An 18-6 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half helped ignite an explosive Texas A&M offense, as the Aggies connected on 58.3 percent after halftime in ending Kansas State’s 5-game winning streak with a 65-53 win in the sixth annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday afternoon at Reed Arena.
K-State (15-5, 5-2 Big 12) falls to 3-3 all-time in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, including 0-3 in road contests.
Texas A&M (8-10, 1-5 SEC) erupted for 39 points in the second half on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) shooting, including 50 percent (5-of-10) from 3-point range. The Aggies were led by junior Wendell Mitchell, who scored all of his game-high 22 points in the second half on 7-of-9 field goals, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
The stingy K-State defense was blitzed for 51 percent shooting (25-of-49) for game, including 40 percent (8-of-20) from 3-point range. It marked just the second time this season that the Wildcats have allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the field and first since Marquette connected on an opponent-high 56.8 percent (25-of-44) on December 1.
K-State’s struggles weren’t just on the defensive end, as the Wildcats connected on just 32.8 percent (20-of-61) from the field, including 22.6 percent (7-of-31) from 3-point range. The team led 30-26 at the break behind 44.4 percent shooting (12-of-27), but were held to just 23 points on 23.5 percent (8-of-34) in the second half.
Senior Dean Wade led three Wildcats in double figures with 17 points on 7-of-15 field goals, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, to go with a game-tying 7 rebounds, while sophomore Cartier Diarra and senior Barry Brown, Jr., added 14 and 11 points, respectively. Diarra had a solid all-around effort with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a career-tying 3 steals. SeniorKamau Stokes dished out a game-high 6 assists.
Joining Mitchell in double figures were sophomores T.J. Starks (12) and Savion Flagg (11), while Flagg grabbed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds, all on the defensive end.
Although K-State leads the all-time series, 18-9, the Wildcats are now just 3-8 all-time in College Station