Facing an 11-point deficit midway through the second quarter and a seven-point margin in the fourth quarter, Kansas State came all the way back to win, 55-54, at North Texas on Sunday afternoon. This is the third time in four seasons under head coach Jeff Mittie that K-State has started a season with a 4-o record. That’s according to a release from K-State.
K-State had three players reach double figures, led by freshman guard Rachel Ranke with 14 points, four rebounds and three steals. Junior guard Kayla Goth recorded 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals, while senior forward Kaylee Page carded 11 points including seven in the fourth quarter.
North Texas (2-1) was led by Terriell Bradley with 15 points and Trena Mims with 11 points and four assists.
After a Goth layup to start the fourth quarter, North Texas responded with two quick 3-pointers for a 45-38 lead with 8:32 to play and force a K-State timeout. The Wildcats answered back with four points to pull within three, 45-42, as Ranke knocked down a 3-pointer in transition with 7:29 left.
North Texas was able to connect on a putback and a jumper to increase its lead to seven, 49-42, with just over six minutes left. Goth jump started a 12-3 run with a transition layup. Page followed with seven straight points over a two-minute span to bring K-State within one, 52-51, with 2:17 left.
After a defensive stop that lasted nearly a minute, K-State raced down the floor following a defensive rebound by Page. Shaelyn Martin would find Ranke open in front of the K-State bench, who pulled the trigger and buried a 3-pointer to give K-State a 54-52 lead.
The Mean Green tied the game at 54 on an awkward jumper from Bradley with 28 seconds to play.
K-State set up its offense in the half court and Goth started her drive to the basket, but North Texas committed a foul on Goth, sending her to the line. Goth made one of the two free throws with 13 seconds remaining.
Following a North Texas timeout, the Mean Green were only able to attempt one shot that fell well short and give the Wildcats the road win.
In the first quarter, North Texas registered a 14-11 lead, as K-State shot just 33 percent from the field with five turnovers. The Wildcats buried to straight three-pointers to begin the game, but were held scoreless for almost four minutes while the Mean Green took the lead.
The Mean Green would build an 11-point advantage, 26-15, with 5:45 remaining in the second quarter. Page started a 13-2 run with a three-point play to bring K-State into a 28-28 tie with 1:35 to play in the first half.
Following Page’s three-point play, Ranke buried her second 3-pointer of the first half. After another defensive stop, Peyton Williams finished a putback through a foul on an offensive rebound and made her free throw to bring K-State to within two, 26-24. Williams registered nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Mean Green’s Terriell Bradley made a layup with under a minute to play in the first half to send North Texas to the locker room with a 30-28 lead. This was the first halftime deficit of the season for K-State.
K-State took its first lead since late in the first quarter with 7:03 to play in the third quarter, as Goth scored four straight points to give K-State a 34-33 lead. The Wildcats would go almost six minutes without points and ended the quarter shooting 2-of-15 from the field. North Texas would lead only 39-36 entering the fourth.
Kansas State shot 36.0 percent (18-of-50) from the field on Sunday afternoon, but registered a 60.0 percent effort in the fourth quarter. North Texas carded a 41.8 percent effort (23-of-55), but were forced into 15 turnovers to K-State’s 12. The Wildcats registered an 11-4 edge in points off turnovers and a 9-0 advantage in fast break points.
Kansas State will travel to Las Vegas to participate in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout on November 24 and 25. The Wildcats will face (8/7) UCLA on Friday at 3:15 p.m. (CT), and Penn State on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. Both games can be heard on the K-State Sports Network.