AUSTIN, Texas – Kansas State limped into Texas on the heels of an ego-crushing 38-point road loss that would have sucked the life from many teams.
If anything, the Wildcats looked ready to lay down against a Texas Longhorns team that had played their best on their home court and were brimming with confidence for a second-half run in the Big 12. Instead, Kansas State slugged out a rugged 67-64 comeback road victory that is rare to come by in one of the best leagues in the country.
Dean Wade scored 16 points to lead five Wildcats scoring in double figures, and made one of two free throws in the finals seconds that helped seal the victory.
Wade missed a second free throw that would have given the Wildcats a four-point cushion, but Texas' final shot, a stumbling, off-balance 3-pointer by Kerwin Roach II, never came close to the basket.
"We came and we fought," said Kansas State guard Barry Brown, who had 11 points and six assists. "Wins like this build character."
Kansas State (17-7, 6-5) trailed 54-52 before taking the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Cartier Diarra, who followed it with a steal and a layup for a 57-54 lead the Wildcats never relinquished.
Texas (15-9, 5-6) got within 66-64 on a 3-pointer by Eric Davis with 44 seconds left. The Longhorns had a chance to tie but Matt Coleman turned it over on a desperate drive to the basket with 3 seconds left on the play that sent Wade to the free throw line. Coleman said he was trying to lob the ball to Mo Bamba for a dunk.
"I should have just laid it up," Coleman said.
Texas had protected its home court well after losing its conference opener, including three wins over ranked opponents, an impressive run that was key to building a solid postseason resume.
Against Kansas State, Texas allowed the Wildcats to shoot 54 percent and made just 8 of 29 3-pointers. Bamba, one of the top freshmen in the country, scored 18 points to go with 12 rebounds, but scored just three points in the second half and took only four shots after halftime.
"They kept switching where they were doubling from," Bamba said. "I couldn't get a feel for where it was coming from."
Texas coach Shaka Smart was fuming over what he called a lack of effort by his team.
"It's going to be a very honest and aggressive film session (Thursday)," Smart said. "It hurts a lot. I hope it hurts the guys as much as it hurts me. When that happens, you've got to be a big boy and find out how to win the next one."
Kansas State: The Wildcats shook off some of their offensive struggles of late. Their 14 field goals in the first half matched their total for the game in a blowout loss at West Virginia over the weekend. Wade was fearless in the middle against Bamba, who is one of the country's premiere shot blockers. Yet the Wildcats still were held under 70 points for the third fourth consecutive game.
"They are really long, really big, but you can't not be aggressive," Wade said.
Texas: Texas lacked the offensive punch it usually gets from Dylan Osetkowski and Roach, two of their most dependable scorers. Both were scoreless in the first half. Osetkowski finished with 8 points and Roach was 2 of 10 shooting.
"Right now, he's questioning himself on things and it's causing him to be hesitant," Smart said.
After Davis' 3-pointer, Texas still had enough time to get a stop and a possible shot at a game winner. But Roach fouled with just 7 seconds left on the shot clock and 18 seconds in the game. Because Texas had only three fouls in the half, the Wildcats had to get the ball inbounds four times without turning it over and Bamba's long arms covering the passer.
Texas fouled so quickly the Wildcats were only able to trim 2 seconds off the clock. Brown finally got to the line, but missed his free throw, which set up the frantic last few seconds.
"They kept their poise. To get the ball in four times like that is not easy," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said.
Kansas State hosts No. 7 Texas Tech
Texas plays at TCU on Saturday in a rematch of a double-overtime game Texas won when the Horned Frogs missed a layup at the buzzer.