With much to prove following a four-game losing streak, head coach Bruce Weber and the Kansas State men’s basketball team responded with a 62-51 victory against No. 19 Texas Tech at Bramlage Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
The win marks K-State’s first Big 12 win of the season, improving their record to (9-7, 1-4) and dropping the Red Raiders to fifth in conference standings with a (13-4, 3-2) record.
“Happy for the guys,” Weber said to K-State Athletics. “They drenched me with water, but they’re the ones that that found that inner strength and courage to come back after the other night, so proud of them.”
The Wildcats had an early 11-point lead in the first half, but Texas Tech’s stout defense and unselfish offense allowed the Red Raiders to storm back and take the lead.
Weber’s team also prides itself on defense and didn’t allow another Texas Tech run after that. Even though senior Bryson Williams scored 20 points on K-State’s defense, they held tight with their backs against the wall.
“[Kevin] Obanor and [Bryson] Williams played like they’ve played together for 20 years,” associate coach Chris Lowery said to K-State Athletics. “I just thought we did a great job of fighting and making their catches tough. Williams still gets 20, but during the stretch where we needed to get stops, we got stops.”
K-State’s defense forced 18 turnovers, 9 generated by Wildcat steals from multiple guards. Leading the way was Markquis Nowell with five, then Mark Smith (2), Mike McGuirl (1) and Ismael Massoud (1).
“You got the two little guys out there fighting like they did, guarding bigger guys and really being little menaces all over the court,” Lowery said to K-State Athletics. “I think that that really shocked them at times.”
The Wildcat offense performed no better than its average of 62 points per game in Big 12 thus far. However, the 62 points tie Baylor for the second-most points allowed by the Red Raiders in Big 12 play — enough to down Texas Tech in a nail-biter.
They accomplished this by shooting just 42.9 percent from the field on 16 assists and nine three-pointers, but it was a string of three-pointers and defensive stops that was the difference-maker toward the end of the game.
“We knew teams were gonna make runs, but it’s how we responded to the runs, and I think we responded really well today,” senior Mike McGuirl said to K-State Athletics. “We were able to take their best punch and give them one of our own, and we even made a run late and that’s what got us over the top.”
K-State looks to build on the momentum at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday in Austin, Texas, for another top-25 matchup against the Texas Longhorns. Viewing is limited to the Longhorn Network.