Clemente: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Give Credit to Denis Clemente - he took both blame and responsibility - albeit he only played a role in the loss. Kansas State guard Denis Clemente played a good role, and provided bad moments, Saturday in the Wildcats' 85-74 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. Clemente scored 26 points, but was also whistled for a technical foul that fueled the Jayhawks' rally.

Denis Clemente played a significant role in Saturday's loss to Kansas, but what he did do is pick up another vote for first-team All-Big 12 honors.

"He's first-team all-league," said KU coach Bill Self. "I knew he was good before, but his confidence level is so much higher. He thinks everything is going in. You can't simulate that speed in practice. He's really good."

Clemente scored 26 points, which included 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range, with five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 37 minutes of play.

That's the plus side in K-State's 85-74 loss to the Jayhawks.

On the flip side, the 90 percent free thrower made just 4-of-10 from the foul line, plus had a pivotal second half intentional foul that was significant in the 11-point loss.

Clemente admits that he let his pride get the best of him: "He elbowed me in my stomach ... in my house. I pushed back. I've got my respect."

The score was 53-51 Kansas at the 13:12 mark. Kansas State had the ball with hopes of knotting the game when Brady Morningstar flipped his right elbow into Clemente's gut with the foul called.

That's when Clemente purposely elbow-rammed Morningstar with a "Class A" (in officiating terms) unsportsmanlike technical foul called on the Wildcat guard.

"I deserved it, but I've got my respect," Clemente said.

Instead of tying the game, Sherron Collins made the two technical foul shots with 3:12 to go, followed by a Tyrel Reed 3-pointer with 12:44 to go, and another trey by Collins at the 12-minute mark that gave Kansas a 61-51 advantage.

KSU coach Frank Martin said that his guard apologized to the team in the locker room, adding, "He's very competitive. He's a very prideful person. He doesn't like to lose and he's not going to back down from anyone. He reacted in the wrong way. He paid and we paid."

While Clemente took blame for the loss, Martin said that his guard's emotional breakdown had nothing to do with the defensive lapses that led to the two 3-point fielders that took the lead to 10 points.

"We had some bad breakdowns on location, but they need to be given credit too," Martin said. "They made the right passes, they made the right plays. Our defense let us down."

Kansas State would later battle back to within two, 72-70, with three-plus minutes to play, but as Martin said, "Once we battled back, we couldn't get over the hump."

Behind Clemente's 26 points was Jacob Pullen with 22. It marked the first game this season when the two KSU guards both scored in twin figures in a losing effort.


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