K-State rides D to 88-65 win over Texas A&M

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Denis Clemente scored 20 of his 24 points in a dominating first half and No. 13 Kansas State rode its stifling defense to an 88-65 rout over Texas A&M Tuesday night.

Kansas State (14-2, 1-1 Big 12) quickly erased the memory of Saturday's struggle against Missouri with a resounding win in its conference home opener. The Wildcats jumped on Texas A&M early and kept the Aggies down with a harrassing defense to set a Bramlage Coliseum record with their 13th straight win - 10th this season.

Jamar Samuels had 19 points and Jacob Pullen added 15 for Kansas State, which held Texas A&M to 36 percent shooting.

Coming off a solid home win over Nebraska in its conference opener, Texas A&M (12-4, 1-1) faces a brutal week that opened with Kansas State and ends Saturday in Austin against new No. 1 Texas.

This wasn't how the Aggies wanted to get it started.

Unable to match Kansas State's energy early, Texas A&M trailed by as much as 15 in the first half, sealed its fate by failing to hit a field goal the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second. The Aggies struggled from the perimeter for the second straight game, hitting 2 of 17 from 3-point range after going 3 for 21 against Nebraska.

Khris Middleton had 16 points and Bryan Davis 13 for Texas A&M, 0-9 all-time in the Little Apple.

The outcome shouldn't have been much of a surprise; Big 12 home teams are a staggering 113-1 at home this season.

The Wildcats didn't leave much doubt the trend would continue.

Three days after getting almost no production from its front line against Missouri, Kansas State dominated inside early. The Wildcats had 10 rebounds before Texas A&M got its first and grabbed four offensive boards in the first 3 1/2 minutes, jumping out to a 13-4 lead.

Texas A&M never really recovered. The Aggies made a few brief runs early, but Kansas State gradually pulled away in first half, turned it into a rout with a 11-1 run to start the second.

Clemente was the spark.

Kansas State had been waiting for the senior to find his range. Last year's leading scorer, he's only scored in spurts this season, shooting 28 percent from 3-point range.

Boy, was Clemente feeling against Texas A&M, hitting all five of his 3s in the first half.

And it wasn't just that he was making shots. It was how he was making them.

Two 3-pointers came on pull-ups in transition that barely made the net ripple. Another came on a clock-beating 25-footer to clean up a disjointed possession. For good measure, Clemente, added an offbalance flip off a loose ball for a three-point play that put Kansas State up 35-21.

If it was just Clemente, maybe the Aggies survive. But they couldn't stop Samuels, either.

The athletic sophomore leaped over and slashed around the Aggies for 12 points by halftime, helping Kansas State to a 45-33 lead. The Wildcats never let Texas A&M any closer, grinding their way through a second half filled with 32 fouls.

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