The Kansas State Wildcats fell from the ranks of the unbeatens in the Big 12 on Saturday, going on the road and losing to the 17th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs 82-68.
K-State, No. 11 in the country in this week’s AP Top 25 poll, got out to an early lead in Saturday’s game, going up as many as five points just over six minutes in to the contest. That woke up TCU, which overcame that early deficit with a 13-2 run to take the lead for good.
The Horned Frogs led the Wildcats by 14 points at the break, then got their lead out to as many as 25 points with just 10:49 to play.
Kansas State put together a late rally to keep the score respectable, getting the margin down to as few as 12 points before eventually succumbing to the 14-point defeat.
“All the credit to Jamie Dixon and his team,” K-State coach Jerome Tang said. They did a great job of preparing in the quick turnaround coming off a tough loss.”
The Wildcats shot 43.1% overall for the game compared to 46.5% for the Horned Frogs. K-State was able to limit TCU to just 3-of-19 from three-point range, but allowed 57.7% shooting from inside the perimeter. That interior effort was led by TCU sophomore big man Eddie Lampkin Jr., who had 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
He was one of four double-digit scorers for the Horned Frogs, who were led by a game-high and career-high 23 points from senior forward Emanuel Miller.
“They get a lot out of transition, like number one in the country in transition baskets,” K-State senior guard Markquis Nowell said. “And you see that today, a lot of guys playing big.”
Nowell had 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, his lowest scoring total in Big 12 play. Senior guard Keyontae Johnson led the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points in the losing effort.
“Obviously, it’s best conference in the country,” Johnson said. “You have to bring your best every night. I wanted to play the best, so I made the right decision to come to K-State and play in the Big 12.”
With the loss, K-State has dropped into a second-place tie at 4-1 in the Big 12 standings alongside No. 14 Iowa State, which lost to the second-ranked Kansas Jayhawks 62-60 on Saturday. Texas entered the weekend 3-1 and is playing the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday night.
TCU, which snapped a two-game losing skid by beating Kansas State, is now 3-2 in the Big 12 this season.
Next time out, the Wildcats will host the Jayhawks for the first Sunflower Showdown of the season. That game is set for a 6:00 p.m. central time tip off on Tuesday night.