MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State held the lead the entire game against UTEP on Sunday afternoon until the closing seconds when the Miners went on a 5-0 run to take a 51-50 lead with 26 seconds remaining in the contest. UTEP would hand K-State its first loss of the season, 52-50, escaping Bramlage Coliseum with a victory and notching its third win over a team from a major conference this season. The loss ended K-State’s 17-game home court winning streak against non-conference opponents.
With the Wildcats up four points and just over a minute remaining, UTEP (9-1) scored a basket on a fast break and a foul. After missing the layup, UTEP would pull down its own rebound for a put back by Kayla Thornton to tie the game at 50-50. K-State (7-1) missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and UTEP would take the lead on the previously mentioned free throw.
Bri Craig and Haley Texada both scored 12 points to lead K-State on the day. Craig controlled the first half for the Wildcats with nine of her 12 points, and Texada led the second half with nine points in the second stanza. They were the only two players to score in double digits for K-State with Kendra Spresser adding eight points.
K-State used its strong shooting from long range to build an early 16-4 lead on the Miners and force UTEP into using two timeouts just six minutes into the contest. Three different players got involved in the 3-point shooting, and K-State was able to force UTEP into seven turnovers in that opening spurt.
The Wildcats made that run to a 12-point lead with star Brittany Chambers in the locker room, who left the game four minutes in with an apparent leg injury trying to save the ball on a fast break opportunity.
Spresser and Craig gave the Wildcats a lift in the first half to enable K-State to hold off the Miners. UTEP went on a 7-0 run after K-State built the 12-point lead, but 3-pointers from Spresser and Craig maintained the lead. The pair combined for five 3-pointers in the first half and 15 of K-State’s 25 points.
The Wildcats hit seven shots from deep in the first half and only two baskets inside the arc as UTEP could not defend the perimeter early on and K-State could not match the Miners’ size inside. UTEP had 10 points in the paint compared to K-State’s four but it was not enough to overcome K-State’s shooting in the first half as the Wildcats held a 25-21 lead at the break.
In the second half, K-State’s lead quickly disappeared with the Miners scoring two quick buckets to tie it at 25 points apiece. Another 3-pointer from Craig re-established the lead for the Wildcats. From there Texada helped take over the game, setting the tone with a drive to the basket with time expiring on the shot clock and a 3-pointer from the corner to go up 36-28. A layup from Texada on a fast break lob pass from Mariah White got the lead back to double digits at 39-28 with 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
Kansas State will close out 2012 with four games away from Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats will travel to the World Vision Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 19-21 at the Cox Pavilion. K-State will face former Big 12 member, Texas A&M, on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (CT), with its opponents on Thursday and Friday to be determined. All of K-State’s games at the World Vision Classic will be available on the K-State Sports Network and for free at kstatesports.com/allaccess.
K-State will return to Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 5 to host TCU at 6 p.m. For ticket information, contact the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221-CATS, visit www.kstatesports.com/tickets or visit the K-State Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum.