Second half swarm vaults No. 10 Texas over No. 7 Kansas State, 69-66

Payne Williams, Sports Desk Editor

No. 10 Texas earned a statement win and avoided the sweep on Saturday as it defeated No. 7 Kansas State, 69-66, on the road.

“This is one of the best wins I’ve ever been a part of,” interim head coach Rodney Terry said after the game.

In typical Big 12 fashion, the top-10 opponents played a physical game, but it was a tale of two halves.

Texas trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, despite keeping the Wildcats’ electric duo of senior forward Keyontae Johnson and senior guard Markquis Nowell to a low level of production early on. Johnson was limited to five points in the first half and Nowell was held to four points.

The Longhorns committed 11 turnovers and lost the rebound battle by a steep margin in the first 20 minutes, getting outrebounded 19 to 12. They entered halftime trailing by 11 points.

But in the second half, it was the physicality and paint presence of senior forward Christian Bishop that lifted Texas above and beyond the double-digit deficit.

The forward gave the Longhorns their first lead since early in the first half after making a strong basket, forcing a foul and converting the free throw for the three-point play.

Bishop continued to work beneath the basket as Texas went on a 15-5 run midway through the second half to take a six-point lead. It seemed Texas’ first-half struggles were behind it.

The Longhorns flipped their shooting numbers from 7-of-23 in the first half to 57% in the second half, with help from Bishop and graduate student guard Sir’Jabari Rice.

In addition to his offensive production, Bishop recorded a key block and steal on a potential lead-changing possession for the Wildcats with under 20 seconds remaining.

Rice went on to make a pair of free throws on the following possession to seal Texas’ come-from-behind victory.

Bishop finished 6-of-11 for 14 points, tying Rice in points, who also led the Longhorns with 10 rebounds, including a couple of critical rebounds in the final minutes.

The Longhorns hold on to their No. 1 spot in the Big 12 for another night, but they have another AP top-10 road game ahead of them when they visit No. 8 Kansas on Monday.