Nino Williams has struggled at Hilton Coliseum in years past. That’s why he’s had this year’s meeting in Ames, Iowa circled on his calendar since the start of the season.
Williams opened the scoring for K-State against the Cyclones Tuesday. The senior leader quickly saw a second bucket fall, then a third and then a fourth.
By the end of the night, Williams had a new career high in points with 22. His effort was enough to give K-State (11-8, 4-2) an opportunity to upset No. 9 Iowa State, but a late-game scoring drought as a team gave way to the Cyclones (14-3, 4-1) to pull ahead and capture a 77-71 win.
“Good effort,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber told K-State Sports after the game. “It’s disappointing because we had a chance to beat one of the top-10 teams in the country, but we showed we’re as good as anyone.”
Williams added eight rebounds and four assists to go along with his career night from the field. Sophomore guard Marcus Foster dropped 16 points in another impressive performance. Senior forward Thomas Gipson and junior guard Justin Edwards finished with 15 and 12 points, respectively, to round out the Wildcat scoring.
K-State led the Cyclones 69-67 with 4:10 to play in the game. Foster hit a layup and the two teams went into the final media timeout with all the momentum on the side of the Wildcats.
That was when everything went wrong for K-State. Buckets rimmed out, rebounds were grabbed by the home team. The Wildcats were suddenly more than four minutes without a field goal and in too much of a hole to climb out of.
With two seconds remaining, Edwards scored a layup to end the scoring drought. It was too little too late, however, as K-State’s four-game winning streak came a disappointing conclusion.
“History repeats itself,” Weber said. “It’s the same game as the last two years. We actually led in this one longer than (the past), but Iowa State finished.”
Junior forward Jameel McKay led Iowa State with 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Fellow junior Georges Niang was close behind with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Between the two teams, nine players finished in double-digits.
K-State opened the game with a 6-2 lead following two field goals from Williams. The senior’s fourth field goal of the game gave the Wildcats a 17-12 advantage with 12:54 to play.
The Cyclones responded with a barrage of shots from behind the arc and rebounding at the glass. In the first half alone, Iowa State connected on four 3-pointers and grabbed seven offensive boards leading to 15 second-chance points.
Iowa State swung a seven-point lead in its favor with three minutes before the halftime break despite not scoring in transition. At that point, Foster had just two points on five shots.
He went on to finish the half with nine points, nailing back-to-back buckets and two freebies from the free-throw line to cut the deficit down to one at halftime, 39-38.
K-State finished the game holding Iowa State to zero points in transition.
“I thought we did good in transition,” Weber said. “They had zero points in transition and they have one of the best transitions games in the country. That was huge.”
K-State returns to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum Saturday looking to get back into the win column. They will face the Cowboys of Oklahoma State, and tipoff is set for 11 a.m.
“The whole last couple of weeks don’t matter if we don’t have consistency and come back against Oklahoma State,” Weber said.