12/14 KANSAS STATE (19-6, 7-5 Big 12) at OKLAHOMA (12-13, 2-10 Big 12)
Tuesday, February 14, 2023 >> 8:05 p.m. CT >> Lloyd Noble Center (11,562) >> Norman, Okla.
ESPNU / WatchESPN (link here)
- James Westling (play-by-play)
- Lance Blanks (analyst)
- John J. Wilson (producer)
K-State Sports Network
Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
Satellite Radio: Sirius XM 84/84
Online: Varsity Network [free]/ www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]
- Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
- Stan Weber (analyst)
K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ’07]
Record at K-State: 19-6/1st Year
Career Record: 21-6/1st Year+
vs. Oklahoma: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Oklahoma: Porter Moser [Creighton ’90]
Record at Oklahoma: 31-29/2nd Year
Career Record: 324-271/19th Year
vs. K-State: 3-1 [2-0 at Oklahoma]
Overall: Oklahoma leads 112-103
Big 12 Era: Oklahoma leads 20-18
In Norman: Oklahoma leads 66-28
At Lloyd Noble Center: Oklahoma leads 28-11
Active Streak: Oklahoma, 2
Tang vs. Oklahoma: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Tang vs. Porter Moser: 0-0 [0-0 on the road]
Oklahoma (12-13, 2-10 Big 12)
G: #25 Grant Sherfield
G: #12 Milos Uzan
G: #3 Otega Owen
F: #1 Jalen Hill
F/C: #35 Tanner Groves
No. 12/14 K-State (19-6, 7-5 Big 12) continues its 2-game road swing on Tuesday night with a visit to Oklahoma (12-13, 2-10 Big 12) for an 8 p.m., CT tip at the Lloyd Noble Center. In a weird scheduling twist, this will be the first meeting between the teams this season with the second contest coming the final week of the regular season on March 1. The teams have split the last 10 meetings with the Sooners winning both regular-season matchups in 2022.
- K-State’s turnover problems once again proved to be detrimental in the 71-63 loss at Texas Tech on Saturday, as the Wildcats’ season-high 23 turnovers led to 28 points for the Red Raiders. The team is allowing 23.8 points off 17.8 turnovers in their 5 Big 12 losses compared to just 15.3 points off 13.6 turnovers in their 7 league wins. The loss dropped K-State into a 3-way tie for fourth place with Iowa State and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 standings, 2 games behind leader Texas and a game back of second place Baylor and Kansas.
- K-State is still off to one of its best starts, as the current 19-6 record ties 4 other teams for the third-best record after 25 games in the past 50 seasons with only the 1972-73 (21-4), 2009-10 (21-4) and 2012-13 (20-5) having better marks in that span. Among the 13 wins in the last 18 outings is a 9-game streak from Dec. 3, 2022 to Jan. 10, 2023, which was the longest by the Wildcats since a 10-game winning streak in 2013-14, and a 4-0 start in Big 12 play.
- K-State’s 19-6 start under head coach Jerome Tang is the second-best by a first-year coach in school history, just behind the 15-2 record by Zora G. Clevenger (1916-17). Tang’s 19-6 start also ranks among the very best by all first-year coaches in Division I, tying Missouri’s Dennis Gates (19-6) and Xavier’s Sean Miller (19-6) for the best mark. His next victory will make him just the fourth K-State head coach (Lon Kruger [1986-87], Bob Huggins [2006-07] and Frank Martin [2007-08]) to win 20 or more games in his first season.
- Seniors Keyontae Johnson (17.6 ppg.) and Markquis Nowell (16.9 ppg.) have been one of the most prolific tandems in the country, as they combine to average 34.5 points per game on 45.1 percent (277-of-614) shooting, including 37.1 percent (86-of-232) from 3-point range, and 80.8 percent (223-of-276) from the free throw line. They are the fourth-most prolific scoring duo among the power conferences, including the second-best in the Big 12. They were each named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy, John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy Watch Lists, while each were selected to their respective position award (Bob Cousy and Julius Irving) Top 10 lists.
- Nowell joined elite company in the win over TCU on Feb. 7, as his 7 assists allowed him to pass Steve Henson (186; 1987-88) to become the school’s single-season leader. His current total of 191 assists rank third nationally, while he is third in assists per game (7.6 apg.). He is one of 3 active Division I player with at least 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals. In addition, he has accumulated 250 career steals, which are first among active Division I players.
