A limited Kansas State team gave No. 12/12 Texas Tech everything it could have and more before falling 73-68 in the final seconds before a sold-out crowd of 15,098 fans at United Supermarkets Arena.
With the win, the Red Raiders (23-7, 12-5 Big 12) finished their home schedule with a perfect 18-0 record, winning all but two of those by double figures. However, it was the Wildcats who gave them their toughest test of the season, as the 5-point loss was the closest in their 18 home victories.
K-State (14-15, 6-11 Big 12), which played without its second-leading scorer Markquis Nowell, who also leads the Wildcats in both assists and steals, battled back from an 8-point halftime deficit to take numerous leads in the second half, including 68-67 after a pair of free throws by sophomore Selton Miguel with 1:25 to play.
However, the experienced-laden Texas Tech squad made key plays in the final stretch, starting with a big jumper from senior Davion Warren on the next possession that gave the Red Raiders the lead for good at 69-68 with 1:05 remaining. They were able to finish it off with a pair of defensive stops and two free throws from senior Adonis Arms and Warren in the final 47 seconds to complete the victory.
Warren finished the night with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-11 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and provided a formidable scoring duo with fellow senior transfer Bryson Williams, who scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Arms added 10 points and a game-high 6 assists.
Another close game continued a heartbreaking stretch for the Wildcats, which dropped to 3-8 in games decided by 5 points or less, including 3-7 in Big 12 play. The team has led or been tied in the second half of 7 of their 11 conference losses.
Four Wildcats scored in double figures led by an impressive night from fifth-year senior Mike McGuirl, who turned in a season-high 18 points on 7-of-15 field goals, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range, while playing all 40 minutes. Sophomore Selton Miguel, who earned his first start in more than a month in place of Nowell, scored 14 points on 4-of-9 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws, while fellow sophomore Nijel Pack and fifth-year senior Mark Smith added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
K-State dropped its fourth straight game to fall below .500 for the first time this season. The Wildcats will need a win in Saturday’s home game against Oklahoma (15-14, 5-11 Big 12) to secure a bye at next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.