Texas Tech smothers K-State to grab outright Big 12 lead

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Kansas State guard Barry Brown, left, gets past Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

On a simply wild Saturday in the Big 12, it seems only one of the season’s consistent themes made an appearance.

Texas Tech plays some serious defense.

The 7th-ranked Red Raiders smothered Kansas State’s offense for much of the night Saturday in a 66-47 victory that gave TTU a one-game lead in the league standings.

“They’re one of the top defensive teams in the country,” Bruce Weber said. “They guard differently than a lot of teams. We tried some different schemes, but we just missed shots.”

K-State shot 28.9 percent, including just 26.3 in the second half. The Wildcats’ first basket after halftime came at the 14:30 mark.

A blizzard would have felt warmer.

Dean Wade turned in K-State’s best offensive performance, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Xavier Sneed added nine points. No one else had anything resembling a good outing.

“I thought in the first half, we had some things going,” Weber said. “We had a lot of looks that we didn’t make. Then we started pressing a little bit and turning the ball over.”

The Wildcats opened the game on a 7-0 run and led 11-5 at the first media timeout. Every basket was a struggle after that.

K-State was able to break its slump, at least a little, mid way through the second half. For the first time all night, three straight shots found the net. But TTU answered with a basket of its own after each one of them.

By the 8:00 mark, Tech led by 14.

Keenan Evans led TTU in scoring with 19 points. The rest of Saturday’s results in the Big 12, including a Kansas loss at Baylor, means the Red Raiders have a one-game lead on the rest of the conference with six games remaining.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, fell into a tie for fourth with a road trip to Oklahoma State next on the schedule.

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Tyler Dreiling

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