To K-State fans watching Wednesday’s game against the No. 11 Missouri Tigers, it must have seemed like they were watching a completely different team than they had watched all season long.
The Wildcats played in the opposite fashion they’ve become known for — the guards were committing turnovers and the big men were getting beat on the boards.
It all resulted in a 94-74 defeat to the Tigers.
“We’ve battled all year,” said head coach Frank Martin. “We walked into a buzz saw here today. They’re a top-10 team, and we obviously weren’t ready for the intensity of the game.”
K-State (19-9, 7-6 Big 12 Conference) started the game with a Jacob Pullen 3-pointer, but the Tigers (24-4, 11-2 Big 12) quickly answered with a 3-pointer of their own and proceeded to go on a 9-2 run to push their lead to 12-5.
Missouri used tremendous full-court pressure throughout the first half, forcing the Wildcats into 11 turnovers for 15 points.
K-State, first in the Big 12 in rebounding, was outrebounded 30-24 in the first half. Missouri had 13 first-half offensive rebounds, which turned into 16 points.
The closest K-State got was 24-20 with 6:40 left in the first half, but Missouri would outscore the Wildcats 31-12 the rest of the half to take a 55-32 lead at halftime.
“That was the game right there,” Martin said. “It’s hard to win when we get caught in their kind of game.”
K-State, already down big, started the second half by missing open shots and committing fouls.
Missouri’s Leo Lyons scored the first six points in the second half from the foul line. As a team, the Tigers shot 33-43 from the free throw line while the Wildcats only shot 15-25.
K-State went on a 12-0 run to pull within 19 of the Tigers with 12:08 left in the game, but Missouri never let them get any closer from that point on.
“We got caught playing the game the way they wanted us to play,” Martin said. “We were either standing around or we were playing too fast and took the ball into areas of the court where they wanted us to go.”
Denis Clemente, who had 33 points, led the Wildcats offensively. He was the only Wildcat to score in double-digits.
“Everyone was playing hard but no one was making any shots,” Clemente said. “If we don’t make shots, then we’re not going to win.”
Missouri had five players in double-digits, led by DeMarre Carroll with 21 points. Leo Lyons and Laurence Bowers each notched 16 points.
The Wildcats now return home to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday in Bramlage Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.