Wildcats Comeback Falls Short

Kansas State tried to make yet another second-half rally, using a 16-0 run to close to within 4 points, however, No. 23/22 Oklahoma State responded with a decisive run of its own to maintain the lead in a 67-60 win on Saturday afternoon in front of a limited capacity crowd of 3,350 fans at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Down by 20 in the early moments of the second half, K-State (5-17, 1-12 Big 12) attempted to rally from a big deficit for the second straight game, using a 16-0 run over a near 4-minute stretch to close to within 41-37 to play. Five different Wildcats scored during the stretch, including a pair of 3-pointers by freshman Nijel Pack, who scored 12 of his 14 points after halftime and has now scored in double figures in 8 consecutive games.

However, just as quick, Oklahoma State (13-6, 6-6 Big 12) rattled off a 10-2 run, keyed by National Freshman of the Year candidate Cade Cunningham, who like Pack had a terrific second half, scoring 12 of his game-tying 15 points after halftime. After pushing the lead back out to 51-39 with 12:38 to play, the Cowboys maintained a double-digit lead for much of the rest of the way.

For the second straight game, it was the 3-pointer that hurt the Wildcats the most, as OSU connected on 10 triples on 28 attempts (35.7 percent) compared to K-State’s 5 on 19 attempts (26.3 percent). The shooting percentages were nearly identical with the Cowboys hitting on 40.7 percent (24-of-59), while the Wildcats were at 39.3 percent (24-of-61). K-State shot 55.2 percent (16-of-29) in the second half, including 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from long range, after shooting a season-low 25 percent (8-of-32) in the first half, including 0-of-8 from long range.

The loss spoiled an impressive day from sophomore Antonio Gordon, who posted his first career double-double with a game-tying 15 points on 7-of-13 field goals and a career-best 14 rebounds. It continued a solid stretch for Gordon, who is averaging 8.4 points and 9 rebounds in the last 5 games. Aside from Gordon and Pack, freshman Davion Bradford also registered double figures with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Cunningham was joined in double figures by freshman Rondel Walker and senior Bryce Williams, who each added 10 points. Sophomore Kalib Boone had a team-high 9 rebounds and a game-high 3 blocks.

The win gave the Cowboys a sweep of the season series for the second consecutive season.

The Wildcats have now lost 12 in a row, including 11 in Big 12 play. The 12-game losing streak is the longest in a single season and the second-longest in school history.