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Feb 9, 2024 12:38 pm

Kansas State eyeing another upset at No. 21 BYU

kansas state wildcats

Kansas State will attempt to knock off a second straight Top 25 opponent when it visits No. 21 BYU on Saturday in Provo, Utah.

The Wildcats (15-8, 5-5 Big 12) outlasted No. 4 Kansas 75-70 on Monday to give life to fading NCAA Tournament hopes. Buoyed by 26 points from Tylor Perry, Kansas State rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to snap a four-game losing streak. The Wildcats also improved to 6-0 in overtime games this season.

Kansas State’s defense shut down Kansas in overtime. The Jayhawks shot just 2 of 9 from the field over the final five minutes.

“In overtime, it’s about players making plays,” Wildcats coach Jerome Tang said. “They don’t feel the pressure. We work on it every day in practice, but I don’t know that that’s necessarily the reason. I think guys just make plays and their confidence level grows.”

The Wildcats were able to overcome turnover troubles to scratch out a much-needed win. Kansas scored 21 points off 16 Kansas State turnovers. The Jayhawks had 11 steals and 16 fastbreak points. The Wildcats finished with a 43-33 advantage on the glass. Cam Carter led the way, collecting a team-high 11 rebounds to go with 19 points.

Taking care of the ball and rebounding well will also be critical going into a tough road environment at BYU.

BYU (16-6, 4-5) is looking to get back on track after falling 82-66 at Oklahoma on Tuesday. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Cougars.

Aly Khalifa sat out a second straight game with an undisclosed illness and, without him in the lineup, the short-handed Cougars ran out of gas against the Sooners. BYU played just eight players and the tired legs showed as the game progressed. The Cougars missed tons of shots at the rim and shot just 35.9 percent from the field overall.

Fousseyni Traore carried BYU on offense for a second straight game, scoring 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Traore averaged 22.5 points per game during the Cougars’ two-game road swing against Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Prolonged offensive droughts ultimately doomed BYU against the Sooners. The Cougars didn’t score over the final 3 1/2 minutes before halftime, allowing Oklahoma to erase a five-point deficit. Then, BYU managed just seven points over the final four minutes.

“I thought they had a well thought-out approach to what they were going to give us, and what they weren’t going to give us,” BYU coach Mark Pope said.

Their 3-point shooting will need to improve for the Cougars to avoid a second consecutive loss. BYU went 8 of 26 from beyond the arc against Oklahoma. Dallin Hall accounted for four of those buckets.

Kansas State leads the series with BYU 4-3. This is their first meeting since the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament where Kansas State won 84-72 to advance to the Sweet 16. The Cougars are 2-0 in Provo against the Wildcats.

–Field Level Media

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