No. 12 Kansas State (19-5, 7-4 in Big 12) finished the game on a 17-2 run to seal the victory and stay within striking distance of first place in the Big 12 Conference.
No. 17 TCU (17-7, 6-5 in Big 12) is now 4-6 in its last 10 games and is 1-2 without guard Mike Miles Jr., who is out with a hyperextended knee.
How Kansas State Won
By getting things going defensively. In the first meeting, Kansas State had 20 turnovers. They suffered at the hands of TCU’s stifling man-to-man defense. In this meeting, Kansas State was determined to set the tone defensively. They used man-to-man, zone and even a little press to try and keep TCU off its game. For the most part it worked. The Wildcats dictated pace with their defense and that helped them run up the score on the offensive end.
Markquis Nowell had 18 points and seven assists, the latter allowing him to become Kansas State’s all-time leader in single-season assists. Keyontae Johnson had to work hard to get his 14 points, as he dealt with foul trouble all night.
That meant the Wildcats needed more from other players and they came through. David N’Guessan had 10 points in the starting lineup. Off the bench, Desi Sills had 14 points and Tykei Greene had 13 points.
Plus, Kansas State had a 40-28 edge on the glass. And that was with Eddie Lampkin Jr. back for TCU.
How TCU Lost
TCU was not only outrebounded by 12 but the Horned Frogs had 19 turnovers. TCU is a team that averaged 11.9 turnovers entering the game and had the league’s second-best turnover margin (4.57). That was flipped on Tuesday night.
It wasn’t just the turnovers. It was the timing. It seemed every time TCU had a little momentum it made a mistake. It was due just as much to Kansas State’s defense as it was to TCU’s poor decision-making on offense. I’m not sure I’ve seen TCU make that many bad decisions on offense in a game this season.
Four Horned Frogs hit double figures, but none were dominant. Damion Baugh had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Ja’Kobe Coles and Micah Peavy each had 11 points, and Peavy had six steals. Emanuel Miller had 10 points and nine rebounds. Lampkin was back on the floor but didn’t have much of an impact. He didn’t score and had a rebound.
TCU’s Mike Miles Problem
The loss to Kansas State exposed just how much TCU misses Mike Miles. It’s not just the 18.1 points per game. It’s that Miles WANTS the ball in his hands in big moments.
When TCU cut the lead to six points it was finally a ball game. Well, Kansas State went on a huge run to end any hope of a Horned Frogs rally. But, TCU’s shot selection was poor. No one seemed to know the right shot to take at the right time. Long 3-pointers, rushed lay-ups, bad decisions abounded in the final moments.
Those are the times in which Miles excels.
TCU didn’t just miss his scoring. It missed his ball handling. TCU’s up-tempo pace works in part because it has two ball handlers on the floor — Miles and Damion Baugh.
Baugh’s decision-making was lacking. And the player he goes to for key buckets wasn’t on the floor.
It’s clear that TCU may not get right until Miles gets right.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard