MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – It’s not very often a coach wins a conference game by 19 points and begins his postgame radio show by apologizing to the fans “for a lack of focus and enthusiasm.”
That was the case Tuesday night for Kansas State coach Frank Martin, whose Wildcats defeated Texas Tech 65-46 to keep the Red Raiders winless in Big 12 play. The teams combined for 26 field goals, the lowest total in Bramlage Coliseum’s 24-season history.
“After warmups, my assistants came in and warned me this might not be a very fun night,” Martin said. “We had no emotion.”
That’s how it played out, even for Kansas State (17-6, 6-5). Pushed by Shane Southwell’s 13 points and 10 each from Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling, the Wildcats led by 14 at the break and 25 midway through the second half.
But Texas Tech (7-16, 0-11), despite two droughts of more than eight minutes without a basket, was within 10 points in the game’s final three minutes.
“It’s frustrating,” Southwell said. “We know we can play better.”
Luke Adams, a 5-foot-9 freshman who did not play in Texas Tech’s first seven games, led all scorers with 15.
Kansas State made only six shots in the first half, four of them 3-pointers.
“We got real stagnant,” Southwell said.
Texas Tech went 8 minutes, 24 seconds between field goals, a stretch that lasted until Adams’ backdoor layup with 3:48 remaining in the half. The basket made the score 20-13 in Kansas State’s favor.
Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie said his team’s offense was often halted before it even got started.
“We weren’t able to get around their guards,” he said.
The Wildcats ended the half on an 8-2 run to lead 31-17 at halftime despite shooting 6 of 26 (23.1 percent) from the floor. And it got worse for Texas Tech in the second half.
The Wildcats pushed the lead to 42-20 on McGruder’s 3-pointer with 14:15 to play. The Red Raiders did not make a second-half basket until Jaye Crockett sank a baseline jumper with 10:11 remaining.
Gillispie said Tech’s 22 turnovers were to blame.
“Just had too many,” he said. “No matter the situation, we just kept turning the ball over.”
Texas Tech did not make a 3-point shot until Adams hit one with 7:40 left in the game. The Red Raiders soon hit three more 3-pointers, two of them by Adams, to cap an 18-3 run that made it 50-40 Kansas State with 2:53 remaining.
Martin was forced to put McGruder, nursing a toe injury, back in the game.
“I didn’t want to do it,” Martin said. “But the frustrating part, as a coach, was the guy who didn’t practice the last two days had the most enthusiasm.”
Kansas State regrouped and pulled away, helped by it going 30 of 40 at the free-throw line.
Texas Tech tied its season low for points, matching an 81-46 loss against Kansas on Jan. 11. In three losses this season to teams from Kansas, Texas Tech has scored 46, 47 and 46 points.
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