The Kansas State men’s basketball team, now nationally ranked at No. 18, scrapped and clawed its way to a 71-64 win over the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night.
With the win, the Wildcats’ record is 19-5 overall and 9-2 in the Big 12 Conference, good enough for first place in the Big 12.
It was senior guard Barry Brown and junior forward Xavier Sneed who led the Wildcats with 16 points each. Following them up were senior forward Dean Wade with 12 points and both senior guard Kamau Stokes and junior forward Makol Mawien with 11 points.
In the first five minutes, K-State jumped out to a 15-9 lead after a 3-pointer by Stokes, but Texas regained the lead at 18-17.
Sneed scored the Wildcats’ first five points, but sat out most of the first half after getting two fouls early on.
The Wildcats’ calling card, their good defense, didn’t look so good in the first 10 minutes; they gave up numerous layups and easy shots inside the paint.
The Longhorns took the lead at 24-22 and never lost it again in the first half, leading 39-35 going into the locker room.
The Wildcats took the lead once again two minutes into the second half after a 3-pointer by Stokes gave K-State a 43-42 lead, followed by a Mawien dunk to extend the lead to three points ahead.
Later, with the Longhorns up 47-45, K-State went on a 9-0 run to take a 54-47 lead with 13 minutes left in the game.
K-State led 64-60 with five minutes left to play as Stokes nailed another 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a seven-point lead.
The Wildcats scored late free throws from Brown and Sneed to put the game away as K-State won by seven whole points.
The Wildcats unfortunately had to play without sophomore guard Cartier Diarra, who team officials say is out indefinitely with a hand injury that will need surgery.
K-State will return home on Saturday when it hosts the No. 23 Iowa State Cyclones for a game that tips off at 3 p.m. inside Bramlage Coliseum.