by Mason Voth • EMAWOnline – Managing Editor – @TheRealMasonV

No. 12 K-State traveled to Lubbock on Saturday looking to keep pace with Baylor, Kansas and Iowa State in the Big 12 standings, just one game back of Texas. Their first half against Texas Tech didn’t give any suggestions that would be the case though.

K-State led 17-12 midway through the half, but after achieving their largest lead Texas Tech went on a 21-9 run to finish the half. A good chunk of which was spurred from more turnovers by Markquis Nowell, who had three in the first half, and also some poor shooting. Nowell and Keyontae Johnson combined for 3/15 shooting in the first half and just seven points.

Texas Tech’s advantage came from getting six more shots off than the Wildcats in the first half, thanks to a +7 turnover margin advantage and getting 17 points off turnovers to K-State’s one. The Red Raiders led 33-26, similar to their halftime lead in Manhattan last month, which was 33-28.

Early in the second half both teams felt each other out and kept the margin similar to the halftime mark. K-State started to move the ball slightly better and was able to get within two possessions twice prior to the ten-minute mark.

After Texas Tech shot back to a six-point edge, capitalizing on K-State turnovers and slow-moving defense, Desi Sills banked in a three to cut the deficit down to just one point. From that point, K-State and Texas Tech engaged in a one-step forward, one-step back game. Tech would extend the lead to two scores before K-State would chisel it down again.

A critical moment of the game came with just over five minutes to play, where K-State left Kevin O’Banor open for three from the corner and he extended the lead back to five for Texas Tech. Cam Carter went to the other end and threw up an airball for the Wildcats.

K-State tried to keep hope alive thanks to a big-time three from Keyontae Johnson to get back within one with 3:57 to play, again flipping the focus on K-State being able to put a good defensive possession together with a clean offensive try.

The Wildcats got a look on their next possession to take the lead, but Johnson’s reverse layup rolled off the rim. Tech raced out and earned free throws on the other end to go back up three, and K-State had another empty trip down the floor thanks to a Sills turnover.

Once more the Wildcats would trim the lead to just one though, after Nowell free throws. K-State wouldn’t get any closer, as Texas Tech was able to finish things off late. K-State had a few chances, but Johnson mishandled a pass on the block and Nae’Qwan Tomlin missed a three that would have tied the game.

The 71-63 loss dropped the Wildcats to 19-6 (7-5) and into a log jam in fourth place in the Big 12 with Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Next up for the Wildcats is a trip to Norman where they will face the team now tied for last place in the Big 12 with Texas Tech, Oklahoma. The Sooners were blown out by Kansas on Saturday and fell to 12-13 (2-10). The game will tip off on Tuesday at 8:00 PM on ESPN+.