NOTES ON OKLAHOMA
- Oklahoma (12-13, 2-10 Big 12) enters Tuesday’s game having lost 4 in a row, including a 78-55 loss to No. 9/8 Kansas on Saturday at home. Despite the skid, the Sooners own one of the most impressive wins of the season, a 93-69 victory over No. 2/2 Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 28.
- Oklahoma is averaging 67.5 points on 46.8 percent shooting, including 34.9 percent from 3-point range, with 32.6 rebounds, 13 assists, 5.6 steals and 3.1 blocks per game, while allowing 67.4 points on 43 percent shooting, including 30.4 percent from 3-point range. The Sooners are connecting on 72.5 percent from the free throw line.
- The Sooners are led by senior Grant Sherfield, who is averaging 16.5 points on 42.5 percent shooting, including 42.1 percent from 3-point range. He is joined in double figures by senior Jalen Hill, who is averaging 10.2 points on 52 percent shooting. Senior Tanner Groves is averaging 9.6 points on 52.6 percent shooting with a team-high 6.9 rebounds. Brother Jacob Groves is averaging 7.2 points. Sherfield has a team-best 83 assists.
- Oklahoma is led by second-year head coach Porter Moser, who has a 31-29 record. He led the Sooners to 19-16 record and a trip to the NIT in 2021-22. Overall, he is 324-271 in his 19th season as a head coach. He is 3-1 all-time vs. K-State, including 2-0 at Oklahoma.
- Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 112-103, including a 66-28 edge in games played in Norman and 28-11 at the Lloyd Noble Center. It is the 5th-most played rivalry in school history, as the teams have played each other for 96 consecutive seasons dating to Feb. 5, 1927. The Sooners are also 20-18 in the Big 12 era with the teams splitting last 5 meetings.
- Oklahoma has won 3 of the last 4 meetings, including a sweep of the regular-season series in 2022 with a 71-69 win at home on Jan. 1 and a 78-71 victory in Manhattan on March 5. The last K-State win came at home on Feb. 23, 2021, while the last win in Norman came on Jan. 16, 2019.
LAST 10 MEETINGS [5-5]
Date Rank Result Score Location
2/16/2018 —/— W 87-69 Manhattan
2/24/2018 —/— L 77-86 Norman
1/16/2019 —/— W 74-61 Norman
3/9/2019 —/— W 68-53 Manhattan
1/4/2020 —/— L 61-66 Norman
1/29/2020 —/— W 61-53 Manhattan
1/19/2021 —/— L 50-76 Norman
2/23/2021 —/— W 62-57 Manhattan
1/1/2022 —/— L 69-71 Norman
3/5/2022 —/— L 71-78 Manhattan
OKLAHOMA 78, K-STATE 71 [Mar. 5, 2022]
- Despite sensational efforts from senior Mark Smith and Mike McGuirl, who had a combined 43 points in their final games at Bramlage Coliseum, Oklahoma got its own special performance from senior Umoja Gibson who led all scorers with 29 points, as the Sooners got a sweep of the season series with a 78-71 victory in the last meeting on March 5, 2022.
- Oklahoma led by as many as 11 points, including 70-59 with 4:27 to play, while K-State was able to close to 73-67 on a 3-pointer by Nijel Pack with 2:20 left, but the Wildcats could get no closer in the 78-71 loss.
- Smith scored 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting to go with 9 rebounds while playing all but 38 seconds, while McGuirl added 21 points to go with game-highs in assists (5) and steals (3) in nearly 39 minutes.
LAST TIME OUT: TEXAS TECH 71, 12/11 K-STATE 63
- No. 12/11 Kansas State had numerous chances to take the lead in the final minutes but could not quite make the right play at the right time in dropping a 71-63 decision at Texas Tech on Saturday night before a crowd of 12,973 at United Supermarkets Arena.
- The Wildcats had opportunities to win the game down the stretch despite a season-high 23 turnovers which the Red Raiders converted into 28 points. It is the most points allowed to an opponent via turnovers since Texas Tech scored 30 in a win on Jan. 17, 2020.
- Seven times in the last 12 minutes K-State was within one possession and each time Texas Tech had an answer. The Red Raiders responded with 3-point plays after the Wildcats closed to within 2 points at 43-41 and 46-44 midway through the second half.
