Kevin Samuel’s tip-in with two seconds to play lifted TCU to a 59-57 victory over Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night, sending K-State to an 0-2 start in Big 12 conference play.
The Wildcats had trailed for the entire second half until David Sloan’s three-pointer with 13 seconds left tied the game at 57. On the ensuing Horned Frogs possession, R.J. Nembhard missed a driving floater from the left side of the lane, but the 6’10”, 250-pound Samuel rose up for his game-high 15th rebound of the night and tipped the ball in over a Wildcat defender. The Wildcats got a final desperation shot away, but Sloan’s three from midcourt hit the top of the backboard.
K-State started slowly, falling behind 7-0 in the early exchanges. They took their first lead at 13-12 with 11:39 left in the half on a Sloan three, the first of five first-half lead changes. But the visitors would pull ahead with a strong finish, knocking down four three-pointers on a 12-2 run to close the half with a 35-25 advantage. Jaire Grayer’s three beat the buzzer and staked TCU to their largest lead of the half.
The Horned Frogs stretched their lead to as large as eleven points, at 40-29, before K-State clawed back. They went on an 11-1 run over a nearly six-minute stretch to get back within a point, but a Desmond Bane three allowed TCU to keep the Cats at arm’s length. TCU pulled back ahead by seven, 49-42, with seven minutes left, but K-State responded to get within 53-52 with 2:17 left before another Bane three restored a two-possession advantage. In the final minute, a steal and dunk by Cartier Diarra made it 56-54 TCU, and then Nembhard missed the second of two free throws, setting the stage for the frantic final possessions, with Sloan’s tying three followed by Samuel’s winning tip-in.
Xavier Sneed led the Cats in their losing effort with 19 points and six rebounds. Makol Mawien joined him in double figures with 10 points. TCU had four in double figures, with Bane’s 16 leading the way. Nembhard added 15, and Samuel and Grayer had 10 apiece.
K-State held TCU to just 34 percent shooting from the field (20-59) but the Frogs made 10 three-pointers. In contrast, K-State shot 43 percent (21-49) but made just four of their 20 three-point shots. The Wildcats were also outrebounded 41-32 and gave up 15 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points – none bigger than the last two that decided the game.
The Wildcats, now 7-7 overall, are back in action Saturday at Texas.
POSTGAME AUDIO: Bruce Weber, Xavier Sneed, David Sloan