Freshman Marcus Foster scored a career-high 34 points, as Kansas State dominated in all phases in defeating No. 15/18 Texas 74-57 at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday.
Foster, who became the third freshman in K-State history to score more than 30 points in a game, went 13-of-16 from the field, including five 3-pointers to go with three rebounds and three assists. Only six freshmen in Big 12 history have scored more in a game than Foster’s 34.
His 34-point effort was the most by a Wildcat since Jacob Pullen went for 38 against Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2011, while it was the most by a K-State freshman since Michael Beasley scored 39 points against Kansas on March 1, 2008.
The win was the 12th consecutive at home for K-State (16-6, 6-3 Big 12), which moved to 29-2 in home games under head coach Bruce Weber, including 13-1 in Big 12 play. The 12-game home court winning streak is the longest since the team won 14 in a row from Jan. 15, 2011 to Jan. 7, 2012.
K-State played with suffocating defense, holding Texas (18-5, 7-3 Big 12) to a season-low 57 points on just 32.7 percent (18-of-55) shooting from the field. The Wildcats scored a season-high 26 points off 18 turnovers, a season-high for the Longhorns. It marked the 14th time this season that an opponent has been held to a season-low in points, including 12th time to 60 points or less.
“It was one of those days. It was a special day, we were in the zone,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “It was the shooting, but it is really the energy, the excitement, and the passion.”
Foster led the Wildcats from start to finish scoring the teams’ first eight points, including a thunderous ally-oop dunk from Wesley Iwundu at the 16:55 mark.
Foster’s performance was the 18th time this season this season that he has scored in double figures and the sixth time in Big 12 play.
“One of the coaches said that he (Foster) is going to get 25-30 (points) here soon,” said Weber. “We knew it was going to happen. The thing that I like is that he has gotten a little better about being more patient, waiting for good shots, he is our go-to guy.”
K-State started the game on a tear, shooting 8-of-12 from the field during an 18-2 run and never looked back, extending their lead to as much as 26 points in the second half.
With Foster having a career night in scoring, other Wildcats found ways to contribute.
Senior Will Spradling was very efficient on the day with nine points, three assists, two rebounds, and a career-high four steals. Junior Thomas Gibson led the Wildcats with a game-high 11 rebounds, the 12th time this season that he has led the Wildcats in rebounds and the eighth time in his career that he registered double-digit rebounds. Iwundu added eight points to go with season-highs in both assists (eight) and steals (three).
Texas cut the Wildcat lead to 16 points at the 12:14 mark in the second half but Foster went on a 5-0 run, nailing a 3-pointer from the corner then laying it in on a stellar pass from Iwundu at the 11:10 mark.
“I got a little worried when they put their head down in the second half and just took it at us but we got a timeout and told them that we have to win this next minute,” said Weber. “I think that knocked them out and any hope that they had to come back.”
Isaiah Taylor led the Longhorns with 17 points, while Connor Lammert added eight off the bench.
K-State connected on 52 percent (28-of-53) from the field, including 50 percent (8-of-16) from 3-point range, and knocked down 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the free throw line. The Wildcats tallied 21 assists on 28 field goals made, led by Iwundu who set a career-high with eight assists.
Despite losing the rebounding battle, 35-29, the Wildcats were able to outscore the Longhorns, 34-16, in the paint. K-State has now outscored 14 opponents in the paint this season.
Kansas State continues its homestand on Monday night, as the Wildcats host No. 8/9 Kansas (18-5, 9-1 Big 12) in the Dillons’ Sunflower Showdown at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.