- K-State closed to 50-49 on 2 free throws by senior Keyontae Johnson and a 3-pointer from reserve Desi Sills with under 9 minutes to play then again at 52-51 on 2 more free throws by senior Markquis Nowell with 8:19 remaining. However, each time Texas Tech made a clutch shot, including a dunk by junior D’Maurian Williams after the Sills’ 3-pointer and a layup by senior De’Vion Harmon, who led all scorers with 20 points, after Nowell’s free throws.
- Two more free throws by Nowell gave the Wildcats’ one last opportunity at 62-61 with 1:45 to play, but the Red Raiders were able to answer with a layup from sophomore Jaylon Tyson that ignited a 9-2 run to end the game that included a jumper from Harmon and 4 free throws from senior Kevin Obanor.
- Nowell led three players in double figures with 18 points, while Sills and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Johnson did not reach double figures for the first time this season, scoring 9 points on 3-of-11 field goals but he did grab a game-high 8 rebounds to go with 3 assists.
- For the game, K-State hit on just 35.2 percent (19-of-54) of its field goals, including 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from long range, while hitting on 67.9 percent (19-of-28) from the free throw line. Although the Wildcats were able to turn the Red Raiders over 18 times, they scored just 14 points off those miscues.
- Texas Tech got a spirited effort from Harmon – the transfer from Oklahoma and Oregon – who had a game-high 20 points on 7-of-16 field goals to go with 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 31 minutes. He was joined in double figures by freshman Lamar Washington with 13, Tyson with 11 and Obanor with 10.
- The Red Raiders hit on 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the field, including 28 percent (7-of-25) from 3, and made 72 percent (18-of-25) of their free throws.
POSTGAME NEWS & NOTES
- K-State still leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 26-22, while the Red Raiders have now won 9 in a row at home… Tech holds a narrow 21-19 edge in the Big 12 era, as the teams split the series for second year in a row.
- K-State has now lost 4 straight Big 12 road games after opening 2-0.
- K-State fell to 9-3 in games decided by single digits (9 points or less).
- K-State held a 36-32 rebounding advantage, including 12 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 11 second-chance points… The Wildcats are now 11-2 when winning the rebounding battle.
- K-State got 26 points from its bench, which marked the third consecutive game with 20 or more bench points.
- K-State is now 6-4 this season when trailing at the half.
TANG DEBUTS AS HEAD COACH
- First-year head coach Jerome Tang enjoyed a successful a debut, as the Wildcats posted a 93-59 win against UTRGV on Nov. 7, becoming the 24th man and the first full-time black head coach in school history. He followed with his first road victory at Cal to start his tenure off with a 2-0 record. He is the sixth minority men’s head coach in K-State Athletics history, including the third in men’s basketball following interim head coach Darryl Winston (1984-85) and former full-time head coach Frank Martin (2007-12).
- K-State’s 19-6 start under Jerome Tang is the second-best by a first-year coach in school history, just behind Zora G. Clevenger, who went 15-2 in 1916-17. The start ties for the best by any current first-year coach in Division I with Missouri’s Dennis Gates (19-6) and Xavier’s Sean Miller (19-6).
- This is not Tang’s first time being a head coach, as he served as athletics director and head coach at Heritage Christian Academy in Cleveland, Texas from 1993-2003, leading the school to 5 TAPPS Division A State Championships.
- In addition, Tang twice served as interim head coach in his 19 seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at Baylor, leading the Bears to 4-0 record. He helped Baylor to wins over Texas (86-79 in OT) and at Texas Tech (82-48) during the 2012-13 season, while he guided the squad to wins over Louisiana (112-82) and Washington (86-52) to open the 2020-21 season. Tang is only credited with the wins in 2013, moving his college head coaching record to 21-6.
A TEAM OF WINNERS
- Head coach Jerome Tang has remarked on a number of occasions that he recruited a team ‘full of winners’ as exemplified by the number of championships that the collective group has won.
- There are a combined 8 state championships among the 15 players on the roster, including 2 each won by seniors Desi Sills and Abayomi Iyiola and true freshmen Taj Manning. In addition, sophomore Jerrell Colbert and true freshman Dorian Finister also won state titles during their senior seasons.
