(TNS) — Kansas State never quite cooled off Thursday.
The Wildcats, who shot 34 of 59 from the field — good for a scorching 58 percent — relied on the 3-pointer all night against Arizona State. They hit 15 of them.
The problem for K-State was that the Sun Devils did not cool off from the free throw line, where they converted on 29 of 44 attempts. That helped Arizona State escape with a 92-90 win in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, handing K-State its first defeat of the season.
The game came down to the wire.
Trailing 77-69 with approximately eight minutes remaining, K-State junior Kamau Stokes responded with a pair of 3-pointers, both sandwiched around a fast-break layup from junior Barry Brown Jr., who tallied a career-high 27 points.
Minutes later, Brown canned a triple to trim Arizona State’s lead to one. Brown later converted on a pair of free throws, but on the next possession, Sun Devil forward De’Quon Lake snared an offensive rebound and finished through contact. The resulting free throw gave Arizona State a 90-84 lead with just over a minute to play.
Brown used an and-1 at the 32-second mark to bring K-State within 91-90, and after an Arizona State turnover, the Wildcats had a chance to win. Stokes’ long jumper rimmed out. Sun Devil guard Remy Martin then hit 1 of 2 free throws, pushing his team’s lead to 92-90 with five seconds left. Brown had an opportunity to tie or win the game, but his running layup attempt missed.
K-State (4-1) will finish its stint in Las Vegas at 7 p.m. Friday, as it faces George Washington in the consolation game.
The Wildcats were plagued by foul trouble in the second half. Sophomore forward Makol Mawien and sophomore guard Xavier Sneed both fouled out. Forward Dean Wade, who had five points, was saddled with four fouls for the last nine minutes. Even Brown was called for four fouls.
K-State had trouble all game corralling Arizona State’s Kodi Justice, who poured in 28 points and made all of his four 3-point tries. Justice’s offensive rebound and and-1 gave his team the 77-69 lead.
The Sun Devils (5-0), eclipsing the 90-point barrier for the fifth time in as many games, found ways to combat the Wildcats' hot shooting. They out-rebounded the Wildcats 29-27, including a 15-11 advantage in offensive rebounds. Several came in the final minutes.
Arizona State got double-digit scoring outings, also, from Romello White (19), Shannon Evans (14), Tra Holder and Lake (11 apiece).
Aside from Stokes and Brown, K-State was led in scoring by Sneed, who scored 12 points before fouling out at the 1:15 mark. Junior transfer Amaad Wainright added nine points.
The scoring arrived in bunches in the first half, and it seldom slowed. The teams traded three triples apiece — Arizona State hit five 3-pointers in the first half, while K-State canned eight — to open the game before either squad was able to generate separation.
It first came from the Sun Devils, who got two pairs of free throws to secure a four-point lead. It did not last.
The Wildcats responded with a basket from Sneed, who tallied 12 points in the first half alone. His contributions helped his team shoot a sizzling 65 percent in the first stanza.
K-State would have been able to pull away if not for similarly hot shooting from Arizona State. The Sun Devils, who shot 48 percent in the first period, got 11 points from Holder. Justice chipped in nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.