RUSTON – Louisiana Tech’s furious comeback fell just short Tuesday night as the Lady Techsters lost 64-61 to Kansas State at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Tech (2-6) trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half and 19 in the second half before cutting the lead down to 62-61 with less than a minute to play on an Eboni Mangum driving layup.
After Kansas State’s Ashley Sweat missed a three-pointer with 0:23 to play, Mangum pulled down the rebound and raced the length of the court before missing a jumper from the right wing.
Amber Metoyer pulled down the offensive rebound and Tech head coach Chris Long called a timeout with :07.9 to play to set up the potential game-winning play. However, Tech turned the ball over on the inbounds play and Kansas State hit two free throws with :03.2 to play to up the lead to 64-61.
Mangum’s off-balance three-pointer from 35 feet came up short and Kansas State escaped with the win.
“This was the worst half of basketball I’ve seen, and the best half,” Long said afterwards. “As poor as our effort was in the first half, it was that good in the second half. We have to learn to play for 40 minutes. We didn’t do that tonight.”
In the opening 20 minutes of play, Tech turned the ball over 15 times and allowed Kansas State to hit 59 percent (17-29) of their field goals en route to a 43-27 halftime lead. The Techsters simply didn’t defend.
“We didn’t guard anyone in that first half,” Long said. “They shoot the ball too well to give them open looks and we did.”
However, the second half was a different story. Tech limited the Wildcats (7-1) to 29 percent shooting (7-24) and forced 16 second half turnovers as it methodically climbed back into the game.
Trailing 57-42 with 9:43 to play, Tech used a 19-5 run to cut the deficit to one and give itself a chance.
“We tried to run Mangum off a staggered screen, and she was covered,” Long said. “We should have called a timeout, but we forced the pass inside instead. I wanted this win for these kids and these fans so badly.”
Mangum led Tech with 16 points while Jo Sneed added 13 and Ty Moore 11.
Claire Coggins led Kansas State with 17 points while Kimberly Dietz added 15 and Shalee Lehning and Marlies Gipson 10 each.