14/16 KANSAS STATE (20-7, 8-6 Big 12) vs. 9/10 BAYLOR (20-7, 9-5 Big 12)
Tuesday, February 21, 2023 >> 6:01 p.m. CT >> Bramlage Coliseum (11,000) >> Manhattan, Kan.
ESPN2 / WatchESPN (link here)
- Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play)
- Fran Fraschilla (analyst)
- Tom Scofield (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)
Limited tickets available in Sections 9, 24, 25
Tickets Priced at $15, $20, $45.
K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ’07]
Record at K-State: 20-7/1st Year
Career Record: 22-7/1st Year+
vs. Baylor: 1-0 [1-0 at K-State]
Baylor: Scott Drew [Butler ’93]
Record at Baylor: 417-229/20th Year
Career Record: 437-240/21st Year
vs. K-State: 18-17 [18-17 at Baylor]
Overall: Baylor leads 25-24
Big 12 Era: Baylor leads 24-19
In Manhattan: K-State leads 12-11
At Bramlage Coliseum: Baylor leads 11-9
Active Streak: K-State, 1
Tang vs. Baylor: 1-0 [1-0 at K-State]
Tang vs. Scott Drew: 1-0 [0-0 at home]
9/10 Baylor (20-7, 9-5 Big 12)
G: #1 Keyonte George
G: #4 L.J. Cryer
G: #10 Adam Flagler
F: #11 Jalen Bridges
F: #0 Flo Thamba
No. 14/16 K-State (20-7, 8-6 Big 12) concludes its 2-game homestand on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats welcome No. 9/10 Baylor (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) for a 6 p.m., CT tip on ESPN2. K-State won the first meeting, 97-95, in overtime on Jan. 7 in Waco, as the duo of Markquis Nowell (32) and Keyontae Johnson (24) combined for 56 points to narrowly outduel the tandem of Adam Flagler (23) and Keyonte George (22), who combined for 45 points. They are the Big 12’s second- (34.3 ppg.) and third best (32.7 ppg.) scoring duos behind Kansas’ Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick. The Wildcats have not swept the season series from the Bears since 2019, which is also the last time they won a game in Bramlage Coliseum in the series.
- Longtime friends Jerome Tang and Scott Drew will meet for the second time this season, as Tang got the better of Drew in the 97-95 overtime victory. Tang spent 19 seasons alongside Drew as an assistant coach (2003-17) and associate head coach (2017-22) at Baylor, helping them win 397 games, an NCAA title in 2021 and back-to-back Big 12 titles in 2021 and 2022.
- K-State was among 5 Big 12 teams to check into the top-16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s bracket preview on Feb. 18, as the Wildcats came in as a No. 3 seed. The Wildcats were joined by No. 1 seed Kansas, No. 2 seeds Baylor and Texas and fellow No. 3 seed Iowa State. No other league had more than 2 among the top-16 projections.
- K-State snapped a 2-game losing streak against Iowa State with a 61-55 win at home over the Cyclones on Saturday. The Wildcats used an impressive second-half effort from Nowell as well as a dominate defensive performance to rally back from an 8-point halftime deficit. Nowell scored 18 of his game-high 20 points after halftime, while the Wildcats held the Cyclones to just 24 points in the second half on 21.9 percent (7-of-32) shooting (full recap on page 3).
- K-State earned its 31st 20-win season and first since 2018-19 in the win over No. 19/18 Iowa State on Saturday. The 20-7 record is only surpassed by the 1972-73 (23-4), 2009-10 (23-4), 2012-13 (22-5), 1976-77 (21-6), 1981-82 (21-6) and 2018-19 (21-6) teams for the best in the past 50 seasons. Among the 14 wins in the last 20 outings is a 9-game streak from Dec. 3, 2022 to Jan. 10, 2023 and includes the second-most AP Top 25 wins (6) in school history.
