No. 21 Texas basketball loses to Kansas State in nail-biter upset

Nick Pannes, Sports Reporter

Despite coming into Thursday’s game as 11-point favorites to the team they defeated on the road just 14 days ago, Texas fell to Kansas State 66-65 at home.

The stage was set for a satisfying Longhorn victory. Fresh off a road loss to No. 15 Iowa State, 11,498 fans packed into the Frank Erwin Center. Texas head coach Chris Beard said it was “definitely our best crowd of the season.” Among the crowd was the highest student turnout in months, marking the start of the spring college semester.

Texas came out of the gates with solid gameplay on both sides of the ball. Shots were falling for the Longhorns while Beard’s defense left Kansas State scattered and confused on offense. Unfortunately, a resilient performance by the Wildcats and a decay of Texas’ defense gave way to a steady, 30-minute shift in momentum.

Starting with 11:04 left to go in the first half, Texas saw a comfortable nine-point lead regress into a back-and-forth war of attrition where both sides mirrored each other’s scoring output.

In fact, it looked like Kansas State had the better offense in the second half. If it weren’t for a slew of off-ball defensive fouls, the Wildcats could have built a solid lead. Instead, they gave Texas 26 attempts and 21 points from the charity stripe.

Marcus Carr was the biggest exploiter of the Wildcat defense, earning 11 points on 12 free-throw attempts. He finished the night with 25 points and went 2-5 from three.

Other than Carr, Texas’ big offensive names were quiet for most of the night. Senior forward Timmy Allen, the team’s scoring leader on the season, added 15 points and junior forward Tre Mitchell scored nine. The two forwards only contributed 11 points in the second half of the game.

Carr, Allen and Mitchell were the only Texas players to score at all in the second half.

Carr’s second half shooting, foul-drawing and a few lapses in discipline on the Kansas State defense kept the game in reach for Texas.

As the clock wound down and Texas’ lead dwindled, the Texas offense completely crumbled, scoring 0 points in the last 3:32 of the game.

Instead of securing an easy conference win at home to build momentum for more difficult games on the horizon, Texas left the Frank Erwin Center reeling from a tough upset. 

“It’s a disappointing locker room right now,” Beard said after the game. “It’s a hurt locker room right now. The (players) really wanted to win.”