TULSA, Okla. — When Kansas State and Tulsa meet on the basketball court you can count on good defense, bad offense and a close game that comes down to the final possessions.
All three expectations held true on Saturday at Reynolds Center. The Hurricane defeated the Wildcats, 47-46, in grind-it-out fashion. The low-scoring affair wasn’t much different than last year’s game in Wichita, which Tulsa also won. Both teams are scheduled to meet again next year in Manhattan.
Tulsa won this game with a mixture of timely shots and zone defense.
The game ended with two straight missed shots from the Wildcats. Barry Brown initially drove to the left side of the rim and missed a floater, Kamau Stokes got the rebound and was unable to score a put-back attempt.
It was a bizarre conclusion to the game. Brown brought the ball across mid-court with 14.2 seconds remaining and decided to call timeout. That move quickly backfired, because the Hurricane had several fouls to give. Tulsa coach Frank Haith reminded players of that during the timeout, and they thwarted two K-State scoring opportunities with fouls away from the basket.
That drained nearly 10 seconds off the clock, forcing K-State to improvise the next time it inbounded the ball.
K-State (6-2) has now lost back-to-back games after getting off to its best start in more than a decade. Tulsa (7-3) won its second straight game against a Big 12 opponent. It defeated Oklahoma State in its last game.
Tulsa’s Curran Scott led all scorers with 14 points. Xavier Sneed led K-State with 13. He was the only Wildcats player to reach double figures.
K-State coach Bruce Weber will have a lot to shake his head about when he looks back on this game.
For the second straight year, the Wildcats had no answer for a zone defense. They also seemed confused by a soft full-court press that slowed the pace of the game significantly. Tulsa led for nearly the entire first half.
The most exciting action came in the final 12 minutes. Up until that point, the game featured more errors than highlights. That was most evident by the play of K-State star forward Dean Wade. He began the game in foul trouble and was held scoreless until the 11:31 mark of the second half.
This is the second straight game in which Wade has appeared hesitant to shoot. The preseason Big 12 Player of the Year finished with two points.
Brown wasn’t much better. He scored six points on 12 shots.
At times it seemed like Sneed might carry the Wildcats to a victory, particularly when he made a string of 3-pointers in the second half. But it wasn’t to be. K-State didn’t do enough on offense to win. It made 5 of 19 shots from 3-point range and 18 of 59 from the field.
The No. 16 Wildcats will once again drop in the polls next week. They will have much to work on before they take the court again for their next game against Georgia State.