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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Men’s basketball concludes season with NIT loss to Iowa Hawkeyes

Will Huster
Guard Dai Dai Ames shoots a fadeaway against Iowa guard Tony Perkins. K-State fell to the Hawkeyes 91-82 in the first round of the NIT. (Photo courtesy of K-State Athletics)

Kansas State men’s basketball suffered a road NIT defeat to end the 2023-24 season, falling to No. 3 seed Iowa 91-82.

K-State struggled scoring in the first half, as Iowa gained the lead early and never let go. Although the Wildcats knocked down more shots (16 to 14), the Hawkeyes dominated from distance, shooting 7-14 on 3s and knocked down 15 first half free throws.

K-State had an electric bench presence in the first half. Freshman forward Macaleab Rich, who saw an uptick in playing time, executed a key play for the Wildcats by scoring a second-chance layup off of a Hawkeye turnover. By the end of the half, Rich racked up seven points and five rebounds.

Forward Macaleab Rich goes right back up for the basket against Iowa. Rich got 13 minutes off the bench, grabbing seven points and five rebounds. (Photo courtesy of K-State Athletics)

Despite K-State’s efforts to close the scoring gap, the Wildcats walked into halftime down 11, 50-39 Hawkeyes.

In the second half, the Wildcats made great efforts to seize a chance at victory and advance in the tournament. K-State managed a 10-point scoring rampage, including a highlight-worthy play from guard Cam Carter.

The Wildcats managed to outscore the Hawkeyes 43-41 in the second and get as close as 52-49 off a 3-pointer from guard Dai Dai Ames — who led K-State with 16 points on four 3s and five assists. Nevertheless, their first half mistakes were too much to overcome.

While Wildcat guard Tylor Perry struggled early and often — scoring eight points on 13 shots — Hawkeye forward Payton Sandfort left his mark on the game. Sandfort finished the night with 30 points, 22 coming in the first half. Forward Ben Krikke followed right behind him, finishing with 24 points after scoring just three in the first half.

Guard Tylor Perry takes his shot against Iowa. Perry recorded eight points and four assists against the Hawkeyes as K-State fell 91-82. (Photo courtesy of K-State Athletics)

Despite the loss, the Wildcats ended with a winning season overall, going 19-15. This included a strong 14-3 home record while the majority of the roster gained experience, including three freshmen.

After the game, head coach Jerome Tang reiterated how proud he was of the team, something he had done throughout the season.

“First of all I want to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ, what an unbelievable season,” Tang said after the Wildcats won their senior day game against Iowa State. “Ups and downs, adversity, triumphs, just you know, ebbs and flows and just so proud of our guys and how they’ve responded every time.”

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