One step forward, two steps back.
That’s the dance that the K-State men’s basketball team has performed all season. Take a step forward by upsetting No. 17 Oklahoma at home on a buzzer beater. Take two steps back in an extremely lackluster 69-55 loss to TCU in Fort Worth, Texas Wednesday.
“I thought we started very lethargic,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber told K-State Sports after the game. “We didn’t have much energy. (TCU’s players) were a little better, but they weren’t great either. You have to come play hard. I didn’t put much on the board at halftime. I just said the determined team will win it. Obviously they were more determined in the first half than we were.”
The first half started innocently enough. K-State (13-14, 6-8) never grasped the lead, but did keep the deficit within five points for a majority of the opening 20 minutes.
The downward spiral started late in the first half. K-State’s offense went from being poor to nonexistent, and TCU enjoyed a 19-0 run shooting 64 percent from the field. The Horned Frogs went into the intermission ahead comfortably 35-15. K-State went in having not scored for seven minutes.
A lineup change at the break provided sophomore guard Jevon Thomas, freshman guard Tre Harris and junior guard Brian Rohleder an opportunity to inject life into the ballgame. The trio did just that, leading an 18-6 run that cut the deficit down to six points.
But after a technical foul was assessed to senior forward Thomas Gipson for throwing down a Horned Frog on a rebound attempt, the momentum that K-State once had seemed to vanish as TCU quickly went up by double-figures — this time for good.
K-State was led in scoring by the tandem of Harris and senior forward Nino Williams who each had 14 points on the night. Gipson followed close behind with 12 points and was the only other Wildcat to score more than five points.
“To his (Harris’) credit, he came out and made some shots,” Weber said. “We gave him the chance and he did a great job.”
TCU finished with four players in double-figures led by sophomore forward Chris Washburn who had 17 points.
The Horned Frogs have now won back-to-back conference games for the first time since joining the Big 12. Three conference wins on the season is also a record since joining the league.
Meanwhile, K-State once again falls below .500 and faces two tough tasks in the coming five days.
“We’re just going to have to come together tomorrow and see if we can get our head on right,” Weber said. “See if we can get guys that care, that really want to win. Because that ‘s what it’s all about.”
The Wildcats will practice in Fort Worth today before heading further south to Waco, Texas to take on Baylor Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for noon.