- In addition to the high school success, a number of players have been a part of winning college programs, including Sills and Iyiola being members of Arkansas’ Elite Eight team in 2021 and senior Keyontae Johnson (Florida) and junior David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech) being a part of 2 NCAA Tournaments.
- This championship mentality stretches to the staff, as associate head coach Urlic Maligi has been part of 5 NCAA Tournament and 5 conference title teams in his career. Assistant coach Jareem Dowling has been involved with teams that have won 4 conference titles and earned 4 postseason trips, while assistant coach Rodney Perry is coming off a 2021-22 year in which he led Link Academy to a national runner-up finish at the GEICO National Tournament before helping MOKAN Elite to its third Nike Peach Jam title.
1700 WINS AND COUNTING
- K-State’s overtime 96-87 win over Nevada in the semifinals of the Cayman Islands Classic represented the 1,700th win in school history. The Wildcats are the 43rd Division I team to eclipse 1,700 wins, including the sixth Big 12 school.
- The Wildcats have a 1,714-1,219 (.586) all-time record as a program, which includes 31 NCAA Tournament appearances and 21 conference championships.
- K-State is one of 11 Division I schools whose men’s and women’s basketball teams have both won more than 1,000 games. Joining K-State is this unique club is Baylor, Georgia, Maryland, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, UConn and Western Kentucky.
SUCCESS IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
- With the 64-50 win over Florida in the final SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 28, K-State completed its non-conference schedule with a 12-1 mark, including a perfect 8-0 in home games (Nebraska was played at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City is considered a home game).
- The 12-1 record is the best non-conference record since the Wildcats won a program-best 13 non-conference games in 2009-10. The teams also won 12 non-conference games in both 2008-09 (12-3) and 2010-11 (12-3). K-State had won just 19 non-conference games, including 16 at home, in the 3 seasons (2019-20 to 2021-22) before this season.
- K-State has posted a 171-53 (.762) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07. During that span, the Wildcats have a 129-14 (.901) mark at home venues (includes games at Bramlage Coliseum, INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita and the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City in non-conference play, including a 119-12 (.908) mark at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State enjoyed a special night on offense in its 116-103 win over No. 6/6 Texas, as the Wildcats not only broke the school record for points but also tied the Big 12 record in handing the Longhorns their first loss in the brand-new Moody Center before a sold-out crowd of 10,763 fans on Jan. 3.
- The 116 points eclipsed the previous school-record mark of 115, which first came vs. Delaware State on Dec. 7, 1991, then again vs. Fresno State in the NIT on March 24, 1994. It was also the most-ever in a road game, surpassing the 108 at Iowa State on Jan. 29, 1975, while it was most in a conference game, topping the 114 scored vs. Nebraska at home on Jan. 10, 1987, and the most in a Big 12 game, surpassing the 111 vs. Missouri at home on Jan. 3, 1998.
- According to ESPN Stats & Info, K-State’s 116 points in the win at No. 6/6 Texas marked the most by an unranked team in a win over a top-10 opponent since Missouri scored 119 against Iowa State in 1988.
- All 5 starters scored in double figures, including a career-best 36 points from senior Markquis Nowell and a career-tying 28 by senior Keyontae Johnson. The 64 combined points tied for the fourth-most by a duo in school history and most since 2008, while it marked just the 16th time (including the second time this season) that tandem has each had at least 25 points in a game. Nowell’s 36 points are the seventh-most points by a Wildcat in a Big 12 game and the most since Barry Brown, Jr., scored 38 points vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 10, 2018.
- As a team, the Wildcats connected on 61 percent (36-of-59) from the field, including 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from 3-point range, and set a school-record by hitting on 93.9 percent (31-of-33) from the free throw line. It marked the first time the team has shot better than 60 percent against a Big 12 opponent since 2018, while the 13 treys tied for the sixth-most made in a conference game.
POTENT OFFENSIVE ATTACK
- K-State is averaging 76.4 points this season on 45.2 percent (657-of-1453) shooting, including 34.7 percent (177-of-510) from 3-point range, while hitting on 74.8 percent (418-of-559) from the free throw line. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in assists (16.9 apg.), while they are third in free throw percentage, fourth in scoring offense and fifth in 3-pointers/game and assist/turnover ratio.
- The current scoring average (76.4 ppg.) is on pace to be the sixth-best in school history and the highest since the 2009-10 team averaged 79.7 points per game. The 45.2 field goal percentage is on pace to finish in the top-10 in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the highest since 2017-18 (46.3 percent).
- K-State has scored 80 or more points 9 times, including 5 games of 90 or more points highlighted by the school-record 116-point effort in the win at No. 6/6 Texas (1/3/23), which was the first 100-point game since 2011. It is the most games of 80 or more points since posting 11 in 2017-18 and most games of 90 or more points since also totaling 5 in 2009-10.
- The 93 points vs. UTRGV (11/7/22) were the fourth-most in a season opener in the last 25 seasons and the most since scoring 98 vs. Southern Utah to open the 2014-15 season. The Wildcats also topped the 90-point barrier in a 96-87 overtime win over Nevada (11/22/22) at the Cayman Islands Classic, while the squad fell 2 points short of their first 100-point game since 2010-11, totaling 98 vs. UIW (12/11/22) behind a school-record first 7 double-digit scorers.
- Twice this season the Wildcats have had 2 players (Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson) score 25 or more points in the same game, which hadn’t happened since 2010. Nowell (29) and Johnson (28) combined for 57 points in the overtime win over Nevada (11/22/22) before they went for 64 in the win at No. 6/6 Texas (1/3/23), which ties for the fourth-most by a duo in school history and the most since Michael Beasley and Bill Walker at Baylor in 2008.
- K-State has connected on better than 50 percent of its field goals in 7 games, including back-to-back vs. Rhode Island (11/21/22) and Nevada (11/22/22) and ACU (12/6/22) and UIW (12/11/22). The team hit on a season-best 60 percent (36-of-60) vs. Texas (1/3/23), which included a season-high 13 3-pointers, and a school-record performance from the free throw line of 93.9 percent (31-of-33).
DISHING THE ROCK
- K-State ranks among the best in the country in sharing the basketball, as the Wildcats rank 13th nationally and first in the Big 12 with 16.9 assists per game. Among the 423 assists are 7 players with double-digit totals, including senior Markquis Nowell, who ranks third nationally in assists/game (7.6) and total assists (191). Nowell, who has double-digit assists in 6 games, became the school’s single season assist leader with his 7 dimes in the win over TCU.
- The Wildcats also rank in the top-10 with a 64.4 assist percentage according to KenPom, which calculates assists (423) to made field goals (657). Only Lafayette (69.1), Virginia (67.0), Xavier (66.9), Arizona (66.7), Tennessee (65.9) and Air Force (64.5) have a better percentage nationally.
- Although Nowell gets all the attention for his playmaking ability, the rest of the team has shared the ball, as the Wildcats have had 3 or more players dish out at least 2 assists in 19 of 25 games. The team had 7 players with 2 or more assists vs. UTRGV (11/7/22), while 6 vs. Nebraska (12/17/22) and Baylor (1/3/23) and 5 vs. UIW (12/11/22), Texas (1/3/23), TCU (twice) and Texas Tech (1/21/23).
TEAM FULL OF SCORERS
- K-State is one of just 15 schools to have at least four 1,000-point scorers on its roster, as Wildcats Tykei Greene (1,191 points), Keyontae Johnson (1,229 points), Markquis Nowell (1,731 points) and Desi Sills (1,327 points) have all reached the milestone in their Division I careers. Only Johnson, who did it against Radford (12/21/22), and Nowell have reached the mark while at K-State.
- K-State has now six 1,000-point scorers if you count senior walk-on Nate Awbrey, who scored 1,032 points in his 4-year career at Manhattan Christian College, and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin, who scored more than 1,000 points in his junior college career at Monroe (2019-20) and Chipola Colleges (2020-22).
- Missouri has 6 1,000-point scorers followed by Notre Dame, Penn State, San Diego and UAB with 5, while Alabama, Iowa State, K-State, Miami, UNC, Ohio State, Southern Utah, Texas, Xavier and Youngstown State have 4 such scorers.
- K-State is getting solid production from its bench through the first 25 games, as the Wildcats are averaging 18.4 points per game.
- The Wildcats got 41 points from its bench in the opener vs. UTRGV (11/7/22) with 3 reserves (Abayomi Iyiola (12), Massoud (10) and Sills (10) all posting double-digit points. As a group, the bench connected on 14-of-29 from the field, including a collective 11-of-17 effort by Iyiola, Massoud and Sills.
