MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Texas’ four-game losing streak was as baffling to Isaiah Taylor as it was for anybody on the Longhorns’ bench.
On Saturday, Taylor and his team took an approach that had been missing for nearly three weeks.
“We played desperate,” Taylor said. “Today we didn’t get down on ourselves. Everyone played with an attitude and it’s sort of like (a sense) of cockiness that we needed to win and that’s what happened.”
Taylor scored 23 points, including two foul shots with one second left that sent No. 25 Texas over Kansas State 61-57 Saturday.
Connor Lammert had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Longhorns (15-8, 4-6 Big 12).
Nino Williams had 13 points for the Wildcats (12-12, 5-6), who once again were without Marcus Foster and Malek Harris because of indefinite suspensions. No word has been given on their future status.
Thomas Gipson missed a layup with less than five seconds that would have tied the game. The Wildcats’ fourth straight loss dropped them to .500 this late in the season for the first time since Feb. 25, 2004.
“There are tears in the locker room,” Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said. “I’ve got to help them. It’s tough on me, tough on our staff, but we’ve got to be there for them.”
Lammert said finishing possessions and playing a full 40 minutes became even more evident after the Longhorns’ most recent loss against Oklahoma State at home.
“Coach talked to us and told us that each game is going to come down to one or two possessions,” Lammert said.
Taylor scored at least 15 for the fifth straight game. He and Lammert both matched their highest point total of the season.
After taking a 42-41 with 10:34 left, Kansas State fell victim to the Longhorns’ length as they sealed the paint and pushed their lead to 49-44 on Lammert’s 3-pointer.
The Wildcats’ shot just 32 percent from the field (15 of 47), but went 8 of 16 on 3s.
The Longhorns eliminated Kansas State’s best interior scoring option in Gipson, holding him to five points on 0-for-7 shooting.
“We are a long team,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “Our zone has been good. We have won four conference games and we played zone every minute of those games with the exception of the last two minutes here today.”
Kansas State made only 3 of its first 21 shots, and Taylor pushed the Longhorns’ to their largest lead at 24-12 with 4:16 left in the first half.
Texas: Jonathan Holmes (11.5 points per game) didn’t make the trip to Manhattan because of a concussion. Javan Felix also was held out due to a head injury.
Kansas State: The Wildcats’ average of 58.9 points per game was the lowest in the Big 12 after 10 games and the lowest for the program since 1982-83.
Texas hosts TCU on Wednesday.
Kansas State plays at West Virginia on Wednesday.
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