Texas lost the ball, and then the game.
The Longhorns’ 16th turnover of the night squandered a furious second-half comeback and led to Kansas State’s final basket as UT lost, 84-80, on Wednesday night in Manhattan, Kansas.
With a chance to tie the game in the ultimate seconds, Myck Kabongo and J’Covan Brown fumbled the ball on an exchange near halfcourt. KSU’s Martavious Irving scooped it up and Rodney McGruder finished with a slam — the last of his 33 points.
Kabongo and Brown teamed to lead the Longhorns back from a 15-point deficit with sharp shooting and precision passes, but they unfortunately were both involved on the final miscue. Brown scored a team-high 22 points, playing with a sprained ankle he calls “70 percent.” Kabongo had his second double-double in as many games, with 14 points and 10 assists.
Texas (12-6; 2-3 Big 12) trailed by seven with five minutes to play, and closed the lead to 81-80, on a Sheldon McClellan dunk. But the Longhorns’ final two possessions resulted in Kabongo’s turnover — his sixth of the game — and a desperation 3-point attempt from Brown.
Texas also finished the first half in a fury. The Longhorns trailed 36-21 with 7:34 left before going on an 11-0 run over a 3:47 span that cut the lead to 36-32. UT finished the half on a 21-7 run that shortened the Wildcat’s lead to 43-42.
UT had its best chance at a road win in over a month but fell to 1-6 away from the Frank Erwin Center. All three of Texas’ Big 12 losses came on the road.
Brown led Texas in scoring for a second straight game, but he was eight of 28 from the field, including four of 14 from beyond the arc. But McClellan alleviated some of the pressure off Brown with 19 points. The freshman led the UT bench, which contributed 31 points. Clint Chapman added 11 points but fouled out in the final minutes.
K-State jumped out to an early lead in the first half, but the second was a back-and-forth affair. In the end, Texas didn’t match Kansas State’s execution.
The Longhorns had no answer for McGruder, who made four of six 3s. He made his first five shots, including three treys.
The junior guard entered the game averaging just over 14 points per game.
Jamar Samuels added 14 points for the Wildcats (13-4; 2-3) and Thomas Gipson and Will Spradling each had 11.
Texas senior Alexis Wangmene tied a career high with nine rebounds to go along with four points. But the Longhorns only secured 27 rebounds to the Wildcats’ 29.
UT was a season-best 19 of 21 from the free throw line (90.5 percent) but the game came down to half court offense.
Head coach Rick Barnes has been adamant that his teams’ struggles begin on the offensive end, and an untimely turnover burned the Longhorns once again.
Printed on January 19, 2012 as: UT squanders chance at win, must perform in road games