- Senior Desi Sills has been particularly impactful from the bench, scoring in double figures 11 times, including a season-high 24 points in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas (1/17/23). He is third on the team in scoring in Big 12 play, averaging 9.0 points on 47.9 percent shooting. Junior Ismael Massoud has also proved to be a spark of the bench, posting 4 double-digit scoring games, while averaging 6.5 points on 40.7 percent shooting in Big 12 play with 3 double figure games.
- K-State’s defense has forced 387 turnovers through the first 25 games, which includes 196 steals, while averaging 16.6 points per game off those miscues.
- The 15.5 turnovers forced per game ranks 33rd nationally, while it places fourth in the Big 12 behind Iowa State, TCU and Texas. K-State ranks sixth in steals (7.8) and seventh in turnover margin (+1.1), while senior Markquis Nowell places 13th nationally and second in the Big 12 in steals (2.32 spg.).
- K-State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers 6 times with a season-high 31 points off 26 UTRGV (11/7/22) turnovers in the season opener. The Wildcats scored 20+ points off miscues in back-to-back games vs. Kansas City (11/17/22; 26 points) and Rhode Island (11/21/22; 21 points) as well as ACU (12/6/22; 23 points), UIW (12/11/22; 28 points) and West Virginia (12/31/22; 22 points).
JOHNSON MAKES RETURN TO COURT
- Junior Keyontae Johnson made his triumphant return to basketball court on Nov. 7 in the season opener with UTRGV after a 2-year absence after suffering a medical emergency against Florida State on Dec. 12, 2020. He finished the night with 13 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in a team-high 26 minutes.
- Johnson was named the March Madness National Player of the Week and the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 14, as he averaged 14.5 points on 47.6 percent (10-of-21) shooting, including 57.1 percent (4-of-7) from 3-point range, to go with 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the Wildcats’ first 2 wins.
- Johnson helped the Wildcats win the Cayman Islands Classic and was named to the All-Tournament team, as he averaged a team-best 19.3 points on 53.6 percent (15-of-28) shooting, including 50 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.0 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game.
- Johnson earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors for the second time this season on Dec. 19 after his impressive performance in K-State’s win over Nebraska, as he posted game-highs in both points (23) and rebounds (11) to go with his career-tying 4 steals. It was his seventh career double-double with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, while it was his 11th career 20-point game.
- Johnson was selected for the Newcomer award for the third time on Jan. 9 after posting consecutive 20-point games in wins at No. 6/6 Texas and No. 19/17 Baylor while adding a game-high 9 rebounds in each contest. He continued his impressive play with the game-winning dunk to cap a 24-point effort in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas before logging his third double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds vs. Texas Tech to earn Newcomer honors for fourth time on Jan. 23.
- Johnson has scored in double figures in a team-best 24 games, leading the Wildcats and ranking second in the Big 12 in scoring (17.6 ppg.). He is second in the league in field goal percentage (51.3), while he is in the top-15 in 6 other categories. He is one of two Big 12 players (Kansas’ Jalen Wilson) rank in the league’s top-5 in scoring and rebounding in overall and conference-only games.
NOWELL STILL RUNNING THE SHOW
- On a team with 13 new players and a new staff, fifth-year senior Markquis Nowell once again has demonstrated he is still the guy running the show for the Wildcats, as he leads in both assists (7.6 apg.) and steals (2.3 spg.) while averaging the second-most points (16.9 ppg.). He was named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy, John R. Wooden and Naismith Trophy Award Midseason Watch Lists and Bob Cousy Point Guard Award Top 10 List.
- Nowell ranks third nationally in assists/game (7.6 apg.) and total assists (191), while he is in the top-30 in four other categories, including 13th in steals (58) and steals/game (2.3), 16th in free throws (125) and 27th in minutes/ game (36.2). He is one of 3 Division I players with at least 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals, while he recently eclipsed 1,700 points in his career. He also ranks first among all active Division I players in steals (250).
- Nowell was recognized for his MVP performance in helping the Wildcats win the Cayman Islands Classic, as he was selected as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Nov. 28. He averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 33.6 minutes per game. It was his first weekly honor in the Big 12 and his fourth overall after winning it 3 times in the Sun Belt.
