No. 13 Kansas State will look to remain at least in a tie atop the Big 12 when it hosts conference cellar dweller Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon in Manhattan, Kan.
The Wildcats (16-2, 5-1) moved into a first-place tie with No. 2 Kansas and No. 12 Iowa State after an 83-82 overtime win at home against the rival Jayhawks on Tuesday.
Texas Tech (10-8, 0-6) dropped its sixth straight game with an 81-74 home loss against No. 21 Baylor on Tuesday.
Kansas State beat the Jayhawks for the first time in eight meetings after Keyontae Johnson threw down an alley-oop dunk with 25 seconds left. The Wildcats forced a turnover in the final seconds to secure the win.
Johnson and Desi Sills scored 24 points apiece, while Nae’Qwan Tomlin added 15. Markquis Nowell was held to a season-low four points, however he had seven assists — including the one on Johnson’s game-winning slam.
“This isn’t about who we just beat. This is about winning,” Kansas State first-year coach Jerome Tang said over the public address system to the fans, many of whom had stormed the court.
“Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish when you do it out of a moment of love and care and passion. I told y’all, we’d get you one court storming. From here on out, expect to win.”
The Wildcats, who have won 10 of their past 11 games, have already won two more games than they did all of last season.
Johnson averages a team-high 18.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while Nowell averages a club-best 8.4 assists and 2.3 steals in addition to 16.4 points per game. Tomlin averages 11.1 points and 1.2 blocks, with Sills chipping in 9.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
While the Wildcats are off to their best start since beginning the 2009-10 season with the same record, Texas Tech is still searching for its first conference win after finishing in third last year with a 12-6 mark in conference play.
Baylor used an 11-1 run midway through the first half to take a 33-23 advantage before leading by as many as 16 in the second half.
Jaylon Tyson, who averages 10.0 points per game, had a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds versus the Bears. Pop Isaacs, who averages 12.1 points per game, added 14 in the loss.
Fardaws Aimaq added 12 points and nine rebounds. Kerwin Walton chipped in 12 points and Kevin Obanor, who averages a team-high 15.1 points per game, was held to 10 against the Bears.
“When you go through these losses it wears on you,” Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. “What’s important is that our guys keep their heads up and stay positive. … We challenge these guys to just not give up on themselves or each other and just keep fighting. We’re going to do that.”
While Kansas State and Texas Tech split their pair of meetings last season with each team winning on its home floor, the Red Raiders have defeated the Wildcats in five of the past six meetings.
–Field Level Media