Kansas State

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Kansas State played two steps ahead on Saturday night, and it didn’t matter.

The No. 6 Longhorns won on the Wildcats’ terms at the Frank Erwin Center, besting a Kansas State team that seemed to make all the necessary adjustments.

Texas 76; Kansas State 54.

The first adjustment came two minutes into the game when junior forward Jatarie White put the Wildcats on notice by scoring the opening four Texas points and snagging two offensive rebounds.

Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie countered, quickly subbing senior forward Kaylee Page out for 6-foot-4-inch freshman center Mary Lakes. The increase in size proved effective as White went silent for the remainder of the quarter, failing to score another point.

The second adjustment came after the Longhorns (20–4, 11–2 Big 12) implemented a full-court press midway through the first — the same press that forced Kansas State into 19 turnovers when the two teams previously faced off on Jan. 7.

This time, the Wildcats kept their cool, repeatedly breaking the press and extending their range for a banquet of open threes. Kansas State made the Longhorns pay, shooting 3-of-4 from deep as Texas ended the first quarter with a hard-earned 23-21 lead.

“We got a little undisciplined,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “We fouled and didn’t always get back in transition, so I thought that allowed (Kansas State) to make a lot of plays.”

The Wildcats intensified the pressure in the second quarter, this time focusing on Texas’ attack in the paint. Kansas State forced the Longhorns to change their bruising style of play, using a 2-3 zone that dared them to shoot from deep instead.

The Longhorns failed to take advantage, shooting an abysmal 1-of-5 from long range as they clung to a 27-25 lead with 7:17 left before halftime.

With Texas’ starting lineup struggling to generate offense, Aston made an adjustment of her own, calling sophomore guard Alecia Sutton off the bench for a spark.

The move paid off as the St. Louis native scored four points, including a buzzer-beating 2-point pull-up before the half that capped off a 12-5 Longhorn run and gave Texas a 39-30 lead.

“I just felt like it brought the energy up after I made that shot,” Sutton said. “We were kind of dead in the first half, so I just wanted to give some energy to the team.”

With the game still up for grabs, Texas found its saving grace in senior Brooke McCarty. The shifty 5-foot-4-inch guard, who’d been contained to just four points in the first half, finally broke free in the third quarter.

McCarty exposed the Wildcats’ defense, igniting a personal 10-0 run as the Longhorns blew open a 60-41 lead with 3:30 left in the third quarter. For the first time all night, Kansas State didn’t have an answer.

Texas rallied around its senior leader as the Longhorns entered the final quarter of play with an imposing 66-44 lead.

“I just fed off my teammates,” McCarty said. “I tried to get them the ball, but when I was open they got me the ball and I just took advantage of what the defense gave me.”

The fourth quarter was merely a formality as Texas put the finishing touches on a 22-point win. McCarty finished the night with a team-high 17 points.

Sophomore forward Joyner Holmes also excelled, after senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau was sidelined by a left wrist injury in the second quarter. Holmes scored 11 points and added seven rebounds. The Cedar Hill native could see more minutes in the future, should Caron-Goudreau miss some time with the injury.

“I think I can contribute in whatever way my team needs,” Holmes said. “It’ll be tough, but I think I can fill her role as best as I can.”

The victory marked Texas’ fifth-straight season with at least 20 wins. The Longhorns have little time for celebration, though, as they now shift their focus to a home game against Texas Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

 

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

Texas suffered a heartbreaker at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday night as Kansas State invaded Austin and escaped with a 67-64 victory. Here are four takeaways from the Longhorns’ rare Big 12 home loss, which dropped the team to 5–6 in the conference:

Longhorns miss last-second shot for tie

With 15 seconds to go, Kansas State point guard Barry Brown’s first free throw on a one-and-one clanked out of the rim, and the Longhorns didn’t take advantage. Freshman point guard Matt Coleman drove to the right baseline, created breathing room and threw a lob to freshman forward Mo Bamba. The Wildcats interrupted the pass and corralled the ball.

Kansas State immediately drew a foul, and Wildcats junior forward Dean Wade hit the first of two free throws. Texas earned an opportunity for a tying three-point buzzer beater with two seconds on the clock after Wade missed the second, but junior guard Kerwin Roach II’s desperation heave couldn’t reach the rim.

