K-State entered Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday night as one of 18 remaining unbeatens in college basketball. After 40 minutes of action, the Butler Bulldogs helped drop the Wildcats from the exclusive list.
The Wildcats hung tough for the first few minutes, getting a boost from Keyontae Johnson who hit a three to start the game on a nice pass from Markquis Nowell. That was the most flow Jerome Tang’s squad had in the first half though.
Butler faced little resistance from the K-State defense, shooting 50% from the field in the first half of action, and leaving shooters open from three where the Bulldogs knocked down four critical triples to create a 12-point edge at the halftime break.
Johnson led the way for K-State with 14 on 6/6 shooting in the first half, meanwhile, the rest of his teammates were 5/22 from the field.
Another early game ailment for the Wildcats was their turnovers, which sat at nine, while Butler had just five.
Both teams got out to quick starts on offense in the second half, with K-State winning the first four minutes and change by three, as Nowell delivered six points in that stretch. Desi Sills also provided an offensive spark in that stretch, with two nice takes to the bucket.
The first real signs of life for the Wildcats came with just over 14 minutes to play in the second half, as they trimmed the Butler lead to 48-43. The turning point out of the break may have been when Ish Massoud went up for a layup but missed with some contact from a Butler defender. The Bulldogs ran the floor and drew a foul on Cam Carter on the other end and extended the lead back to nine.
The Wildcats had one last push in them, as they cut the Butler lead to inside 10 points one more time with just over four minutes to play in the game.
Despite the strong performances from Johnson and Sills, who dropped 20 and 17 respectively, the Wildcats were not able to get the score back in their favor and ultimately dropped their first game by a score of 76-64. K-State has still not won a game in the history of the Big East/Big 12 Battle, losing to Marquette in 2019 and 2021.
Butler was paced in scoring by Manny Bates’ 22 points.