After spending the past few weeks hunting down top-25 opponents, the Longhorns fell prey Saturday, subjects of a full-on attack from the Wildcats.
The fierce Kansas State defense and a raucous Manhattan, Kan., crowd intimidated Texas’ inexperienced lineup, forcing 18 turnovers en route to a 74–57 win.
“I do not want to take anything away from Kansas State, but some of the turnovers we had were ridiculous,” Texas head coach Rick Barnes said. “I was baffled with some of the things we did. The turnovers were huge. They had 26 points off of turnovers.“
Wildcat freshman guard Marcus Foster was the star of the afternoon, converting 13 of his 16 field goal attempts for a career-high 34 points. His scoring performance was the best by a Kansas State player since Michael Beasley, a former second overall selection in the NBA Draft, wore the royal purple six years ago.
“It was just one of those days where you talk about being on a magic level,” Foster said. “Today, I was just on a magic level.”
Foster’s biggest impact came from a couple 3-pointers he hit early on in the second half. After trailing throughout a lifeless first half, the Longhorns finally began to gain some momentum on a couple different occasions in the first 10 minutes of the second half. But, each time Texas cut the deficit, Foster hit a big three to swing the momentum back in the Wildcats’ favor and suffocate any life the Longhorns tried to find.
“I got a little worried when they put their head down in the second half and just took it at us,” Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber said. “But we got a time-out, and I said that we have to win this next minute. I think that knocked them out and any hope that they had.”
Texas was able to compete with Kansas State in the second half, but its abundance of first-half mistakes proved to be too much to overcome. Barnes’ team posted a mere 18 points in the first half, the lowest scoring half of any team in the Big 12 this season.
The Longhorns had just five field goals in the opening frame, shooting a paltry 25 percent from the field. Freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor and sophomore center Cameron Ridley, the keys to Texas’ recent win streak, combined for just four points while turning the ball over six times in the first 20 minutes.
“I think they beat us anyway you can get beat,” Barnes said. “I thought right from the beginning, whether you want to talk loose balls or from turning the ball over, you are not going to win with turning the ball over 18 times. Some of it had to do with them, but a lot of it had to do with what we were doing, too.”
The loss caps the Longhorns’ seven-game win streak and, given the constant pressure of the Big 12 conference schedule, opens the door to a possible losing streak. Texas’ next four games come against No 19. Oklahoma State, an upstart West Virginia team, No. 18 Iowa State and against No. 8 Kansas on the road.