Texas dropped its first home game since late December.

Bamba shows off versatility, mobility

As a 6-foot-11 center gifted with a jaw-dropping wingspan, Mo Bamba can easily stand on the low block on both sides of the ball. But rather than just shooting point-blank field goals and clogging the paint defensively, Bamba made his presence felt all around the hardwood on Wednesday night.

He was active in running the floor, contesting shots in transition defense and setting screens in a mobile offense. The freshman was a scoring machine in the first half against the Wildcats, contributing 15 of Texas’ 34 points. He sunk 54.5 percent of his shots, scoring from an array of areas — the paint, midrange and beyond the arc.

Bamba’s development has augmented greatly since the season opener against Northwestern State, as he prepares for the likely transition to the NBA in just a few months.

Kansas State’s Dean Wade plays like D-Wade

The Wildcats’ leading scorer had no problem finding the bottom of the net in Austin. Dean Wade brought the heat for a team-high 16 points in the win, proving lethal from mid-range and drawing obvious comparisons to similarly named NBA star Dwyane Wade.

Dean’s offensive prowess helped the Wildcats climb out of an early seven-point deficit, and he ended up sinking a crucial free throw with 3.2 seconds left to lift Kansas State to a win. On the defensive end, he was responsible for putting the clamps on Texas’ leading scorer. Longhorns junior forward Dylan Osetkowski did not score in the first half, and he finished with just eight points.

Texas struggles to replicate Saturday’s upset win

During Saturday’s home upset over then-No. 12 Oklahoma, Texas overcame a 10-point second-half deficit. The Longhorns played with energy and intensity and managed to play at a high level during big moments late in the game.

In an emptier Erwin Center on Wednesday night, the Longhorns seemed to do the opposite down the stretch. Kansas State trailed by as many as seven points in the game, and Texas’ defense had no answer for the Wildcats’ offense once the second half began.

Offensively, Bamba didn’t score in the second half until just 1:38 remained. Texas as a whole shot an inefficient 41.4 percent compared to Kansas State’s 53.7 percent.

Kansas State — a fringe NCAA Tournament team coming off a 38-point road loss — snapped the Longhorns’ five-game home winning streak, which included three AP top-16 wins.

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

Freshman guard Matt Coleman turned the corner near the baseline with his eyes on the rim.

With Texas trailing by two, the Longhorn point guard had an opportunity to tie or win the game against Kansas State on Wednesday night at the Frank Erwin Center in the final seconds. Coleman saw an opening and lobbed it up to freshman forward Mo Bamba, but the pass proved off the mark. The Wildcats collected the steal as Texas fell, 67-64, in another tight Big 12 game.

“It felt like our spirit wasn’t there all the way,” Coleman said. “We didn’t have enough energy going into the game. That just comes from within. They wanted it more than us.”

The matchup featured two teams trending in opposite directions. Texas (15–9, 5–6 Big 12) sat as close as it has been since 2016 to a top 25 ranking after Saturday’s home upset win over No. 12 Oklahoma. Kansas State, meanwhile, entered on a two-game skid, including a 38-point blowout at the hands of West Virginia.

The game saw another stellar performance from Bamba. The forward scored a game-high 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds in the loss.

“It hurts to lose at home,” Bamba said. “No game in this league is easy, but home games are supposed to be the ones you can lead in spirit compared to who you are going up against. When you drop one at home it hurts a little bit. But we gotta reset for TCU.”

Texas entered Wednesday knowing this was a game it couldn’t afford to lose. In a conference ripe with ranked opponents, a home matchup with a middle-of-the-pack program is a must-win situation for any team eyeing a NCAA Tournament bid.

The Longhorns looked to create separation in the opening minutes. Texas rattled off seven unanswered points to take control early, 14-7.

Texas never pulled ahead by more than seven before Kansas State began its rally.

The Wildcats closed the gap with the help of eight early turnovers from Texas. The Longhorns coughed up the ball on a series of unforced errors which led to 11 quick points at the other end.

Bamba provided a highlight block and staredown to cut into the lead, but the late surge from Kansas State couldn’t be slowed, and the two teams entered the break tied at 34. Texas head coach Shaka Smart was visibly upset and could be seen exchanging words with his starters on the final possession of the half.

