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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Second half comeback against Texas allows K-State season to stay afloat

Five Wildcats score in double-digits to knock out the Longhorns
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Avery Johnson
All the way from downtown, guard Tylor Perry impresses head coach Jerome Tang as he sinks a deep 3 to reclaim the lead against Texas with 12:34 left in the second half. K-State held the lead over Texas for all but 28 seconds through the rest of the game, besting the Longhorns 78-74 in the second round of the Big 12 tournament.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas State faced a 10-point deficit with its possible last half of basketball of the 2023-24 season. With everything on the line, the Wildcats scratched away a 78-74 victory over Texas to move onto the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.

The first half was a series of runs. A 6-0 Texas opening run was quickly followed by two 7-0 K-State runs as the Wildcats led 16-12. The Longhorns canceled out K-State’s two runs with its own 14-0, taking a 10-point lead.

The Wildcats faced halftime down 39-29 with their NCAA tournament hopes in the balance.

Once again, with their backs against the wall, the Wildcats unleashed a 7-0 to cut the Longhorn lead to three. 

“Just going into the locker room, coach Tang telling us that we got to get back to being us,” guard Tylor Perry said about the mentality entering the second half. “We knew we didn’t want to beat ourselves. And so just getting back to playing gritty, grimy.”

K-State trailed 39-36 as Texas continued to just keep the lead. 

After battling back-and-forth, Perry sent a 3-pointer from way beyond the 3-point line to snag the lead. Texas quickly regained the lead but lost it and never held it again for the final 12 minutes of action.

Throughout the second half, guards Perry and Dai Dai Ames and forwards Arthur Kaluma and David N’Guessan led the way. Perry (12), Ames (10) and Kaluma (12) all scored in double-figures in the half while N’Guessan added seven points. Perry ended the night with 21 points and three 3-pointers.

After committing eight turnovers in the first half, the Wildcats committed just two in the second half. Perry said a big reason for that is he stopped turning over the ball after losing it four times himself in the first half.

Ames, who finished with 10 points — all in the second half — and three assists, committed zero turnovers on the day.

You don’t get that from a freshman too many times,” Perry said about Ames.

Guard Dai Dai Ames drives to the basket against Texas in the second round game of the Big 12 tournament. Ames ended the night with double-digit points: 10 in the second half. (Macey Franko)

K-State’s defense locked down in the second half as well. After allowing 57.1% from the field in the first half, the Longhorn offense was limited to 29% in the second half, finishing at 42.4% total. The Wildcats on the other hand turned a 37.5% mark in the first half into a 47.2% total mark after a 55.2% performance in the second half.

As the game seemed over, Texas clawed back themselves. Guard Max Abmas scored 11 of 26 points, including three 3-pointers in the last 2:14 of gametime. The spurt was not enough as K-State knocked down enough free throws, including two flagrant foul free throws to seal the deal.

“Biggest one is tomorrow,” Perry said.

Five Wildcats ended the night in double digits: Perry (21), Kaluma (14), N’Guessan (13), Ames (10) and guard Cam Carter (10). Boards also paved the way for Wildcat victory, outrebounding Texas 39-32.

The win places K-State in a rematch from senior night against Iowa State at 6 p.m. Thursday. Another win against the top 10 team would place the Wildcats in a favorable position to make the NCAA tournament.

“[I’m going to] just enjoy this with the guys for a few minutes and then we’ll crack in on Iowa State,” head coach Jerome Tang said about preparing for Thursday night.

Head coach Jerome Tang applauds the crowd after defeating Texas 78-74. The victory keeps K-State’s season afloat as the Wildcats prepare for Iowa State in the quarterfinals Thursday. (Macey Franko)
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About the Contributors
Luke Lazarczyk, sports writer
Sports editor for 2023-24. Previously sports editor for 2022-23 and writer for 2021-22.
Avery Johnson, multimedia editor
Multimedia editor for 2023-24. Previously photographer for spring 2023.
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