Taylor scores 17 as Texas beats Kansas State 60-57

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Far from pretty, Texas' win over Kansas State was certainly gritty. And it earned new coach Shaka Smart a very important milestone: his first Big 12 victory.

Isaiah Taylor scored 17 points and the Longhorns overcame a tough shooting night with some key late-game 3-pointers to beat the Wildcats 60-57, snapping a two-game losing skid.

''When it comes to the result, we always want to win, especially coming off a couple of losses, you want to get it any way you can,'' Smart said.

Javan Felix scored 14 for Texas (9-5, 1-1 Big 12) and his 3-pointer with just under 4 minutes left gave Texas its first lead of the second half. Barry Brown scored 15 for Kansas State (10-4, 0-2), but two 3-point attempts in the final seconds were both partially blocked.

The win also let Texas and Smart avoid the program's third 0-2 start in the Big 12 in four years.

''A must-win,'' said Taylor, a junior who has experienced the rugged road through the Big 12.

The Longhorns still struggled to find offensive rhythm after losing senior center Cam Ridley to a foot injury for 8-to-10 weeks three games ago. But despite a 6 of 23 shooting effort on 3-pointers, the Longhorns got key long-range baskets from Felix and Connor Lammert down the stretch to secure the win.

The Longhorns were 4 of 20 shooting 3-pointers before making two of their last three. Felix scored seven in a row in the run to grab the lead.

''That's my job: stay aggressive and keep shooting, even when the shots are not falling,'' Felix said.

Texas led 24-16 late in the first half before Kansas State closed with a 13-2 run to take a 29-26 lead into the locker room. Two Texas turnovers on the Longhorns' final two possessions led to easy layups, including a buzzer-beater by Carlbe Ervin II.

Taylor struggled in the first half with three fouls against just three points and three assists.

With little production inside, Texas kept firing away 3-pointers will little to show for it early in the second half. But even with those constant misfires, Kansas State struggled to build on its lead and could only push the margin as high as 45-41.

''It would help to jump up and make some shots,'' Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. ''You can say we're young, we're new, we play hard, but we can't accept losing.''

Texas grabbed its first lead of the second half when Felix hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and scored seven straight in a run that put the Longhorns up 58-52 with 3 minutes left.

''That's my job: stay aggressive and keep shooting, even when the shots are not falling,'' Felix said.

Lammert's 3-pointer put Texas up by 56-50 before Brown answered with a 3-pointer on the other end. Taylor made two of four free throws in the final seconds for the Longhorns.

''We were in a six-minute game and down two. It becomes a make-or-miss game,'' Smart said. ''I was proud of Connor for taking the 3 he made because he had missed a few beforehand.''

TIP-INS

Kansas State: The Wildcats continue to struggle on the road with just four wins in the past two seasons.

Texas: The Longhorns are still looking for better production inside without Ridley. Prince Ibeh and Shaq Cleare combined for 11 points.

MOMENTUM SHIFT:

Kansas State led 45-41 with 8:31 left, then made just four field goals and had four turnovers the rest of the way. ''They made the shots and we didn't get the stops. We had some real bad possessions,'' Weber said.

UP NEXT

Kansas State plays at No. 2 Oklahoma on Saturday

Texas plays at TCU on Saturday

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