“Disappointing to say the least,” Smart said. “It wasn’t like we didn’t practice well or the guys didn’t give effort. But you can kind of see on our faces tonight, we didn’t have the same collective spirit or will to come together and be about one thing.”

Texas came out sluggish in the second half. A quick four unanswered from the Wildcats had Texas playing catch up through the first five minutes.

The Longhorns reclaimed the lead with 14 minutes to play on a long three from junior guard Kerwin Roach II. After leading the charge for the Longhorns in the first half, Bamba was held scoreless through much of the second. In his absence, junior forward Dylan Osetkowski came alive, scoring eight points in the second half to keep the score close down the stretch.

With just under three minutes to play, the lead was a single possession for Kansas State. With one final, furious rally, junior guard Eric Davis Jr. buried a triple, but Coleman committed a crucial foul on the other end. The error gave the Wildcats the ball with 18 seconds left and no shot clock, forcing Texas to start intentional fouling.

Coleman missed his final shot, and Texas fell below .500 in conference play with a tough road rematch against TCU just three days away.

“Well I think one of the things that really good teams do, and winning teams do, is they have a good result and they say we want more,” Smart said. “That was something I really wanted to put front and center in front of these guys coming off of Saturday. But at the end of the day we didn’t display that tonight.”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

When junior guard Lashann Higgs went to the bench with 3:41 left in the first quarter, she took all of Texas’ offense with her.

Early in their 75-64 win over Kansas State at the Bramlage Coliseum on Sunday, the No. 8 Longhorns struggled against the Wildcats’ zone defense. Their threes weren’t falling, they couldn’t find a good look inside and there weren’t many chances in transition.

Texas started the game missing its first seven shots from the field, turning the ball over three times during that stretch. Higgs finally broke the lid on the basket, hitting a midrange jumper with 5:26 on the clock.

Head coach Karen Aston needed Higgs to keep up her hot start for the rest of the game and subbed in sophomore guard Alecia Sutton to give Higgs a breather. At the time, the Longhorns trailed 11-6. Higgs had all six of Texas’ points. She entered back into the game just before the end of the first quarter with the Longhorns still down, 15-12.

The second quarter was more of the same from Texas. Junior transfer center Jatarie White and sophomore forward Joyner Holmes both got into foul trouble, picking up two each by the 8:44 mark. Senior guard Brooke McCarty drained a three off an assist from Higgs at 7:14 to cut Kansas State’s lead to two points, but wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter.

Halfway through the second, Higgs had had enough. She picked off a pass from Wildcat sophomore forward Peyton Williams and cashed in an easy layup on the fast break. Kansas State scored on the next play and Higgs returned the favor by splashing a trey, tying the game, 22-22.

The Longhorns turned the ball over on their next two possessions and Wildcat freshman guard Kayla Goth made a layup to push Kansas State in front. Texas missed its next shot, but senior wing Ariel Atkins stole the ball back and found Higgs in transition to tie the game again.

The Wildcats missed a three on the next play, and McCarty zoomed to the other end and drove into the paint. McCarty’s layup rimmed out, but senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau grabbed the offensive board and found Higgs open on the right wing. Higgs swished the triple to give the Longhorns their first lead of the game, 27-24.

In the second half, Texas cracked the code on Kansas State’s zone. The Longhorns started the third quarter on a 13-4 run fueled by Atkins and White. The Wildcats called timeout with 6:17 remaining and Texas up 47-30. The Longhorns never let the lead dip back below double digits.

Higgs finished the game 26 points, including 16 in the first half. She showed the same prowess on the defensive end, racking up three steals and guarding Goth for most of the game.

Goth leads her team in points, averaging 16.7 per game, and leads the Big 12 with 6.3 assists per game. She finished the day with 17 points and five assists, but also committed two turnovers and shot just 6-of-18 from the floor.

Atkins, White and Caron-Goudreau combined for 31 points, and Caron-Goudreau also earned her first career double-double with 10 rebounds.

The victory puts Texas at 13-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Big 12. The Longhorns face TCU on Wednesday in Fort Worth with tip-off set for 8 p.m.

