4 free throws to go with 4 assists, 2 assists and 1 rebound in 26 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 35 career games, including 18 this season.
K-State returns home on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats play host to Texas (15-11, 5-8 Big 12) at 1 p.m., CT on CBS. The Longhorns won the first meeting, 64-50, at home on Jan. 11 and will be looking to sweep the series for the first time since 2016.