If any program needed a win last night, it was K-State basketball. With two back-to-back losses against Texas and Iowa State, the Wildcats (15-6, 5-3 Big 12) needed a win over Texas Tech (10-11, 2-6 Big 12) to stay relevant in the Big 12, and a 66-58 home win they walked away with Tuesday night.
Despite the win, the night was not typical for K-State which lacked its usual contributions from power-trio, guard Shane Southwell, guard Marcus Foster and forward Thomas Gipson. Regularly averaging double-digits apiece, the Wildcats leading scorers only amassed 13 points and three offensive rebounds, collectively.
Foster, Gipson and Southwell’s lack of assistance seemed to make way for guard Will Spradling and forwards Nino Williams and Wesley Iwundu to step up to the court. Spradling had a season-high and game-high 17 points, four assists and a steal;Williams had 13 points, two steals and an assist; and Iwundu had 11 points and an assist.
K-State’s bench were the stars of the night with 25 points, marking the ninth time the bench has accounted for 20 points or more this season.
Outscoring Texas Tech from the field in both halves and shooting 15-20 in second half free throws gave K-State the edge they needed to maintain their lead throughout most of the competition. K-State’s defense looked spot on once again, holding Texas Tech to a season-low 33.9 percent field shooting. There were only four score ties and two lead changes in the entire game. K-State has held 11 opponents to 60 points or less this season.
The Wildcats defense dominated in the first half, holding the Red Raiders lead scorer, Jaye Crockett to only three points. Crockett ended with 15 points, two steals and seven rebounds. Guard Dusty Hannahs also contributed 14 points and one assist.
Up next for the Wildcats is a trip to Morgantown, W.Va. where they’ll challenge the West Virginia Mountaineers (12-9, 4-4 in Big 12) on Saturday. Even if K-State’s bench has to compensate for missing action from the power-trio again, this matchup should be in the bag. The Wildcats provided a 78-56 beat down to West Virginia earlier in the season and should be able to do it again at the end of the week.
In their first meeting on Jan. 18, the Wildcats had their way with the Mountaineers, winning 78-56.