The Red Raiders are coached by Bob Knight, who is the all-time winningest coach in Division I history with 882 victories, and K-State coach Bob Huggins (577 wins) more than likely would have preferred being in the stands with former K-State football coach Bill Snyder than on the sidelines coaching his team as it struggled in its first game without standout freshman Bill Walker.
Walker ruptured his ACL Saturday in a 69-65 loss at Texas A&M, and will be out for the remainder of the season. His teammates knew they would need to step up in his absence, but only junior forward David Hoskins was able to answer the call.
He scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting, which included both of his three-point attempts and 7 out of 10 free throw attempts, and he was the only Wildcat to score more than seven points.
Hoskins also contributed six rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes of action. He was the lone bright spot on a K-State squad that struggled on both ends of the floor against a quicker, more athletic Texas Tech team.
The Wildcats struggled in the opening half, but were still able to go into the locker room down 27-26.
They came out and kept it close for most of the second half, but could never take a lead or get any closer than two points.
Hoskins was the only player that could make a shot, and it ended up costing K-State down the stretch.
Texas Tech (13-4 overall, 2-0 Big 12 Conference) used turnovers and good free throw shooting in the latter stages of the game to hold off any type of run that the Wildcats could muster. K-State was only down three with 5:42 to play, but that's when the Red Raiders went on an 11-2 run to take a 13-point lead and seal the victory.
Texas Tech remained undefeated on the road this season, while Knight moved to 13-1 all-time against K-State and 3-0 against Huggins. The last time these two coaches played each other was 14 years ago.
"This game was very frustrating because we didn't want to lose at home," Wright said. "We had so many opportunities to take the lead and really go up, but we had a lot of turnovers that we shouldn't have had, and it cost us the game."
K-State turned the ball over 14 times in the game, and only had 10 assists. The Wildcats were also outrebounded 36-34, and, outside Hoskins' 2-for-2 behind the arc, the team went 0-for-13.
Huggins has stressed all season long that in order for his team to be successful, he is going to need his seniors to step up and lead the Wildcats night in and night out.
This was not one of those games for K-State (10-6, 0-2 Big 12).
Senior forward Cartier Martin came into the game leading the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game. He and senior guard Akeem Wright combined to go 5-for-23 from the field, and they missed all nine three-point attempts they took. Martin only scored six points and Wright only had seven. Wright did have seven rebounds and four assists, but he also had three turnovers. Martin only had three boards, and they both had four fouls.
Senior guard Lance Harris was averaging 10 points per game, but he never scored in 26 minutes while committing two turnovers, and senior guard Jermaine Maybank went 0-for-5 from the field and had three points while grabbing five rebounds.
Huggins and the players said after the game there were too many times when they couldn't knock down a shot, or they would commit an unforced turnover at the wrong time that would lead to a fast break for the Red Raiders.
"Our defense didn't lose the game, our offense did," Huggins said. "It's hard to play defense when you throw the ball to them for baskets, it's hard to guard that. We just did dumb things. They just stood there and let Zeno step around them in the post and then we stop Jarrius Jackson - who's the leading scorer in the league - and we got him stopped, and all of a sudden we run away from him and he lays it in, I have no explanation for that. That's uncharacteristic of the way we've been playing."
Huggins couldn't understand why his team's defensive effort wasn't as good as it has been recently, but Hoskins had an explanation for what went wrong down the stretch. "We just couldn't get a stop," Hoskins said. "We came down and we made a couple of baskets but it just seemed like for a 10-minute stretch they just got layups and shots that they wanted to get.
"There isn't anything really wrong with the offense, but it just seemed like whenever we needed a basket or we really needed to get a nice shot, we turned it over. And when we really needed a stop, they scored or got an offensive rebound."
The Wildcats now sit 0-2 early in the conference season, and will be looking for a big win Saturday when they travel to Columbia, Mo., to take on the Missouri Tigers.