Wildcats hit Texas with tidal-wave win

2/9/2014

By ARNE GREEN

By ARNE GREEN

Special to The Telegram

MANHATTAN — The Texas Longhorns came into Bramlage Coliseum on fire but soon found themselves face-to-face with a tidal wave.

Kansas State, well rested and energized by its home crowd - not to mention a career-high 34 points from freshman guard Marcus Foster - quickly doused the No. 15-ranked Longhorns' flame Saturday afternoon on the way to a dominating 74-57 victory.

"It was obviously a special day - we were in the zone," said K-State coach Bruce Weber, whose Wildcats had dropped three of their previous four games but took advantage of a week-long layoff to throttle Texas from the start. "It's shooting, but it's really the energy, the excitement and the passion."

After Jonathan Holmes knocked down a jumper to start the game for Texas, K-State reeled off 12 straight points and never looked back. Foster scored the first eight on a pair of 3-pointers and alley-oop dunk from Wesley Iwundu, then assisted on D.J. Johnson's layup before finishing the run with a fast break.

"I think they beat us every way you can get beat," said Texas coach Rick Barnes, whose Longhorns saw their seven-game winning streak snapped. "I thought from the very beginning, whether you want to talk loose balls or turning it over the way we did, you're not going to win turning the ball over 18 times.

"They played harder, played with more energy, were more physical. Anything you ask what category, I'd tell you they beat us in that category."

With the victory, K-State improved to 16-7 overall and 6-4 in the Big 12, but more importantly regained some momentum with league leader Kansas coming to town Monday night for the second edition of the Sunflower Showdown.

"It's a big step," said K-State forward Thomas Gipson, who struggled offensively against Texas' big front line with just three points, but grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. "It shows that we can compete whenever we play with enthusiasm and energy if our defense is great.

"I'm pretty sure we can play with anybody in the country if we play the way we did today."

It was an all-around performance for the Wildcats, who led 18-4 less than eight minutes into the game following back-to-back Will Spradling 3-pointers. They shot 52.8 percent from the field, hit half of their 16 3-point attempts while limiting Texas to 32.7 percent overall with 18 turnovers.

Foster was the catalyst, scoring 17 points in each period as K-State built a 39-18 halftime advantage. He scored from everywhere, going 13 for 16 from the floor, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

No Longhorn had more than three points before intermission, though Taylor heated up in the second period to finish with 17.

Foster was the lone double-figure scorer for K-State, but the Wildcats spread out the rest of their offense with Spradling scoring nine points and Iwundu, Nino Williams and D.J. Johnson adding eight each. Iwundu also had a career-high eight assists.

With the exception of Taylor, who hurt them in transition and by attacking the basket in the second half, K-State held all of Texas' scorers in check.

Holmes, who averaged a team-high 13.7 points with 7.7 rebounds, was limited to a basket and one board in nine minutes with what Barnes said was a knee problem.

Guard Javan Felix (12 ppg) and big man Cameron Ridley (11.1 points, 8 rebounds) combined for just 12 points. The Longhorns did outrebound K-State, 35-29, with Ridley grabbing seven, but built the advantage later with the game already out of hand.

Gipson said not having a midweek game was just what the doctored ordered for the Wildcats.

"I think that week off was pretty good for us, to get back to our principles and watch a lot of film and do what we need to do to go out and play hard," he said. "We all played with great enthusiasm and energy."

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