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Marcus Foster scores 23 points off bench as Kansas State beats TCU 58-53 to open Big 12 play

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MANHATTAN, Kansas — Marcus Foster could have continued to sulk. He could have brooded over Kansas State coach Bruce Weber's decision to bench him. He could have checked out on his team.

Instead, he had two of his best practices of the season.

The sophomore guard carried that momentum right into Wednesday night's game against TCU, scoring 23 points off the bench and sending Kansas State to a 58-53 victory.

"He had two great practices, acted and played like we hoped he should," Weber said. "But I told him, 'I can't start you. You have to earn it on the court, for yourself and for the team,' and obviously he had a pretty good night tonight."

Especially in the closing minutes, when the game was on the line.

Kansas State led most of the way, but TCU was still within 48-44 with 1:14 left when Nino Williams was fouled near midcourt. The senior forward was hurt on the play and Foster was picked to shoot the free throws, calmly draining both to extend the Wildcats' lead.

Kyan Anderson missed a jumper at the other end, and the ball wound up in Foster's hands again. He made two more foul shots to put the game away.

"You know, just getting it back, playing hard, the things I do well. That's what it came down to," said Foster, who was benched in last weekend's loss to Oklahoma State, and responded by spending most of the game stewing on the sideline. "I got away from the things I did last year. That's why I went through a little slump. But I got my mind back, got it right."

Williams added eight points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats (8-7, 1-1 Big 12), while Trey Zeigler led the Horned Frogs (13-2, 0-2) with 19 points.

Anderson was held to eight points on 2-for-7 shooting.

"We just struggled offensively, a lot of guys, just in general," Zeigler said. "Kyan's our leading scorer, he had trouble getting points. Other guys have to step up."

Both teams started out as cold as the sub-zero wind chills outside Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State scored the game's first seven points, TCU scored the next eight, and the teams traded meager blows the rest of the first half. Only on a couple of occasions did either team threaten to build much of a lead, and each time the run ended with a clanked shot.

Foster checked into the game for the first time at the 14:07 mark and promptly drove to the basket for a layup. He knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing less than a minute later, putting all the troubles he's had the past couple of weeks behind him.

PHOTO: Kansas State guard Justin Edwards (14) steals the ball from TCU forward Chris Washburn (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Kansas State guard Justin Edwards (14) steals the ball from TCU forward Chris Washburn (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Karviar Shepherd spent most of the half on the TCU bench after picking up two fouls in the first 3½ minutes, yet the Frogs remained close thanks to some creative substitutions.

The Wildcats finally looked like they started to gain control early in the second half, turning a 22-19 advantage into a 36-26 lead with 14:40 to go. But again, Weber's motion offense stopped moving, and the Horned Frogs closed within 36-33 with 10 minutes left.

Foster helped to end the comeback, getting teammate Thomas Gipson involved. The big forward scored all seven of his points during a key stretch midway through the half, and Foster capped it with a pair of foul shots with 1:54 remaining that gave Kansas state a 48-41 lead.

The Wildcats were able to hold onto it the rest of the way.

"We've got to get over the hump. Got to get over the hump," TCU coach Trent Johnson said. "It got physical, kids got tested. That's all part of it."

TIP-INS

Kansas State: The Wildcats improved to 8-2 against TCU. ... Kansas State avoided losing three straight at Bramlage for the first time since February 2005.

TCU: The Horned Frogs were playing just their second road game of the season. They beat Ole Miss in December. ... Trey Zeigler's father, Ernie, was a K-State assistant from 1999-2000.

DEEP DROUGHT

The Horned Frogs were just 1 for 9 from beyond the arc, though the Wildcats weren't a whole lot better. They were 4 for 10 with Marcus Foster hitting three of their 3-pointers.

FOUL PARADE

The teams combined to shoot 53 foul shots. Kansas State was 22 of 29 from the line, and Foster was 10 of 12. TCU finished 14 of 24 on free throws.

UP NEXT

TCU returns home to face No. 21 Baylor on Saturday.

Kansas State heads to No. 16 Oklahoma on Saturday.

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PHOTO: Kansas State guard Justin Edwards (14) steals the ball from TCU forward Chris Washburn (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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