MANHATTAN, Kan. – A short-handed Kansas State fought one of the nation’s top-ranked teams down to the end, but No. 14/16 Texas exerted its control with a big 18-2 run to start the second half en route to a 70-57 win in the Wildcats’ Big 12 home opener before 6,833 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Down head coach Bruce Weber and seven players due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the pesky Wildcats (8-5, 0-2 Big 12) with their eight players, including seven on scholarship, looked primed to spark the upset, scoring the game’s first 7 points and leading 35-29 at the half after connecting on 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field, including 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from 3-point range.
However, it was a different story in the second half, as the nation’s top-ranked defense (51.9 ppg.) held the Wildcats to just 22 points on 22.2 percent (6-of-27) shooting, including 0-of-9 from 3-point range, while the Longhorn offense scored the first 8 points out of halftime en route to an 18-2 run that built a double-digit lead (47-37) with just over 12 minutes to play.
K-State got to within 6 points on 4 occasions down the stretch, including 63-57 after a layup by sophomore Selton Miguel with 2:42 to play. However, the stingy defense would allow any further rally as Texas scored the game’s final 7 points en route to the double-digit victory.
It marked the first time this season that the Wildcats lost when leading at the half (8-0).
Sophomore Nijel Pack collected his fourth career 20-point game with a game-high 21 points, including 15 in the opening half where the Wildcats built as much as a 9-point lead. He finished 6-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He has now scored 15 or more points in 8 of 10 games played this season.
Miguel added a near double-double with 13 points on 6-of-13 field goals and a game-high 8 rebounds, while fellow sophomore Ish Massoud chipped in 9 points.
The Longhorns (12-2, 2-0 Big 12) got a big night from Utah transfer Timmy Allen, who posted double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while three others (Marcus Carr, Courtney Ramey and Dylan Disu) also scored in double figures, including a game-high 19 by Carr, the transfer from Minnesota.
K-State had 8 available players (Miguel, Pack, Massoud, senior Mike McGuirl, junior Carlton Linguard, Jr., fifth-year senior Mark Smith, senior walk-on Drew Honas and sophomore Luke Kasubke), including 7 scholarship players, for tonight’s game.
In addition to Weber, the Wildcats were without sophomore Davion Bradford, sophomore Jordan Brooks, freshman Maximus Edwards, junior Kaosi Ezeagu, sophomore Trey Harris, freshman Logan Landers and junior Markquis Nowell due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
In Weber’s place, assistant coach Shane Southwell assumed head coaching responsibilities.
Unlike previous games, K-State started the game off strong, scoring the first 7 points, including a 3-pointer from sophomore Ish Massoud, to open the game then built a 14-7 advantage on back-to-back buckets by sophomore Nijel Pack with 12:35 remaining in the first half.
Texas slowly chipped away at the deficit, using an 8-0 run to take its first lead at 29-27 after consecutive 3-pointers by seniors Marcus Carr and Courtney Ramey. However, K-State end the first half with momentum, scoring the last 8 points, including a pair of 3-pointers by Pack, to take a 35-29 into halftime.
The Longhorns seized the momentum for good early in the second half, scoring the half’s first 8 points en route to an 18-2 run that gave them a 47-37 lead with 12:26 to play. Four times the Wildcats closed to within 6 points, including 63-57 on layup by sophomore Selton Miguel with 2:42 remaining, but they could get no closer.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Sophomore Nijel Pack posted his fourth career 20-point game, including his first this season, with a game-high 21 points on 6-of-12 field goals, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and a perfect 6-of-6 effort from the free throw line to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 37 minutes. He now has 15 or more points in 9 of 11 games played.
Sophomore Selton Miguel posted near double-double with 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting to go with a team-high 8 rebounds in 33 minutes. It marked his 13th career double-digit scoring game, including his sixth this season.
STAT OF THE GAME
22 – The nation’s top-ranked defense held K-State to just 22 points in the second half on 22.2 percent (6-of-27) shooting after allowing 35 points on 50 percent (14-of-28) in the first half.
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Acting Head Coach Shane Southwell
On the game…
“We did a good job early in the first half fighting, starting off fast and setting the tone. We talked about setting the tone especially early in the game. That’s cost us in some of our losses and even some of our wins. I think for the most part we did a great job of setting the tone early. It started with our physicality, it started with our defense. I think we did a good job of mixing in and out of the zone and the man. It got them confused, and even though they play a slower pace than most teams, I think it got them stagnant. I think we did a good job of going in and out of our zone to give them a different look than what you are accustomed to when you get a Kansas State team, which is our man-to-man defense. Then, going to the second half we didn’t sustain that physicality, that energy. We missed some bunnies at the rim, some layups at the rim. Obviously going 0-of-9 in the second half from three is big because it comes to the point where you have to make some timely offensive plays, whether it’s timely layups or timely wide open threes. You make some threes and make some layups and our assist numbers rise. But obviously we fought. We were short-handed but we fought hard. But we don’t accept any moral victories. We told the guys in the locker room we don’t accept moral victories. Next step is to get better, obviously we’re growing but we’re gonna stay connected. And we’ve got a strong team with good morale in that locker room.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- With the loss, K-State has dropped consecutive games for the second time this season.
- K-State is 0-2 to start Big 12 play for the first time since 2019-20.
- K-State still leads the all-time series, 22-21, including 11-9 at home… The Longhorns have now won 5 straight in the series, which ties for the longest winning streak by either school in the series… The Wildcats won the first 5 meetings between 1971 and 1984.
- The 57 points marked a season-low for K-State.
- After scoring 35 points on 50 percent (14-of-28) shooting in the first half, the Wildcats scored just 22 in the second half on 22.2 percent (6-of-27) shooting, including 0-of-9 from 3-point range.
- K-State lost for the first time this season when leading at the half, previously had been 8-0.
- K-State had just 2 players score in double figures for the second time this season.
- K-State registered single-digit (6) turnovers for the fourth time this season.
- K-State used a starting lineup of sophomore Nijel Pack, fifth-year senior Mark Smith, sophomore Selton Miguel, sophomore Ismael (Ish) Massoud and junior Carlton Linguard, Jr. … This marked the first time using this lineup this season… Massoud and Smith have each started the first 13 games… It marked the first career start for Linguard.
- K-State played without head coach Bruce Weber and seven players (sophomore Davion Bradford, sophomore Jordan Brooks, freshman Maximus Edwards, junior Kaosi Ezeagu, sophomore Trey Harris, freshman Logan Landers and junior Markquis Nowell) due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
K-State is scheduled to hit the road this weekend and travel to Morgantown, W.Va., on Saturday to take on former head coach Bob Huggins and his West Virginia Mountaineers (11-2, 0-1 Big 12) at 1 p.m., CT at the WVU Coliseum.