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K-State Falls to 4/4 Houston, 74-52

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HOUSTON, Texas (KStateSports.com) – Kansas State felt the wrath of the nation’s top-ranked defense, as the No. 4/4 Houston held the Wildcats to just 52 points while forcing 18 turnovers en route to posting a 74-52 win on Saturday morning before a sold-out crowd of 7,260 fans at the Fertitta Center.

BOX SCORE

K-State (14-6, 4-3 Big 12) was held without a field goal for the first 5:48 minutes, falling behind 11-0, and could never really recover in dropping its second consecutive game on the road to a Top 25 opponent.

Three Wildcats scored in double figures, including 16 points from junior Cam Carter, who posted double-figure points for the 14th consecutive game. Fellow junior Arthur Kaluma and freshman Dai Dai Ames each added 11 points. It was the most points by Ames in a Big 12 game.

Houston’s defensive prowess was on full display against K-State, holding the Wildcats to their second-fewest points under head coach Jerome Tang on 40.4 percent (19-of-47) shooting while harassing them into 18 turnovers, including 11 steals, which the Cougars converted into 25 points. The home team ranks in the top-20 in an astounding seven defensive categories, including first in scoring defense (51.9 ppg.), field goal percentage defense (34.8) and scoring margin (+22.1).

After jumping out an 11-0 lead, Houston (18-2, 5-2 Big 12) had an answer for any attempt by K-State to make a comeback. The Wildcats got to within 13-7 after a jumper by Carter and a 3-pointer by senior Tylor Perry, but the Cougars responded with 16 of the next 21 points to take a commanding 17-point lead and force a timeout by Tang with 6:22 to play before halftime.

K-State closed the deficit to 32-21 on 3-pointers by Ames and Kaluma, but Houston ended the half on a 9-0 run to go 41-21 at the break. Out of halftime, the Wildcats scored 8 of the first 10 points to get to within 43-29 but again the Cougars had a response with 10 of the next 13 to take a commanding lead and thwart any further comeback attempt.

With the win, Houston continued its dominance at home, moving to 12-0 at the Fertitta Center this season where the Cougars are beating teams by an average of 32.8 points per game. Head coach Kelvin Sampson also earned a pair of milestones in the victory, earning both the 750th in his career and the 250th while in charge of the Cougars.

The Cougars were efficient on the offensive end, scoring their 74 points on 40 percent (22-of-55) shooting, including 33.3 percent (7-of-21) from 3-point range, while taking advantage of their opportunities from the free throw line, making 23-of-34 attempts. They had just 8 turnovers.

Three players scored in double figures led by senior Jamal Shead, who led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-12 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and 3-of-4 free throws. Fellow senior J’Wan Roberts had 14 points and 6 rebounds, while senior Damian Dunn had 13 points off the bench.

This was the first and only regular season meeting between the schools and the first since a 91-90 win by the Wildcats in Houston on Dec. 21, 1974.

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Wildcats certainly felt the pressure of the nation’s top-ranked defense, as they went nearly 6 minutes without a field goal to fall behind 11-0. Senior Cam Carter’s turnaround jumper with 14:12 left in the first half broke the drought after missing the team missed their first 4 shots with 3 turnovers.

Another Carter jumper and a 3-pointer by senior Tylor Perry cut the deficit to 13-7 at the 12:43 mark but Houston strung together 5 straight points to push the lead back to double figures. Five more points by Carter once again got the Wildcats to within single digits, but the Cougars responded with 8 in a row to take a 29-12 lead and force a second timeout by head coach Jerome Tang with 6:22 before halftime.

The Wildcats got to within 32-21 after 3-pointers by freshman Dai Dai Ames and junior Arthur Kaluma with 2:45 remaining, however, Houston held K-State scoreless the rest of the half in taking a 41-21 lead at the break. Carter led the way with 9 points, while the Cougars were paced by 9 points each from senior J’Wan Roberts and sophomore Emanuel Sharp.

K-State scored 8 of the first 10 points out of halftime, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Carter and Kaluma, to cut the deficit to 43-29 with 15:05 to play. However, Houston responded with a 10-3 run to push back ahead 53-32 at the second media timeout with 11:42 remaining.

Consecutive jumpers by Kaluma and freshman R.J. Jones got the Wildcats to within 57-39, but once again the Cougars had an answer with 13 of the next 17 points to take a 70-43 lead into the final media timeout with 3:48 to play. With mostly reserves in the game, K-State was able to outscore Houston, 9-4, down the stretch for the 74-52 final score.

HEAD COACH JEROME TANG
On the game…
“I personally was excited to be back in Houston, a proud graduate of North Shore High School, this city is very special to me, and I have a lot of friends and family here. Obviously, I would’ve wished for a better outcome, but they may be the best defensive team I have ever seen. And, it was just hard to find shots, they do a great job, they’re connected. If you go down their roster, (Ja’Vier) Francis has three years in this program, (J’Wan) Roberts has been here five years, Jamal Shead has four years, (Emanuel) Sharp two years, so they have core dudes that understand the culture of what this program is about. And they can foster that to the younger guys and bring it every day. We’ve only been there two years, so it’s gonna take us some time to get there. I told our staff I don’t know, the nature of college basketball, where it is right now that our young guys who I think are talented and other guys who will allow us to get them to our third year. I hope so. They definitely set the standard for what it’s supposed to look like especially when it comes to their play on the defensive end.”

On the difficulty of scoring against that defense…
“Like, you know what they’re gonna do. And it’s just, you can’t duplicate it for your guys to adjust to the speed of which they do it. And, on film, we as coaches, we can pause the film and say, well, this path is going to be open. But in real life, there’s no pause and it’s not there. And so, it is tough to replicate. So therefore, it’s tough to adjust to. Initially, especially when they get in the halfcourt and they get their halfcourt defense set up, what makes them so difficult is that they can do multiple things. Like they’re not just there to occupy a role, they all can make a play on the ball, they can take away the roll and close out to the shooter and make the shooter dribble, so they’re a bunch of multiple effort guys that are always covering up for each other. We’d have a guy open toward the post and they would get a deflection because the guy from the backside didn’t give up on the play and was in the next spot. They’re a very connected team on defense.”

On Cam Carter and the spark that he gave the team…
“Well, he really didn’t get to play in the first half against Iowa State due foul trouble then in the second half he came in and added some toughness that allowed us to get back in the game. And that’s what he tried to do in the first half today.”

On the difficulties of making a comeback against that defense…
“Yeah, their defense wouldn’t allow us. I mean, runs were one bucket.”

On the message he gave to the team after losing 2 games in a row…
“It’s a one game season. I mean, we didn’t lose two games today or three games. You know, we lost one game. We just have to learn from this one and do the next right thing.”

TEAM NOTES

  • K-State (14-6, 4-3 Big 12) could never recover from a poor start against the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense, as No. 4/4 Houston remained a perfect 12-0 at the Fertitta Center with 74-52 win on Saturday morning.
  • Today’s game will be the only regular season meeting and the first overall since 1974.
  • Four of the Wildcats’ 6 losses have been to Top 25 teams, falling to 1-4 on the year.
  • K-State is now 26-85 all-time vs. Top 5 teams, including 3-18 vs. the AP’s No. 4 team.
  • K-State still leads the all-time series, 5-4, but is now just 1-3 at Houston.
  • The 22-point loss was the largest of head coach Jerome Tang‘s tenure.
  • K-State scored 52 points on 40.4 percent (19-of-47) shooting, including 33.3 percent (7-of-21) from 3-point range, and 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the free throw line.
  • K-State turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 25 points off turnovers by Houston.
  • K-State lost the rebounding battle, 38-28, including 15 offensive rebounds by Houston which led to a 15-7 edge in second chance points.
  • Houston held the advantages in points off turnovers (25-11), points in the paint (28-18), second-chance points (15-7), fast-break points (8-4) and bench points (25-18).
  • K-State started a lineup of senior Tylor Perry, junior Cam Carter, junior Arthur Kaluma and senior David N’Guessan and senior Will McNair Jr. … It marked the 16th time using this lineup… Carter has now started all 56 games in his K-State career… Carter, N’Guessan and Perry have started all 20 games… Kaluma and McNair earned their 18th starts, respectively.

PLAYER NOTES

  • Three Wildcats scored in double figures led by junior Cam Carter (16 points), along with 11 points each from junior Arthur Kaluma and freshman Dai Dai Ames.
  • Carter scored his 16 points on 6-of-15 field goals, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and 1-of-2 free throws to go with 5 rebounds in 35 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 28 career games, including a team-best 18 times this season.
  • Kaluma scored his 11 points on 4-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-6 from 3-point range, and 1-of-2 free throws to go with 2 rebounds and 2 blocks in 35 minutes… He has now scored in double figure in 57 career games, including 17 times this season.
  • Ames scored his 11 points on 3-of-5 field goals, including 1-of-1 from 3-point range, and 4-of-4 free throws in 16 minutes… The 11 points were the most by Ames in a Big 12 game.
  • Ames, along fellow freshmen R.J. Jones and Macaleab Rich, all saw extended action in the game, as Ames played 16 minutes while Jones and Rich played 12 and 11 minutes.

UP NEXT
K-State returns home on Tuesday night when the Wildcats take on No. 11/13 Oklahoma (15-5, 3-4 Big 12) at 7 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum.