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3 keys to No. 25 BYU’s 84-74 loss to Kansas State

BYU forward Noah Waterman attempts to score as Kansas State guard Dai Dai Ames and forward Will McNair Jr., right, defend during game Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Manhattan, Kan.

The BYU basketball team that lives and dies by the 3-point shot died by it Saturday afternoon as the Cougars shot 19% (6 of 31) from beyond the arc and fell 84-74 to Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas.

Kansas State, which had lost seven of its last eight games before BYU’s visit, was 7 of 15 from deep to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Wildcats avenged a 72-66 loss to BYU two weeks ago in Provo.

Arthur Kaluma scored a career-high 28 points for the Wildcats (6-8, 16-11), while Jaxson Robinson led BYU (7-7, 19-8) with 15 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Robinson was 1 of 9 from 3-point range.

Here are three keys to the Cougars’ loss:

• Coming off Tuesday’s emotional win over No. 11 Baylor, the Cougars never played with the lead the entire game. Kansas State jumped out to a quick 16-4 lead, got the crowd involved and rolled to the streak-snapping win.

• BYU’s defense was poor last week in the win over UCF and the loss to Oklahoma State, then seemingly figured things out in the 78-71 win over Baylor on Tuesday. But the sloppy defense returned Saturday, as Kansas State shot 47% from deep (7 of 15) and 56% from the field. That’s the second-best shooting night of the season for KSU, which shot 57% against South Dakota State.

• In three games, BYU has not had an answer for Kaluma, who scored 27 points against BYU last year while playing for Creighton. The 6-foot-7 forward had 18 in Provo two weeks ago, then notched his career-best Saturday on 8 of 11 shooting. He was also 10 of 12 from the free-throw line as the Wildcats got 31 free-throw attempts compared to just 16 for BYU.

In BYU’s 72-66 win in Provo two weeks ago, KSU was 10 of 12 from the line and BYU was 10 of 21.