Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Cats Falter Late against No. 9 Tar Heels ; K-State Outscored 21-3 Down Stretch in 80-70 Loss to North Carolina

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Cats Falter Late against No. 9 Tar Heels ; K-State Outscored 21-3 Down Stretch in 80-70 Loss to North Carolina

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It may take a day or two, but Kansas State will soon come to appreciate the game it played Tuesday.

For 36 minutes the Wildcats were in position to pull off a major upset over No. 9 North Carolina. The final four minutes were a far different story as the Wildcats fell victim to their youth and exuberance and the Tar Heels pulled out an 80-70 victory in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at Sprint Center.

"Obviously, it's disappointing," K-State coach Bruce Weber said. "We came here to win and to learn about our team. We competed with one of the best teams in the country down to the end.

"The last two or three minutes they picked it up a notch and we got a little hesitant and made some mistakes. They hit some big shots so you have to give them a lot of credit, but at the same time we broke down on some things on the defensive end."

K-State (4-1) held an eight-point lead with 4:21 remaining but was outscored 21-3 the remainder of the game.

"I think we got a bit too excited," Wildcat guard Justin Edwards said. "We should have slowed down and been more disciplined. I think we tried to do a bit too much."

Freshman guard Kamau Stokes poured in 24 points with six 3- pointers but he had back-to-back turnovers that North Carolina (5- 1) converted into the tying and go-ahead baskets.

"I think I played within the system," said Stokes, who was named to the all-tournament team along with Edwards. "Coach called the play and we executed off it early. At the end of the game, we just didn't have the discipline to finish the game.

"Everybody played well. We played hard throughout the whole game but we just didn't execute at the end."

Stokes came into the game having made 3 of 14 shots behind the 3- point line and connected on 6 of 8.

"Kam was special tonight," Weber said. "I know he feels bad because he made a couple of mistakes at the end but if it wasn't for him we wouldn't have been in the game."

North Carolina had a strong start, going to the rim for two layups and two dunks and jumping out to an 8-2 lead. …

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