Men’s basketball takes down No. 14 Texas Tech, remains at top of Big 12

Junior forward Xavier Sneed looks toward his teammates to see what the next play will be. The Kansas State Wildcats faced off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Tuesday at Bramlage Coliseum. (Emily Lenk | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s basketball team defeated the No. 14 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders 58-45 in a low-scoring game Tuesday evening in Bramlage Coliseum, keeping the Wildcats ranked at the top of the Big 12 Conference.

Pitting two of the nation’s greatest defenses against each other resulted in a total of 30 turnovers and only 103 points between the teams.

The turnovers began from the beginning, as Texas Tech turned the ball over on their first two possessions, which helped K-State to a 7-2 lead at the under-16 timeout.

However, the Red Raiders stormed out of the timeout with an alley-oop, which was the beginning of seven unanswered points to give the Red Raiders a 9-7 lead.

The Wildcats took the lead back, and for most of the first half, it was a closely contested game that featured four lead changes until about five minutes remained in the half. Two free throws by senior forward Dean Wade started a 6-0 run that gave the Wildcats a 26-18 lead.

K-State ultimately went into halftime with a 32-24 lead. Texas Tech had a hard time getting the ball in the basket against K-State’s defense, shooting 33 percent in the first half. In this regard, the Wildcats had better success in the first half, shooting 55 percent.

Texas Tech’s star player Jarrett Culver managed nine points in the first half, but was held back by the stifling defense K-State put on him. He was able to finish the game with 17 points, but his team was outmatched on the court in this game.

Starting with an eight-point lead, the Wildcats completely controlled the second half, holding the lead for all 20 minutes. Offensively, K-State was a hard team to defend as seven different players scored — all single digits — to keep the offense flowing.

The Red Raiders were slightly under their first-half field goal percentage at 32 percent — only three players were able to score in the second half, scoring a total of 45 points for the game.

Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard had high praise for K-State after the game: “They’re the best defensive team in the Big 12.”

Beard also said he didn’t think poor shot selection was the problem.

“You aren’t going to get great shots against Coach [Bruce] Weber’s team,” Beard said. “It’s just making a better percentage of our shots.”

In total, K-State shot 46 percent in the field compared to Texas Tech’s 33 percent.

K-State was able to blow the game open near the end with senior guard Kamau Stokes hitting a 3-pointer in the late minutes of the game to make the lead 58-43.

The Wildcats’ season record is now 15-4 overall, 5-2 in conference play.

As the Wildcats are now in a tie with the Kansas Jayhawks for first in the Big 12, head coach Bruce Weber says the upcoming games are going to be big deals for the team.

“There is a lot more coming up,” Weber said. “These next two road games are very important.”

The men’s team will head to College Station, Texas, to take on the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at 1 p.m.