Sluggish Cats Get by Feisty TCU

K-State's D.J. Johnson shoots a free throw during the second half of Wednesday night's game against TCU at Bramlage Coliseum. (Photo by Erik Stone)

K-State’s D.J. Johnson shoots a free throw during the second half of Wednesday night’s game against TCU at Bramlage Coliseum. (Photo by Erik Stone)

After two straight overtime games in highly emotional environments and with the most recent game a disheartening double-overtime loss at Baylor, one might think that Kansas State’s game with TCU on Wednesday night would be a cakewalk, a time to take out frustrations and get back on track against a team that was winless in conference play and has just two victories overall since joining the conference last season.

However, after a quick start, K-State found itself struggling against a Horned Frog squad that refused to roll over and it wasn’t until the game’s final 12 minutes that the Wildcats finally found some rhythm and pulled away for a 65-53 win at Bramlage Coliseum.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 13-4 advantage powered by a combined nine points from Marcus Foster and Thomas Gipson. However, after that K-State went into a cold spell that saw them score just one point in the next six and a half minutes and the struggles continued for the rest of the half with TCU briefly taking their only lead of the contest before the Wildcats went into the halftime locker room with a 27-26 edge.

For the first seven minutes of the second half, Kansas State was unable to shake TCU with the Frogs tying the game at 42-42 on a layup by Karviar Shepherd. A three-point basket by Will Spradling 48 seconds later gave the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish again and allowed them to close the game on a 23-11 run even though play remained sloppy and inconsistent at times.

Despite committing 18 turnovers, 13 of them in the first half, K-State was able to out-rebound TCU by a 47-24 margin and second shots were rare for the Frogs who dropped to 0-13 in league play as they had just six offensive boards. Gipson led K-State with 16 points, Foster had 13, Nino Williams scored 11 points and Spradling added 10. Kyan Anderson continued to take a liking to Bramlage with another productive game in Manhattan for the second year in a row as he led all scorers with 23 points, Shepherd was the only other Frog in double figures with 12 points.

Kansas State (18-8, 8-5) won its 14th straight game in Bramlage Coliseum tying a record as the Cats improved to 4-0 against TCU since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12. The Wildcats will be on the road for the next two games starting on Saturday with a critical tilt at Oklahoma. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.

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Erik Stone

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