Manhattan Kansas State went to overtime for the second time in four days. The Wildcats managed to win this time, but that didn’t mean coach Frank Martin was happy about it.
“We had 19 turnovers halfway through the second half,” Martin said after Kansas State beat North Florida, 79-68, on Sunday. “We were completely disinterested, couldn’t make any shots. It’s hard to win that way.”
Thomas Gipson had 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wildcats (6-1). Will Spradling had 12 points, including a big three-pointer late in regulation, and Jamar Samuels also had 12 points for Kansas State.
The Wildcats were coming off their only loss of the season, an 85-80 double-overtime loss to West Virginia on Thursday night in Wichita.
Kansas State had a tougher time with the Ospreys than expected, and managed to pull it out in part because of free-throw shooting in overtime, when the Wildcats went 11-for-12. Gipson’s basket made it 64-63, and Kansas State kept the lead the rest of the way and committed no turnovers in the extra period, finishing with 19 for the game.
The Wildcats trailed late, but Spradling’s three-pointer with 19 seconds left gave Kansas State a 60-58 lead. Jimmy Williams’ basket for North Florida beat the buzzer and sent the game to overtime at 60-60.
Williams and Parker Smith led the Ospreys (5-5) with 13 points.
North Florida didn’t lead until Williams’ basket with 12:37 to play gave the Ospreys a 40-38 edge.
Samuels’ free throws put Kansas State ahead 57-55 with less than three minutes left before Williams’ three-point play put North Florida in front 58-57 with 1:43 remaining.
Spradling said Kansas State is in trouble if it keeps allowing comebacks like that one.
“When we get up like that, we need to just bury teams,” he said. “Once we get leads, we like to relax and let teams back in the game. We can’t be doing that, especially when Big 12 (season) comes, because if we do, we’re going to be the team getting buried.”
The Wildcats began the game with a 12-4 run. Rodney McGruder slashing to the rim got them a pair of baskets early, and the 275-pound Gipson got another basket inside.
The Ospreys got within 26-23 on Andy Diaz’s three-point play, followed by Williams’ basket.
Adrian Diaz, Andy’s younger brother who plays for the Wildcats, scored six straight points to push Kansas State’s lead to 32-23 with a minute to go in the half. Spradling’s accidental tip-in of a North Florida miss gave the Ospreys the final points of the first half.
North Florida scored the first six points of the second half to get within one, then Gipson took over to extend the Wildcats’ lead back to 38-33. Then the Ospreys scored seven in a row capped by Williams’ basket making it 40-38.
They continued to pick up steam, taking a 49-40 lead with 8:36 to play after Jerron Granberry’s consecutive three-pointers.
Kansas State pulled even at 55 behind inside play, with Gipson and Samuels each contributing four points to a 15-6 run.