K-State men’s basketball ends regular season with road loss

Head coach Bruce Weber yells for a Wildcat to guard an unguarded TCU player as the Wildcats wrap up their 79-54 beatdown of the TCU Horned Frogs on March 2, 2016, inside Bramlage Coliseum. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

Things looked good for K-State in the beginning, but it didn’t last as K-State fell to Texas Tech 80-71 in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday.

“I feel like we just became too complacent with getting off to a great start,” senior guard Justin Edwards said to K-State Sports. “We didn’t keep the pressure on them like we should’ve. We just didn’t fight back how we should’ve.”

The beginning of the first half saw the Red Raiders down by as many as 12 points. K-State hit four field goals, including two 3-pointers, to jump to a 10-2 lead. The streak extended to as many as six shots, but after a layup by Johnson put the lead to 23-11, the Wildcats went cold.

A tip in at the 8:56-minute mark by Texas Tech sophomore forward Zach Smith sparked a comeback for the Red Raiders that included a 13-2 run. Tech was right back in the game with a score of 25-24. During the run, K-State went nearly four minutes without connecting from the field.

“They turned it up,” head coach Bruce Weber said to K-State Sports. “We didn’t deal with it very well.”

Texas Tech turned up the volume on defense, forcing K-State turnovers and earning points off easy layups. By the end of the game, those layups contributed to Texas Tech earning the highest field goal percentage K-State has allowed all year.

“Fifty-nine percent, which is just too many layups,” Weber said to K-State Sports.

A layup by Texas Tech senior guard Toddrick Gotcher pushed the Red Raiders into the lead for good after the game tied up at 28-all with 2:24 minutes left in the first half.

The Wildcats started the second half down 36-28 and were unable to solve Texas Tech’s offense. Junior forward D.J. Johnson started things off for the Wildcats with a pair of free throws that were quickly answered by a shot from Gotcher. Johnson did not go quietly, though, scoring all eight of K-State’s points before the first media timeout at 15:58, bringing the score to 46-36 Texas Tech.

Johnson highlighted a 10-0 run for the Wildcats with a dunk at the 6:37 mark that brought the score to 59-51, but the Red Raiders were having a hot night from the field and would not be silenced. Just 23 seconds later, junior Aaron Ross silenced the run with a 3-pointer. Texas Tech shot 55.6 percent from 3-point range in the second half and 58.3 percent from the field compared to K-State’s 37.1 percent shooting from the field and 9.1 percent from the arch.

The game ended with Texas Tech at the free-throw line. The Red Raiders knocked down 10 of 12 in the final 1:45 minutes of the game, finishing off the Wildcats 80-71.

The loss moves K-State to 16-15 overall and 5-13 in the Big 12.

“You go on to Kansas City now,” Weber said to K-State Sports. “We’ve been there and played two games there already this season.”

K-State will start the tournament Wednesday as a No. 8 seed against ninth-seeded Oklahoma State. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Kansas City.