Lubbock, TX – Still in search of their first Big 12 ranked Kansas State Wildcats are the opponent.
Kansas State opened the year an impressive 11-1, but the start of Big 12 play didn't go quite the way head coach Frank Martin had hoped as the his team dropped three of its first four league bouts. The Wildcats have bounced back however, winning each of their last two, the most recent of which being a 66-58 decision at Oklahoma State on Saturday. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Cowboys in Stillwater, and improved K-State to 14-4 overall, 3-3 in conference and 2-2 in true road games.
Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie had high hopes for his first year in Lubbock, but things haven't gone according to plan as his team is just 7-11 overall and has lost its first six Big 12 bouts -- the first time that has happened since the 1999-2000 campaign. The Red Raiders, who are 6-3 at home this season, haven't tasted victory since winning back-to-back games against Cal State Bakersfield and Southeastern Louisiana to close out the 2011 calendar year.
Kansas State owns a narrow 14-12 lead in the all-time series with Texas Tech, and the Wildcats have won four of the last five meetings.
Despite a rough shooting effort that saw Kansas State hit a mere 36.4 percent of its field goal attempts and only 21.4 percent of its three-point tries, the Wildcats picked up the big win at Oklahoma State over the weekend thanks to a 50-29 rebounding advantage and some pretty stingy defense which allowed the Cowboys to shoot just 34.8 percent from the floor, which included a horrendous 1-of-16 showing from beyond the arc. Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez scored 14 points apiece to lead K-State, which also got a double-double from Jamar Samuels, who tallied 12 points and as many rebounds. Both teams turned the ball over 16 times and scored nearly the same number of points from the foul line (OSU 25, KSU 23), but the 'Cats worked harder on the inside, outscoring the Pokes in the paint, 32-18. Kansas State has now held six opponents this season below 60 points, including two Big 12 foes. McGruder leads the team in scoring with 15.6 ppg, the team as a whole is averaging 74.8 ppg while allowing 64.5 ppg.
Robert Lewandowski scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds, but he was the only Red Raider to reach double figures in what turned out to be a 76-52 loss to visiting Iowa State over the weekend. Texas Tech made good on only 35.1 percent of its total shots, missing 13-of-18 three-point tries along the way, and the team was guilty of 15 turnovers while also losing the rebounding battle, 40-32. The Cyclones controlled the paint to the tune of a 34-16 advantage, while they scored three times as many points off giveaways as did the Red Raiders (21-7). Offensive production has been the primary problem for Texas Tech this season, as the team is averaging just 63.3 ppg despite hitting 45 percent of its field goal attempts, and 36.8 percent of its long-range bombs. Defensively, Tech hasn't been all that bad, as foes are putting up 67.2 ppg behind shooting percentages that are worse than what it turns in (.409 overall, .322 three-point FG). Turnovers have plagued the Red Raiders, as they are guilty of 17 miscues per outing compared to 12.5 tpg for the opposition. Jordan Tolbert (12.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is the only player currently averaging double digits in the scoring column for Texas Tech, and he is the team's leading rebounder as well.