K-State, Texas intersect in Big 12 fight

Coming off a two-point loss at Oklahoma in their Big 12 opener on Saturday, the Kansas State Wildcats will try to get back on the winning track with the conference home opener against No. 17 Texas on Tuesday night in Manhattan, Kan.

The game was rescheduled to 6 p.m. (CT) so fans could watch the football team in the Texas Bowl against LSU.

K-State (8-4, 0-1 Big 12) overcame a 15-point deficit and tied the game late against the Sooners, but fell 71-69.

Mark Smith had career highs with 25 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. He became the first Wildcat with at least 25 points and 15 boards in a game since Michael Beasley in 2008. But it was not enough.

“Credit to our guys, they battled back,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “Mark (Smith) was, what can you say, spectacular. I don’t know if I’ve ever had somebody get whatever it was, 26 (sic) and 16 and five assists and no turnovers.”

After the Wildcats tied the score at 65-all with 1:03 left on a 3-pointer by Ish Massoud. But Elijah Harkless hit a traditional three-point play that gave the Sooners the lead for good on Oklahoma’s next possession. The Cats missed a chance to tie it again when Nijel Pack’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim.

Pack scored 15 of his 17 points after intermission.

Texas (11-2, 1-0 Big 12) opened its Big 12 campaign with a 74-59 victory over West Virginia Saturday. Marcus Carr scored a season-high 20 points, converting 7-of-11 field goals, including 2-of-5 3-pointers, and 4-of-5 free throws. He was joined in double figures by Courtney Ramey with 15 points and Andrew Jones with 14 points.

West Virginia played without leading scorer Taz Sherman and best defensive player, Gabe Osabouhien, among the three West Virginia players out due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Longhorns don’t have a dominant scorer, but they have six players averaging between 8.2 and 11.6 points per game. The balanced scoring has pleased head coach Chris Beard, but he knows the bottom of the Big 12 has quality, including Kansas State.

“We’re about to play 19 NCAA Tournament games coming up,” Beard said prior to the West Virginia game. “We’re in the best league in basketball. So, we’ll see. But I don’t spend a lot of time really thinking about that.”

–Field Level Media