for this game

Taylor sparks Texas past Kansas State

Feb 8, 2015 - 3:53 AM Manhattan, KS ( - Isaiah Taylor gave Texas a needed lift with 23 points as the 25th-ranked Longhorns held on for a 61-57 win over Kansas State in a matchup of struggling Big 12 programs.

Taylor's performance, along with a 12-point, nine-rebound effort from Connor Lammert, enabled Texas (15-8, 4-6 Big 12) to overcome the absences of injured starters Jonathan Holmes and Javan Felix and halt a season-long four-game skid.

"We played desperate," said Taylor. "I think today we did not get down on ourselves. Everyone played with an attitude that was the kind of cockiness that we needed to win today."

Both Holmes and Felix were held out with each experiencing symptoms from recent concussions.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, dropped a fourth straight contest and played their second consecutive game without leading scorer Marcus Foster, suspended by head coach Bruce Weber earlier in the week for violations of team rules.

Kansas State (12-12, 5-6) shot just 31.9 percent but hit 8-of-16 attempts from 3-point range to keep it close. Tre Harris went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc for 12 points, while Nino Williams scored 13 with eight rebounds.

"Our guys fought and battled," said Wildcats head coach Bruce Weber. "Obviously we had a lid on the hoop, and we are not the best offensive team. We had good momentum coming into the second half, but you have to give a lot of credit to Texas."

The Longhorns trailed 42-41 midway through a tightly contested second half before netting eight straight points to move in front to stay, though they weren't able to seal the outcome until the game's final seconds.

Taylor began the key surge with a go-ahead jumper and Kendal Yancy and Lammert each drained 3-pointers off KSU turnovers to stake Texas to a 49-42 lead with 8:15 remaining.

The Wildcats were able to make it a one-possession game down the stretch, though. Williams buried a triple with 1:07 left to trim the margin to 57-53, and the differential was down to two when Nigel Johnson hit one of his own with 27.7 seconds to go for a 59-57 score.

Taylor then missed both shots after being immediately fouled, though Kansas State's Thomas Gipson couldn't finish inside on the ensuing trip down the court. Players from both teams scrambled for the rebound, but the Longhorns had the possession arrow in their favor on the tie-up.

Taylor was subsequently fouled again and made both this time with only 1.4 seconds showing.

"My teammates knew that I wanted the ball back in my hands," Taylor said. "They got me the ball, fortunately, and I knocked two more down. It is just the confidence the coaches and my teammates have in me."

The game was tied 27-27 at the half despite Kansas State shooting miserably for most of the period. The Wildcats started 3-of-21 from the floor -- including 12 straight misses -- and were held scoreless for over eight minutes as Taylor led a 13-0 run that put Texas up 24-12 heading towards the final media timeout.

Harris then caught fire, burying three straight 3-pointers to ignite a 13-2 KSU spurt to close out the half. Jevon Thomas pulled the Wildcats even after hitting two free throws when fouled by Taylor on a steal with 2.8 seconds on the clock.

Another Harris trey, followed by two Gipson free throws, propelled Kansas State to a 32-29 edge 1:43 into the second half.

Game Notes

Texas posted its first victory in Bramlage Coliseum since Feb. 25, 2008, having lost in its last four visits to Manhattan ... Johnson finished with 10 points and went 3-of-5 on 3-point tries ... Kansas State made 19-of-25 free throw attempts, while the Longhorns were just 17-of-28 from the line ... Texas has lost five straight in Big 12 play just once in Rick Barnes' 17 seasons, occurring in 2012-13.