COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Khris Middleton had 18 points and No. 11 Texas A&M made 13 free throws in the last 2 minutes to hold on for a 64-56 win over struggling Kansas State on Saturday.
Texas A&M (17-2, 4-1 Big 12) led by five before Will Spradling knocked down a 3-pointer that made it 55-53 with about a minute remaining. B.J. Holmes made a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left before Jacob Pullen's shot was blocked by David Loubeau on the other end and the Wildcats had to foul again.
Dash Harris made one of two shots to push the lead to 58-53, and the Aggies got the rebound on the miss.
Middleton hit six free throws after that to secure the win.
It was the fourth loss in five games for Kansas State (13-7, 1-4), which was led by Pullen's 21 points. Curtis Kelly added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, off to a terrible start in Big 12 play after being the preseason conference favorite.
The Aggies bounced back from an 81-60 loss to No. 10 Texas, which was their first loss since Thanksgiving.
Texas A&M's free throw shooting was the key in this one with the Aggies making 27 of 37 attempts compared to 11-of-19 shooting from the line for the Wildcats. Middleton led the way in that area, sinking 11 of 12.
Middleton was the only Aggies player who scored in double figures, but Holmes, Naji Hibbert and Kourtney Roberson chipped in nine points apiece for Texas A&M.
The game was tied at 48 before the Aggies used a 7-2 run to make it 55-50 with just under 1½ minutes left.
Pullen got Kansas State within 46-45 with a jump shot with about 10 minutes remaining. Both teams went on scoring droughts after that, with neither one making a field goal for about 5 minutes. The Wildcats tied it on a free throw by Kelly with about 7 minutes left.
Harris hit a layup with just more than 5 minutes remaining to break the drought and give the Aggies a 48-46 lead.
Kansas State led by six before Texas A&M used a 13-0 run to pull ahead 44-37 with 12 minutes to go. That run was fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by Hibbert that came 5 seconds apart. Hibbert hit one from the left corner before a turnover by the Wildcats gave the Aggies the ball back. He caught the inbounds pass and knocked down a second one from the right corner.
The Aggies were up by six after a 3-pointer by Hibbert with about 4 minutes left in the first half. The Wildcats finished the half with a 7-1 run to leave it tied 29-all at the break.