Wildcats survive late surge against Horned Frogs

Senior forward D.J. Johnson looks for an open teammate during the basketball game between K-State and Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 22, 2017. (Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

In what felt like a NCAA Tournament elimination game, the Kansas State men’s basketball team defeated Texas Christian University 75-74 on Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas.

The win keeps the Wildcats hopes alive to make March Madness. K-State currently projects as the No. 6 seed in the Big 12 Tournament starting next week. The Wildcats held off a second half surge by the Horned Frogs to win the game.

Both teams played very even for the first 10 minutes, but the Wildcats pulled away at the end of the half.

It was the “Wesley Iwundu Show” in the first half as the senior forward dominated, while sophomore forward Dean Wade provided 11 points on three 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.

K-State was up 34-29 and used a 6-0 run to take a 40-29 lead going into the halftime break.

The Wildcats shot 45 percent and made six 3-pointers during the first half.

It was the Horned Frogs who stormed back, however, cutting the deficit to 50-49 with 11 minutes to play in the game.

Sophomore guard Barry Brown responded with a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 53-49 lead followed by a two point basket and a foul by senior forward D.J. Johnson, which gave K-State a seven-point advantage.

TCU got right back in the game after a 3-point basket with seven minutes to go as the Wildcats led 59-57.

The very next K-State possession, it was sophomore guard Kamau Stokes who nailed a 3-point basket to extend the lead back to five.

The Horned Frogs got back within one at 62-61, but Iwundu made a nice drive and hit a jumper to give the Wildcats a 64-61 lead.

Wade had a huge offensive rebound after an Iwundu miss and put in the rebound for a basket to give K-State a three-point lead with two minutes to go.

With just over a minute left, Wade hit a 3-pointer followed by a Johnson block which gave K-State a four-point lead and the ball with under one minute left.

The Wildcats went on to win the game 75-74 after some late free throws by Stokes and Johnson.

K-State is now 18-12 overall and 7-10 in conference play, while the Horned Frogs are 17-13 and 6-11 in Big 12 play.

The Wildcats will close out the regular season portion of their schedule on Saturday when they host Texas Tech for senior day inside Bramlage Coliseum. Following that game, K-State will participate in the Big 12 Tournament next week at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.