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Recap: Texas Tech , Kansas State
Date: February 25, 2013 7:00 PM EDT
  

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - With three games remaining in the regular season, Kansas State continued to close in on an elusive conference title.

The 13th-ranked Wildcats last won a regular season league title in 1977, but thanks to unprecedented success under first-year coach Bruce Weber and an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak by rival Kansas, Kansas State is tied with the sixth-ranked Jayhawks for first place in the Big 12.

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Monday night's 75-55 victory over Texas Tech kept the Wildcats' hopes alive.

Now Kansas State has to keep its foot on the gas pedal.

``March is here,' Weber said. ``Next game is in March, and you want to be playing your best basketball. I hope they stay humble and they stay hungry. We've got to keep improving because in a couple weeks from now, you lose, it's over.'

Thomas Gipson scored 20 points, Angel Rodriguez added 16, and the Wildcats (23-5, 12-3 Big 12) got their 12th conference win for the first time in 40 years.

Dusty Hannahs scored 14 points for the Red Raiders (9-17, 2-13) and Jaye Crockett added 13.

The Wildcats did not take control until the second half, when reserve Nino Williams jump-started the offense with 11 straight points.

``That's been one of our keys to our team,' Weber said. ``Every day, it seems like it's somebody else that steps up. It's hard to stop every guy that we have.

``I've said since the beginning, we have eight starters, and all of them can be very, very productive.'

With Texas Tech leading 44-42, Williams got the lead with a three-point play. He scored again after the Wildcats forced a shot-clock violation. He cashed in under the basket after a turnover. The Red Raiders tried to cool off Williams by using a 30-second timeout, but he promptly drained a jumper, giving Kansas State a 51-44 lead - the Wildcats' largest of the half to that point - with 11:50 to play.

Moments later, he snagged an offensive rebound, scored again, and then grabbed a defensive rebound.

Williams' scoring burst started the rest of his team, which continued the one-sidedness with a scalding 24-6 run. Kansas State led 66-50 with less than 4 minutes to play.

``Sometimes you miss shots, sometimes you make them, and I just looked to crash the boards,' Williams said.

Kansas State opened the game with a 12-4 run that was capped by consecutive dunks by Rodney McGruder.

After that solid start, the Wildcats got sloppy, and the Red Raiders took advantage.

``I thought we had a chance to play well against them,' Texas Tech interim coach Chris Walker said. ``If we made a couple layups . we make a couple free throws, I think we go up five in the first half, and it may be a different game.'

The Red Raiders climbed within 15-12 as four Kansas State players committed a turnover each in a 4-minute spurt.

``One of the worst things that happened, we went up 12-4, and then we were a little giddy, we lost a little bit of focus, and to their credit they came right at us,' Weber said.

A 3-pointer by Ty Nurse gave the Red Raiders their first lead of the game with 1:53 to play in the half but a buzzer-beater from the baseline by McGruder gave the Wildcats a 31-30 lead.

Kansas State forward Jordan Henriquez, usually a starter, did not attend the game because he was traveling to New York for his grandmother's funeral. Gipson started in his place.

``We needed somebody to step up since JO's not here, and I just made the effort to step up and play harder than I normally play, just made an effort to do it on offense and defense,' Gipson said.

The seniors - of whom Henriquez is one - lead all classes in Kansas State history with 97 victories.

``I hope we keep adding onto that to where they get great distance and maybe no one ever catches them,' Weber said. ``They've done well. They've stayed focused. We can't look too far ahead. It's one at a time.'

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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