AMES, Iowa — One of the most entertaining, back-and-forth basketball games of the early Big 12 season ended in frustrating fashion for Kansas State.
Iowa State came through with enough clutch plays in the final moments to hold off K-State 80-76 on Tuesday inside a sold out, raucous Hilton Coliseum.
The No. 12 Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) defeated the No. 5 Wildcats (17-3, 6-2 Big 12) thanks to 23 points from Jaren Holmes and 19 points from Gabe Kalscheur.
K-State countered with 23 points from Markquis Nowell and 15 points from both Cam Carter and Keyontae Johnson.
That type of production was enough to give the Wildcats a 33-31 lead at halftime and to keep them in the game until the bitter end, even after Iowa State led by 10 with 8:12 remaining. But it wasn’t enough to keep the Wildcats’ winning streak going.
“Losing is never fun,” Nowell said. “But everything we did today was correctable. We will fix it and move on.”
With the loss, the Wildcats dropped into a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings with Iowa State and Texas. Still, K-State head coach Jerome Tang was encouraged by the result.
It was a much closer final score than K-State’s last road loss against TCU, which ended in an 82-68 loss.
“I thought this was just an unbelievable Big 12 game,” Tang said. “The environment was incredible. Obviously, we wanted to win, but we also wanted to see how much we improved from TCU. ... We competed tonight. We didn’t let their runs get us out of character.”
Tang’s team will look to bounce back from this result when K-State returns to the floor against Florida on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.