Cartier Diarra could have brought down the house, or at least silenced Texas Tech's United Supermarket Arena.
Instead, he landed in Kansas State coach Bruce Weber's dog house and watched from the bench as the Wildcats left Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday night with a disappointing 69-62 loss.
Diarra had just pulled the Wildcats within two points on a driving layup with 10:04 left in the second half when he came up with a steal and breakaway. He went in for a highlight-reel windmill dunk but instead slammed the ball off the rim and straight to Texas Tech, which immediately made him pay.
Davide Moretti drained a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to five, 47-42, and soon the Red Raiders were back in front by eight.
The loss was the sixth straight for K-State, which fell to 9-17 overall and 2-11 in the Big 12. Tech improved to 17-9, 8-5 in the conference.
Despite watching his team stumble down the stretch again, K-State Bruce Weber praised his team's effort.
"A lot of games I leave, win or lose, I'm not always very happy," Weber said on his postgame radio show. "I'm happy they competed and that's all I can ask."
He made only a veiled reference to Diarra, who did not return to the game after the missed dunk and also had words with Weber during a timeout earlier in the half.
"We talked about playing with a passion and I thought we matched their passion," Weber said. "I told them if they do that Saturday (against Texas) we'll be good at home.
"And then we talked about being coachable. I think for the most part, most of them are coachable — it's your attitude, it's your body language. It's buying in (and) it's staying together as a group, because we've got to have coaches on the court also. That's important."
The Wildcats were led offensively by Xavier Sneed with 15 points, Antonio Gordon with 14 and Diarra with 10. Gordon also had a team-high eight rebounds with Sneed and Diarra contributing four steals each.
Moretti had 18 points, Jahmi'us Ramsey 17 and Kyler Edwards 14 for Texas Tech, which shot 50 percent from the field, made eight 3-pointers to four for K-State and hit 15 of 17 free throws.
Tech opened the second half with a 7-2 run to push its three-point lead to eight, but K-State scored the next seven points on a Makol Mawien layup, Sneed 3-pointer and two Diarra free throws that cut it to 37-36 with 16:10 left. The Wildcats stayed within four points until Diarra's ill-fated dunk and the Moretti three at the other end.
A Ramsey 3-pointer and Edwards' fast-break layup stretched the lead to 52-44 at the 8:44 mark and the Raiders held K-State at arm's length the rest of the way.
K-State closed the first half with a 10-2 run to trim an 11-point deficit to 30-27 at the break.
The Wildcats certainly weren't in a zone offensively early on, but the switch to a zone defense to close out the half got them right back in the game.
After Edwards' two free throws put Tech up 26-15 with 6:09 left in the half, K-State turned the ball at the 5:51 mark. That's when the Wildcats went zone and it immediately paid off.
The Wildcats got two straight stops, and after Chris Clarke scored inside connected to put the Red Raiders up 28-17, K-State reeled off six straight points. Antonio Gordon scored inside, DaJuan Gordon on a drive from the right wing and Diarra on a pull-up jumper.
T.J. Holyfield's basket for Tech stopped the bleeding briefly, but K-State got consecutive inside baskets from Antonio Gordon to cut it to three at the break.
K-State shot 47.8% in the half, but made just 1 of 8 from 3-point range. The Wildcats also turned the ball over eight times.
Tech shot 50% in the period, including 3 of 11 3-pointers, and made 7 of 8 free throws. But the Red Raiders were hampered by 11 first-half turnovers.
Sneed led K-state in scoring at the break with eight points, while Diarra and Antonio Gordon each had six. Edwards' nine points paced Tech, with Ramsey adding seven.