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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

K-State suffers 20-turnover loss to Iowa State, Tang still optimistic about tournament bid

Wildcats outscored 36-18 in final 16 minutes against Cyclones in pivotal bubble game
Avery Johnson
Forward Arthur Kaluma drives to the basket against Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals. In K-State’s 76-57 loss to the Cyclones, Kaluma has 13 points and five rebounds.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas State entered Thursday night fighting for an NCAA tournament berth, in another Farmageddon battle against Iowa State with strong support from each fan base. The moment came and went with 20 committed turnovers as the Wildcats’ tournament hopes took a hard hit in a 76-57 loss in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.

After the game, head coach Jerome Tang spent around three minutes laying out the case for K-State’s NCAA tournament bid. Tang mentioned multiple reasons for the bid including Quad 1 wins, strength of schedule, defeating certain teams at full strength and much more.

“We deserve it because what we did is a body of work, not to be judged on one game and to be judged on this game after what we did last night, I think we get a check for that,” Tang said.

About the game, Tang said that Iowa State forced K-State’s bad play.

“There’s a reason why they’re ranked sixth in the country, and we didn’t play particularly well,” Tang said. “It was because of them. And they made things happen and they were very aggressive. They came ready to play. But I was very proud of our guys because we kept fighting.”

The Wildcats kept the game close early despite foul trouble. As guards Tylor Perry and Dai Dai Ames and center Will McNair Jr. all collected two fouls in the first half, K-State managed to go down just 34-27 at half.

After lackluster first half performances, guard Cam Carter and forward Arthur Kaluma surged into action to start the second half, inching the Wildcats closer. A repeat of the 10-point comeback against Texas seemed very real with K-State down just 40-39.

Then, it all fell down.

Many things factored into the demise for the Wildcats, but nothing more so than turnovers. The Achilles’ heel of the Wildcats. K-State’s 20 turnovers compared poorly to Iowa State’s six as the Cyclones grabbed 23 points off turnovers compared to the Wildcats’ nine. The Wildcats’ 11 second half turnovers came in a swarm, with seven from 15:29-10:59 in the half, a crucial four-and-a-half minutes for K-State’s tournament chances.

Cyclone guard Keshon Gilbert made himself a major proponent for the Wildcats losing the ball, leading the Cyclones with six steals, followed up by forwards Robert Jones and Tre King with three apiece.

From the 40-39 lead, the Cyclones outscored K-State 36-18 in the final 16 minutes of action, despite Iowa State hitting its one 3-pointer of 16 attempts in the first half and none in the second.

K-State’s star Perry held his own in just 12 minutes of first half play, scoring 13 points and knocking down the Wildcats’ only two 3-pointers of the half. His second half went the same direction as the team’s. Perry had five points on five shots as K-State missed his timely heroics — he finished with a game-high 18 points, tied with Jones.

K-State’s fate will be known Sunday, with the selection show starting at 5 p.m. to fill out the 68-team NCAA tournament bracket. Tang said he believes that K-State will make the NCAA tournament.

“Is it going to be nerve-wracking? Yes it is,” Tang said about waiting for Selection Sunday. “I got this crazy faith. … God’s done some amazing things in my life to me and all I want to do is see him — my prayers is that he delivers it for these guys because they deserve a chance to play in the tournament. So, am I gonna be nervous? Yes, I’m gonna be nervous.”

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About the Contributors
Luke Lazarczyk
Luke Lazarczyk, sports writer
Sports editor for 2023-24. Previously sports editor for 2022-23 and writer for 2021-22.
Avery Johnson
Avery Johnson, multimedia editor
Multimedia editor for 2023-24. Previously photographer for spring 2023.
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