Wildcats Fight Hard but Fall to Red Raiders

No. 13/11 Texas Tech broke open a tight contest with a 15-3 run midway through the second half to lift the Red Raiders to a 73-62 win over Kansas State on Saturday afternoon in front of a limited capacity crowd of 1,000 at Bramlage Coliseum.

With the score knotted at 32-all less than 4 minutes into the second half, redshirt freshman Tyreek Smith ignited the pivotal run by Texas Tech (14-5, 6-4 Big 12) with a 3-pointer at the 16:03 mark. After Wildcat freshman Davion Bradford made a free throw to close the gap to 35-33, sophomore Kevin McCullar started a stretch of 9 consecutive points by the Red Raiders with a second consecutive triple to push the lead to 44-33.

Junior Mac McClung, who led all scorers with 23 points, had 4 quick points on a pair of free throws and a fast-break layup before a third 3-pointer during the span, this time, by junior Kyler Edwards capped the 15-3 run and gave Texas Tech a 47-35 lead with just 12 minutes to play.

K-State (5-15, 1-10 Big 12) continued to battle, closing to within 6 on 4 occasions, including 63-57 on freshman Nijel Pack’s fourth 3-pointer of the game with 2:20 to play. However, Tech responded with back-to-back layups from graduate transfer Marcus Santos-Silva and McClung to stay out ahead and win its third in a row.

With the win, the Red Raiders swept the season series for the second consecutive season and won back-to-back games in Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since 2005 and 2007.

McClung, who scored his game-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting, was joined in double figures by McCullar (15) and Edwards (13), while Santos-Silva added 6 points, 6 rebounds and a game-tying 5 assists.

Overall, Texas Tech connected on 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the field, including 50 percent (10-of-20) from the 3-point range. The Red Raiders had 18 assists on 24 made field goals and turned it over just 10 times.

Senior Mike McGuirl and Pack led K-State in scoring for the second straight game with 16 points each, while McGuirl dished out a game-tying 5 assists and 2 steals and Pack grabbed a season-best 7 rebounds. Pack was limited to just 28 minutes due to foul problems, finishing 5-of-7 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. It marked the fourth time that the freshman has knocked down at least 4 treys in a game this season. His 38 3-pointers already tie for the sixth-most by a freshman in school history.

Redshirt sophomore Kaosi Ezeagu also scored in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-6 field goals and 2-of-3 free throws – marking the first time he had double-digit points in a Big 12 game – while fellow sophomore Antonio Gordon grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds to go with 4 points and 2 blocks.

K-State had one of its better shooting performances, connecting on 45.5 percent (20-of-44) from the field, including 45 percent (9-of-20) from 3-point range, but it struggled from the free throw line, making just 13 of 22 attempts (59.1 percent). It was the highest field goal percentage since hitting on 49.1 percent (27-of-55) in the first matchup with Texas Tech on January 5.

K-State played without sophomore starter DaJuan Gordon for the second consecutive game. He is the eighth player to miss at least one game this season. With Gordon out, the Wildcats once again started three true freshmen (Davion BradfordSelton Miguel and Nijel Pack) for the ninth time, including the sixth in Big 12 play.

The Wildcats have now lost 10 in a row, including 9 in Big 12 play.