Coming off its first two-game losing streak this season, No. 7 Kansas State will face No. 15 TCU in Manhattan, Kan., on Tuesday night, with both teams trying to stay within shouting distance of the top of the Big 12 Conference.
TCU (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) and Kansas State (18-5, 6-4) are part of a four-team logjam in third place, two games behind No. 10 Texas and a game behind 13th-ranked Iowa State. Both teams will be looking to rebound from tough losses.
TCU fell at Oklahoma State Saturday. The Horned Frogs were able to erase a 19-point, second-half deficit and even take a late lead before falling 79-73. The Frogs led 65-63 before Oklahoma State reeled off nine straight points to seal the victory.
“We fought back and got the lead,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said after the game. “I’m proud of how we did it. We just couldn’t execute it — both offensively and defensively — down the stretch. It’s certainly disappointing for us.
“We were in position to win the game; we just didn’t get it done.”
The Horned Frogs are without Mike Miles Jr., who leads them in scoring at 18.1 points per game. Emanuel Miller (13.2 ppg) and Damion Baugh (12.8) also own scoring averages in double figures. Eddie Lampkin Jr., who had 17 points in the first game against K-State, is averaging 7.4 points and a team-leading 6.5 rebounds per game.
Miles hyperextended his right knee a week ago. Although his return is undetermined, Dixon said Miles didn’t suffer an ACL or MCL injury.
“I don’t anticipate him being out as long as others have been,” Dixon said last week.
Dixon could use Miles in the lineup against the Wildcats, who depend heavily on the talents of point guard Markquis Nowell.
In the first game between the two teams on Jan. 14 in Fort Worth, Texas, TCU forced 20 Kansas State turnovers leading to an 82-68 victory. Miles had his first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 assists. Nowell had six turnovers, the same number he had against Texas Saturday night.
“There were times in the second half that we did get rushed, which led to turnovers and fastbreak points for them,” Nowell said after the Texas loss. “Tonight, I wasn’t really good. I turned the ball over too much. I’ve just got to watch film and find ways to be aggressive without hurting my team. Tonight I was over-dribbling, trying to make the home-run play. That cost our team.”
The Wildcats led the Longhorns by 14 points just before the break but gave up the lead midway through the second half after Texas opened the period on a 14-4 run.
The Wildcats last held the lead with just over a minute left, but couldn’t hang on. It left head coach Jerome Tang uncharacteristically down after the game.
“We get to work,” he said when asked how his team would have to respond to defeat TCU. “We meet (Sunday) and have practice on Monday.
“I hope that (the players) are as (ticked) off as I am right now about what just happened. If they’re not, they’re going to figure it out.”
–Field Level Media