- In wins vs. Rhode Island and Nevada, Nowell became the first Wildcat to record double-digit assists in consecutive games, while he became the second player in school history and the first since 1989 to post a 25-point/10-assist game with his 29-point, 11-assist effort in the overtime win over the Wolf Pack.
- Nowell was part of the first Wildcat duo since 2010 to each collect at least 25 points in a game, as he and fellow senior Keyontae Johnson combined for 57 points in the overtime win over Nevada. He capped the tournament with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting in the title game win over LSU, as he helped the Wildcats rally from an 11-point second-half deficit.
- Nowell enjoyed a special performance in the historic win at No. 6/6 Texas, scoring a career-best 36 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range, to go with a perfect 12-of-12 effort from the free throw line. It was the seventh-most points by a Wildcat in a Big 12 game and the most since Barry Brown, Jr., scored 38 points vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 10, 2018.
- Nowell capped his impressive week with the school’s first 30-point, 10-assist game in the win at No. 19/17 Baylor, scoring 32 points while dishing a career-best 14 assists. He became the first Wildcat since Michael Beasley in 2008 with consecutive 30-point games, while his 14 assists tied the record for most in a conference game in school history. In addition to his second Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, he was named the NCAA March Madness, ESPN, Naismith Trophy and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week.
- Nowell nearly posted the school’s first triple-double in the win over Florida on Jan. 28, scoring 13 points on 4-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, to go with a career-tying 9 rebounds and a game-high 8 assists. He has 5 double-doubles (points/assists) this season and 13 in his career.
- Nowell became the school’s single season assists leader (187) in the win over TCU, as he eclipsed the record of Steve Henson (186) set in 1987-88.
AN INSTANT IMPACT
- Junior transfer Nae’Qwan Tomlin has given K-State another scoring threat in the post, as the junior college All-American ranks third on the team in scoring (10.2 ppg.) while connecting 45.2 percent (95-of-210) from the field to go with 5.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks in 27.9 minutes per game. He ranks in the Big 12’s top-15 in rebounding (12th) and blocks (11th).
- Tomlin was selected as the Big 12 co-Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 26 after his near double-double in the win over Radford on Dec. 21. He led four Wildcats in double figures with a season-high 26 points, as he hit on 11-of-18 field goals, which included 4 dunks, a 3-pointer and 3 free throws, to go with 9 rebounds.
- Tomlin saw his streak of double-digit scoring games end at 7 games after scoring 9 points in the win at No. 19/17 Baylor. The streak began with 14 points vs. Wichita State and was highlighted by 15-point efforts vs. UIW and Nebraska and a career-best 26 points vs. Radford. In that 7-game stretch, he averaged 14.9 points on 55.4 percent (41-of-74) shooting to go with 6.3 rebounds.
- Tomlin has grabbed 10 rebounds twice this season, while posting his first career double-double (15 points/10 rebounds) in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas. He has scored in double figures in 5 games in Big 12 play.
- Tomlin scored more than 1,000 points in his junior college career at both Monroe College (2019-20) and Chipola College (2020-21) while connecting on 54.2 percent from the field. He averaged a team-leading 13.8 points on 52.4 percent shooting with 5.9 rebounds during his All-American season at Chipola, as he guided the school to the semifinals of the NJCAA National Tournament.
STARTER OFF THE BENCH
- Senior Desi Sills has provided a spark for the Wildcats off the bench, as he is averaging 8.7 points on 45.2 percent (76-of-168) shooting with 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 28.5 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures 11 times, including a season-high 24 points in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas.
- Sills scored in double figures in 2 of the first 3 games, including 10 in his first game as a Wildcat vs. UTRGV. He scored 16 points vs. LSU in the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic, hitting on 6-of-9 field goals, before his 17-point effort at Butler, which all came in the second half. He has scored in double figures in each of the last 3 games, including 14 vs. TCU.
- Although Sills went scoreless in the win over Wichita State, he had the play of the game with his block of Shammah Scott’s breakaway layup with 1:42 to play with the Wildcats trailing 50-49.
UP NEXT: 18/19 IOWA STATE (16-8, 7-5 Big 12)
- K-State returns home to Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to No. 18/19 Iowa State (16-8, 7-5 Big 12) at 1 p.m., CT on ESPN. The Cyclones won the first meeting, 80-76, at home on Jan. 24.