MANHATTAN, Kan. — After watching Kansas State break its arena record for fewest points in a half, Georgia coach Mark Fox felt his team was in for a second-half dogfight.
The Bulldogs surrendered a 15-point lead, but a key 3-pointer from Nemanja Djurisic sparked a game-ending 7-0 run to give them a win in their final road game in nonconference play Wednesday.
Charles Mann had 17 points and Marcus Thornton had 11 points as Georgia knocked off Kansas State 50-46.
“We talked mostly at the half about that,” Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said. “(We said), ‘Get ready because they’re going to test your manhood. We’re going to have to stand up and answer it.’ Fortunately, the last three minutes we did it.”
Mann led the Bulldogs in scoring for a second consecutive game and fourth time this season.
With the loss, Kansas State has dropped back-to-back nonconference home games for the first time since 1987.
Thomas Gipson led Kansas State with 19 points, including a 7-of-10 performance from the free-throw line.
After falling behind by as many as 15 points, Kansas State built a 46-43 lead with 2:50 left.
However, Djurisic’s 3-pointer thwarted its momentum, giving Georgia a 47-46 lead with 1:05 left.
The Bulldogs made three of their four final free throws to clinch the road victory.
Gipson, who was coming off the bench for the first time this season, ignited Kansas State’s late 15-4 scoring run with seven points. The offensive push cut Georgia’s lead to 39-35 with 7:33 left.
Kansas State dug itself out of an offensive hole, overcoming a 21.7-percent shooting performance in the first half.
A turnover-laden first 20 minutes came back to bite the Wildcats, however, as control of the game’s opening half fell in the hands of Mann and company.
A technical on Fox propelled the Bulldogs on a 12-2 scoring run over the final 10 minutes of the first half.
Despite shooting 28.6 percent from the field (6 of 21), Georgia took a 20-12 lead into the locker room. It benefited from 16 Kansas State turnovers in the first half and scored 16 points off of the miscues.
The turnover-heavy game included a stretch of seven Wildcat turnovers in the game’s opening seven minutes. The miscues forced Kansas State coach Bruce Weber to mix and match his lineups.
“You can’t turn it over like that,” Weber said. “You’ve got to play hard and do the things it takes. Otherwise we’ve got to play other people.”
Kansas State’s 12 first-half points were the second fewest in school history, falling behind an 11-point first half against Oklahoma State on Jan. 6, 1992.
Bramlage Coliseum wasn’t foreign to Fox as he grew up in Garden City, Kansas, and spent six seasons courtside in Manhattan from 1994-2000.
“Coach (Jack) Hartman, (Tex) Winter and (Tom) Asbury taught me so much when I was here,” Fox said. “It was very emotional coming back. It was more emotional than any game I’ve coached outside of the game after my dad died last year.”
The combined 96 points tied a Bramlage Coliseum record for the fewest in a game. The previous record was set on Dec. 29, 2012 when Kansas State knocked off UMKC 52-44.
The game was only the second to take place between the two programs. Kansas State won the only other matchup 82-79 in overtime during the NCAA West Regional First Round on March 12, 1987.
K-State opens Big 12 play at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Georgia plays Norfolk State on Saturday.