K-State gets Stokes back but drops game

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Sports -

Kansas State got one of its in­jured play­mak­ers back Satur­day but still strug­gled on of­fense in a 63-57 loss at No. 11 Texas Tech.

Play­ing again with­out Big 12 pre­sea­son player of the year Dean Wade, the Wild­cats fell into a huge hole early by missing their first 13 shots from the floor. Point guard Ka­mau Stokes re­turned, but scored seven points in 21 min­utes, still lim­ited by an in­jury.

To avoid start­ing 0-3 in con­fer­ence play for the first time since 2015-16, K-State needs more scor­ers to emerge.

Barry Brown led the Wild­cats with 16 points and Cartier Diarra added 11 on a day when they hit just 33 per­cent (19 of 57) from the field.

“We have to play smarter,” K-State coach Bruce We­ber said af­ter the game. “It’s one thing to play hard, it’s an­other thing to play smart.”

Kansas State (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) erased most of a 34-19 half­time deficit when Brown knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:55 to go that pulled the Wild­cats to within 43-42.

But Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0) found some of­fen­sive rhythm to pull away, de­spite some strug­gles at the free-throw line in the sec­ond half (15 of 23).

Da­vide Moretti, who fin­ished with 19 points, hit a se­ries of big shots in the sec­ond half to ac­count for 10 straight points and help the Red Raiders over­come 13 turnovers in the half.

He an­swered Brown’s long-range shot with a 3-pointer 16 sec­onds later to trig­ger a 7-0 run. Texas Tech’s Jar­rett Cul­ver, who strug­gled against the Kansas State de­fense, gave his team a 53-43 lead with 2:21 to go when he hit three free throws.

Kansas State’s first bas­ket came when Diarra got loose on a runout and hit a driv­ing layup at the 9:12 mark. That bas­ket trig­gered a brief Wild­cats surge – seven points in

1:18 – as they clawed back to within 17-10.

Texas Tech hit a lull about that same time, missing seven field goals in a row af­ter De­Shaun Co­prew buried a 3-pointer at the 12:02 mark.

Moretti helped the Red Raiders get back on track when he hit a three, Cul­ver made his only field goal of the first half on an of­fen­sive re­bound and those shots helped Tech close the half on a 17-9 run.

The Wild­cats head back home to take on West Vir­ginia on Wed­nes­day.

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