Over the weekend, the Longhorns were able to avenge last year’s loss to Kansas with a 42-27 victory at home. The Big 12 had four other important conference games in the weekend lineup. Here’s how they turned out:

Oklahoma drops TCU

Oklahoma has been extending its College Football Playoff hopes week after week. The Sooners’ matchup with TCU on Saturday proved to be one of their most important and hard-fought contests of the season. Coming into the game, Oklahoma and TCU both sat atop the Big 12 standings with one loss each, with hopes of becoming the lone Big 12 representative in the playoff picture.

The Sooners quickly grabbed control in this matchup thanks to the performance by Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield. The Sooners’ first-half offensive explosion helped them take an early lead that they would not relinquish. Oklahoma didn’t even score in the second half, but a strong defensive performance made its 38 first-half points enough for a 38-20 victory over the Horned Frogs.

Mayfield continued to build his case for a Heisman trophy with another stellar performance, throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns. The Oklahoma offense also benefited from a strong performance by running back Rodney Anderson, who ended the game with 151 rushing yards, 139 receiving yards and four total touchdowns.

Oklahoma State slides past Iowa State

Oklahoma State and Iowa State were both very much in the race for the Big 12 Championship game coming into their matchup last Saturday. Both teams entered the contest with two conference losses, knowing a third would end their championship hopes.

Iowa State has proved to be a surprise this season, but Oklahoma State did the Cyclones no favors. The game was unexpectedly a shootout. The Cyclones were able to match the firepower of the Cowboys’ offense.

Iowa State’s impressive offensive performance was not enough, however, as quarterback Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys put 49 up on a usually stout Iowa State defense. Oklahoma State came away with a 49-42 victory.

West Virginia sneaks out win

West Virginia and Kansas State have both been formidable opponents in the Big 12 this season.

West Virginia has had quite an up-and-down season this year, but this matchup against Kansas State was a defining one for the Mountaineers. West Virginia leaned heavily on star quarterback Will Grier, as well as standout wide receiver Ka’Ruan White. Grier threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Mountaineers to a 28-23 victory.

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

Texas found itself in unknown territory on Wednesday night in Manhattan, Kansas.

Kansas State (9–15, 2–9) entered its showdown with No. 3 Texas as losers of seven of its last eight matches. The Wildcats hadn’t bested the Longhorns in their past 28 tries, dating all the way back to 2003. 

But Kansas State didn’t back down in front of its home crowd at Ahearn Field House, forcing the Longhorns to rally for a hard-earned 3-2 win.

The Wildcats pounced on the Longhorns in the first set, blindsiding Texas with a quick 16-10 lead. The Longhorns couldn’t recover from the opening blow, and a powerful kill by Kansas State outside hitter Kylee Zumach gave her team the 25-21 win. 

Kansas State piled it on in the second set, this time claiming a 19-12 lead. Sophomore outside hitter Micaya White tried to spark some life into her team, recording five kills in the set. But Kansas State held its ground for a tight 26-24 victory. 

Whether it was a diving one-handed dig or a powerful kill, the Wildcats always seemed to have an answer.

The Longhorns found themselves in survival mode in the third set, something they have been used to seeing this season. Junior outside hitter Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani led the charge, recording five kills as Texas trounced Kansas State, 25-18.

The set win lifted a burden off Texas’ shoulders as the team returned to normalcy, laughing on the sideline and communicating freely on the court. Senior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu broke out in the fourth set, shutting down the Kansas State offense with five blocks as the Longhorns rolled, 25-15.

The Wildcats regained their swagger in the final set, though, determined to finish what they started. Kansas State clung to an 8-5 lead, but the Longhorns had no intentions of falling short in their comeback bid. Freshman outside hitter Lexi Sun posted three key kills in the final set, lifting Texas to the 15-11 victory and avoiding the upset.

White finished with a team-high 17 kills in the win, and freshman setter Ashley Shook recorded a career-high 55 assists. Senior libero Cat McCoy also made history, passing Demetria Sance’s 1998 record for most digs in Texas volleyball history (1,614).

The win keeps Texas perfect in Big 12 conference play (10–0) as it reaches the home stretch of the regular season. Next up for the Longhorns is a home match on Saturday against Texas Tech. First serve is set for 2 p.m. at Gregory Gym.