KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In a game that came down to the final minute and saw Kansas State erase a 10-point halftime deficit, No. 15/14 Kansas State fell to Iowa State, 63-59, in the semifinal round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship before a crowd of 19,066 at the Sprint Center on Friday night.
Five Wildcats scored in double figures for the third time this season, including redshirt sophomore Cartier Diarra leading the team behind a team-high 15 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, while Barry Brown, Jr., (13), Xavier Sneed (11), Makol Mawien (10) and Kamau Stokes (10) also registered in double digits.
K-State (25-8, 14-4 Big 12) falls in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Championship for the third-straight season, falling to 0-3 all-time against Iowa State (21-11, 9-9 Big 12) in the Big 12 era.
K-State was held 34.9 percent (22-of-63) shooting in the game, including 29.6 percent (8-of-27) from beyond the arc. With their offense struggling, the Wildcats used their defense to keep them in the game, holding Iowa State to just 31.8 percent (7-of-22) shooting in the second half and scoring 18 points off 17 turnovers.
Trailing by 10 points at halftime, K-State opened up an 11-3 run to start the second half that included a pair of 3-pointers from Diarra, who tied a career-high with 4 triples. In the final 10 minutes, the teams traded punches until the final minute, when ISU took over the lead with 53 seconds remaining on a 3-pointer from Marial Shayok.
Behind Shayok’s game-high 21 points on 5-of-12 from the field and 3-of-9 on 3-pointers, Iowa State shot 42 percent (21-of-50) from the field and 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the free-throw line.
HOW IT HAPPENED
K-State wasted no time gaining the early advantage, forcing the ball inside on their opening possession to junior Makol Mawien, who finished with a slam. Iowa State turned the ball over on its first two possessions, capped off by a 3-pointer from senior Kamau Stokes, as the Wildcats claimed a 5-0 lead in the first minute of play.
After Iowa State responded with 4-straight points, K-State rattled off 5 more, including a deep 3-pointer from sophomore Cartier Diarra, to bring the score to 10-4 with 16:51 to go in the first half.
Scoring on his first 3-pointer, Diarra continued to impress in the first half, scoring 5-straight points for the Wildcats, including another contested 3-pointer to bring the lead 6 at 15-9 with 14 minutes remaining.
Midway through the half, the Wildcats continued the defensive pressure, as Mawien rejected a shot from Iowa State’s Cameron Lard. Throughout the first half, the Wildcat pressure forced 8 Cyclone turnovers that resulted in 11 points.
Iowa State caught a break at the 8:11 mark of the first half, as Shayok connected on a 4-point play after being fouled on a made 3-pointer. On the next possession, the Cyclones claimed their first lead of the game behind an 8-0 run at 22-21 with 7:31 left in the half.
After a Stokes layup at the 10:07 mark, the Wildcats would miss 12 straight shots, allowing the Cyclones to claim a 31-23 lead with 1:51 left in the first half. Brown would get the Wildcats back on the board with a jumper at the 1:23 mark, as Iowa State led 35-25 at the half behind a 13-2 run.
Despite trailing by 10 at the break, K-State began the second half on a high note, spouting off an 10-3 run, including scores on their first 3 possessions of the half. The scoring began on a lay-in from Mawien in the paint, followed by a pair of 3-pointers from Stokes and Diarra to bring the score to 38-35 with 17:30 to go.
At the 15:05 mark of the second half, Diarra tied the game back up for the first time since the 7:11 mark of the first half on a step-back 3-pointer that brought the score to 38-38.
Minutes later, the Wildcats reclaimed the lead on a 3-pointer from Sneed, who rattled it home as the shot clock expired. K-State led 45-43 with 10:43 remaining. The Wildcats would build on their lead after a layup in transition from Brown to bring the score to 49-45, causing the Cyclones to take a timeout with 9:34 remaining.
After the timeout, Sneed looked to find a score near the bucket, as he drove the lane and was met by an Iowa State defender, in which Sneed dunked it over him, giving K-State a 51-47 with 8:13 left in the game.
With under 4 minutes remaining, K-State found back-to-back buckets from Mawien in the paint and Brown on a jumper to force Iowa State to take a timeout with 2:43 remaining, as K-State led 55-50.
After the Cyclone timeout, they responded with 5 points of their own to draws the score even at 55-55 with 1:53 to go after Shayok rattled home a 3-pointer from the corner. Shayok would strike again from corner on a contested 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, giving Iowa State a 58-55 lead with 53 seconds remaining.
Iowa State added to its lead with a free throw to bring the score to 58-55, before Brown drove the ball in for a layup to bring K-State to within 2 points at 59-57 with 20.3 seconds remaining. The Cyclones would score on a pair of free throws from junior Nick Weiler-Babb to bring the score to 61-57 with 15 seconds to go.
On the next K-State possession, Sneed was fouled on a 3-point attempt, where he would hit 2-of-3 from the line. Iowa State responded by making its last two attempts from the line for the 63-59 victory.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cartier Diarra – Connecting on 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, redshirt sophomore Cartier Diarra scored a team-high 15 points, while collecting career-tying 7 rebounds. Diarra was influential in erasing the 10-point halftime deficit, connecting on a pair of 3-pointers during the Wildcats’ 11-3 run to start the second half.
STAT OF THE GAME
13-4 – Iowa State ended the game on a 13-4 run to rally from a 55-50 deficit with 2:47 to play.