Cats lose in final seconds at Tech

By Joel Jellison

Everything fell apart for Kansas State in the final seconds on Tuesday at Texas Tech.

But it wasn’t just those final moments that cost the Wildcats in a 66-65 loss at the United Supermarkets Arena.

K-State blew a lead midway through the second half, missed a late free-throw attempt with a four-point lead and then lost control in the final moments to let the Red Raiders escape with a win.

It’s the third loss this season for the Wildcats, all three coming by two points or less.

“I don’t know what to say,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said in postgame radio. “I’m just sad for our kids. You’ve got to go on the road and fight and grind. We knew they were good. We knew it would be a battle. We started a little slow and then we fought back, dealt with foul trouble, our bench did great, but we didn’t stop them down the stretch.”

The Wildcats (13-3, 2-2 Big 12) led by seven points with 10:07 to play, but allowed Texas Tech to go on an 8-0 run to claim the lead.

K-State got a wild 3-pointer from Kamau Stokes to push its lead to 60-56 with 3:13 left in the game, but Stokes missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 1:50 to play and Texas Tech pulled within two points on a pair of Aaron Ross free throws.

The Red Raiders (13-3, 2-2) had a chance to tie the game with Zach Smith at the free-throw line with 49 seconds left, but he missed the second shot and it deflected out of bounds off of the Wildcats.
Smith was fouled by Dean Wade after the inbounds play, forcing Wade out of the game with five fouls, but missed both free throws to keep K-State’s chances alive.

Wesley Iwundu ran out of space with the ball and threw it away with 20 seconds left, and the Red Raiders got a layup from Keenan Evans to take the lead with 15 seconds to play.

“There’s some questionable calls, but I should have called timeout,” Weber said. “We had plenty of time and that’s my fault.”

K-State drove the length of the court and Barry Brown went up for a layup, but appeared to be smacked across the head by a Texas Tech defender and missed the shot. D.J. Johnson was called for his fifth foul right after the rebound, and Bruce Weber drew a technical foul from the bench.

Texas Tech made the first three free throws, but missed the fourth and Brown made a 3 at the buzzer to bring the Wildcats one point short of the lead.

“I feel bad for our kids because we played so hard,” Weber said.

Stokes led the Wildcats with 17 points and five assists, knocking down five 3-pointers. Wade scored 12 and Johnson had 11.

Evans finished with a game-high 18 points for the Red Raiders, and Smith added 16. Ross scored 10 points off of the bench.

K-State returns to Manhattan on Saturday for a matchup with No. 1 Baylor. The game tips off at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The Bears lost, 89-68, to West Virginia on Tuesday.

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