The men’s basketball team opened the first Saturday of three at home, looking to end a six-game losing streak and avoid a season sweep against Texas. Instead, the Wildcats fell to the Longhorns 70-59.
The Wildcats started off slow and never managed to fully recover despite a late game surge.
“It’s tough to fighting uphill, so we need to come off and start the game a whole lot better than we did,” senior forward Xavier Sneed said.
But it wasn’t all gloom in the Octagon of Doom — senior forward Makol Mawien finished with his fifth career double-double.
K-State pulled within six at 20-26, but also turned the ball over seven times in a span of five minutes. Texas took that opportunity to take a 16-3 run, securing a 42-23 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half. The Wildcats didn’t get a bucket from the floor in the final seven minutes of the half.
The Longhorns turned the ball over 18 times, 10 in the second half alone, but outscored the Wildcats 19-11 in points off turnovers.
“We turn people over, but then we turned the ball over too [much], which led to points off turnovers for them,” Weber said.
“We gave too many easy ones to them to start,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “Got to take care of the ball, make a couple of plays, put a little pressure on them, and it’s a totally different game.”
Texas was on fire in the first half, shooting 63 percent from the floor led by Sophomore guard Courtney Ramey, who tied his career high with 21 in the first half.
Turnovers were detrimental to the Wildcats as the Longhorns scored 13 points off of turnovers alone in the first half.
Redshirt junior guard Cartier Diarra led the Wildcats with nine points in the half.
The second half was a different story. K-State outscored the Longhorns 36-28 in the second half, but the deficit was too large to secure a Wildcat comeback.
The Wildcats got some momentum going in the second half, cutting the lead to 49-32 with over 14 minutes remaining. A Longhorn scoring drought played to the Wildcats’ advantage, but was relatively short lived.
Sneed led the Wildcats with 15 points on the night, including eight points from the free-throw line. Sneed was only 3-12 from the floor and 8-11 at the line.
K-State dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Longhorns 41-28, fronted by 10 from Mawien.
Ramey led all scorers with 26 points as Texas shot 52 percent from the floor, including 42 percent from three and 76 percent from the line.
The Wildcats still face a tough road ahead as they take a trip to Waco, Texas, to take on Baylore. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Tuesday and the game is available on ESPN+. After that, K-State will return home for a rematch against in-state rival Kansas on Saturday.