LUBBOCK (AP) - Chris Walker was looking on the bright side after Texas Tech fell 68-59 to No. 13 Kansas State on Tuesday night.
The Red Raiders had a season-low four turnovers.
“One thing we did a great job of was not turning the ball over,” the interim coach said. “We had two 20-turnover games consecutively and that’s all we harped on. Four turnovers tonight, I couldn’t be any prouder of my guys, they did a really good job against one of the best teams in the country of taking care of the ball.”
His players have been hearing the turnover refrain repeatedly, but it was rebounds that did in the Red Raiders against the Wildcats, who had nearly twice as many as Texas Tech.
“That was the No. 13 team in the nation,” said Jordan Tolbert, who led the Red Raiders with 19 points. “I think they were just more hungry than us. I think they wanted it more than us tonight.”
Rodney McGruder had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Wildcats, who extended their winning streak to three games.
Angel Rodriguez added 13 points and Thomas Gibson had 12 for the Wildcats (18-4, 7-2 Big 12).
McGruder was 6 of 11 from the field, while Rodriguez was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and was flawless in four free-throw attempts.
Dejan Kravic added 12 for Texas Tech (9-11, 2-7).
Kansas State finished with 38 rebounds, 23 defensive, while Texas Tech had a total of 20.
Texas Tech dropped its seventh game in eight outings since opening Big 12 play with a win at TCU.
Down by eight points to start the second half, Tech used a 5-0 run on a 3-pointer by Ty Nurse and a dunk by Jaye Crockett to pull within 37-34. Its defense got aggressive, forcing three turnovers in the first few minutes.
Wildcats coach Bruce Weber clearly saw the surge from the Red Raiders and hollered to his team, “You better wake up. They’re playing.”
His words seemed to sink in and the Wildcats used a 6-0 run, including a 3-pointer and a field goal by Martavious Irving, who finished with 10 points, to go up 48-38 with 12:25 remaining.
Josh Gray hit a jumper for the Red Raiders only to be answered by a 3 from Shane Southwell and a basket by McGruder to put Kansas State up 53-40 about a minute later.
But the Red Raiders didn’t relent. Kravic hit a field goal and two free throws and Gray got another field goal before Tolbert hit a jumper and layup to pull them within 58-50 with 7:02 remaining.
A tip-in by Kravic off a miss by Gray cut the deficit to 58-52 before McGruder hit a layup and a free throw to put the Wildcats up 61-52 with less than 6 minutes to play.
A charging foul against Gray on the ensuing possession led to two free throws by Rodriguez to bump the lead to 63-52 with less than 4 1/2 minutes left. The Red Raiders couldn’t cut into the deficit any further.
Texas Tech pulled within three points with about 2:30 remaining in the first half before Will Spradling hit three straight field goals for Kansas State, which led 37-29 at halftime.
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