By: Zaldy Doyungan
The K-State Wildcats traveled to the Sprint Center in Kansas City for the first round of the Big XII Conference Tournament. The 8th seeded Wildcats came in with a 15-16 record facing the 9th seeded TCU Horned Frogs. The Horned Frogs defeated the Wildcats handily in their last meeting and while this was a harder fought game, the result was the same as multiple dry runs doomed the Wildcats and they were unable to come back from a 14-point deficit.
Halftime Thoughts: At the half, the Wildcats used a late run to cut the deficit from 11 to 7. The score at halftime was 35-27, TCU with the advantage. K-State came out on fire at the beginning of the game, however, as they have done all season, they went on a dry spell for more than 5 minutes without a single field goal. TCU’s Kyan Anderson and Trey Ziegler was the main force for the Horned Frogs’ offense as they accounted for 19 of TCU’s 35 points. TCU was able to get multiple chances at the basket as they grabbed offensive rebounds time and time again.
Game Defining Event: The Wildcats kept it at hands reach throughout the game and was even able to cut the deficit all the way down to 2 with 2 minutes left. However, after a missed TCU shot, the Wildcats could not capitalize on their possession, coming up empty on multiple shots, and eventually forcing to foul TCU, which sealed the game.
Player of the Game: While this title usually goes to the winning team and also to one individual, I will hand this award to the two seniors that have stuck it out throughout the whole season. Nino Williams and Thomas Gipson played their last game in a Wildcat uniform and they made it worthwhile. Williams finished with a double-double scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards. Gipson was the leading scorer for the Wildcats with 16 points while grabbing 7 rebounds. Despite all the drama this season, these two players have been the bright spot for this squad.
Up Next: Without Gipson and Williams, the Wildcats hope to start fresh in their 2015-2016 campaign. Everyone will have to wait and see if players end up transferring or not, but with talented recruits coming in and DJ Johnson coming back from a medical redshirt, the future looks bright for this Wildcat team.