- K-State’s 20-7 start under head coach Jerome Tang ranks among the very best by all first-year Division I coaches, tying Xavier’s Sean Miller (20-7) for the best mark, ahead of Missouri’s Dennis Gates (19-8). He is the fourth K-State head coach to win 20 games in his first season, joining Lon Kruger [1986-87], Bob Huggins [2006-07] and Frank Martin [2007-08].
- Johnson (17.4 ppg.) and Nowell (16.9 ppg.) have been one of the most prolific tandems, as they combine to average 34.3 points per game on 45 percent (297-of-664) shooting. They were 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) lists.
- Nowell became the school’s single season assist leader in the win over TCU on Feb. 7, as his 7 assists allowed him to pass Steve Henson (186; 1987-88) for the record. His current total of 202 assists ranks third nationally, while he is also third in assists per game (7.5 apg.). He is one of 4 active Division I player with at least 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals. In addition, he has accumulated 253 career steals, which are first among active Division I players.
NOTES ON 9/10 BAYLOR
- No. 9/10 Baylor (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) has been one of the nation’s hottest teams, winning 10 its last 12 games since its 97-95 overtime loss to K-State on Jan. 7. The Bears won 6 in a row before its 76-71 loss to Texas on Jan. 30 then back-to-back win at TCU and at home over West Virginia before the 87-81 setback at No. 5/7 Kansas.
- Baylor is averaging 78.5 points on 45 percent shooting, including 36.5 percent from 3-point range, with 35.3 rebounds, 14.9 assists, 6.8 steals and 2.4 blocks per game, while allowing 69.7 points on 45 percent shooting, including 32.3 percent from 3-point range. The Bears are connecting on 75.0 percent from the free throw line.
- Baylor leads the Big 12 in 5 categories, including 3-point field goals/ game (9.4) and 3-point field goal percentage (36.5). The Bears are second in scoring (78.5), free throw percentage and fewest turnovers/game (12.0).
- Three players are averaging in double figures led by freshman phenom Keyonte George (16.6 ppg.) and senior Adam Flager (16.0 ppg.), while junior L.J. Cryer averages 14.9 points per game. The trio have combined for 194 3-pointers. Flagler leads the way in assists (5.0 apg.), while junior Jalen Bridges is one of 4 Bears averaging better than 4 rebounds per game.
- Baylor is led by the Big 12’s longest tenured head coach in Scott Drew, who is in his 20th season and his 21st overall. He has a 437-240 overall record, including a 417-229 mark in Waco.
- Baylor holds a narrow 25-24 lead in the all-time series which dates to the 1948 Final Four. K-State holds a 12-11 edge all-time at home, while Baylor is 11-9 at Bramlage Coliseum with wins in each of its last 3 visits.
- K-State’s 97-95 overtime win on Jan. 7 snapped a 7-game skid to Baylor, which was the longest streak by either school in the series. The Wildcats have not won a home game against the Bears since a 66-60 victory on March 2, 2019, which was also the last time they won the season series.
LAST 10 MEETINGS [3-7]
Date Rank Result Score Location
2/9/2019 —/— W 70-63 Waco
3/2/2019 16/— W 66-60 Manhattan
2/3/2020 —/1 L 67-73 Manhattan
2/25/2020 —/2 L 66-85 Waco
12/19/2020 —/2 L 69-100 Manhattan
1/27/2021 —/2 L 59-107 Waco
3/11/2021 —/2 L 68-74 Kansas City
1/25/2022 —/4 L 49-74 Waco
2/9/2022 —/10 L 60-75 Manhattan
1/7/2023 —/19 W 97-95 (OT) Waco
K-STATE 97, 19/17 BAYLOR 95 [OT]
- On a night when Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson combined for 56 points, it was reserve Ish Massoud who proved to be the difference, as his 3-pointer with 32 seconds in overtime lifted K-State to a thrilling 97-95 win over No. 19/17 Baylor on Jan. 7 before 9,211 fans at Ferrell Center.
- Baylor’s Adam Flagler turned the ball over with 5.3 seconds left and Nowell was fouled immediately, making the first free throw before missing the second – snapping a streak of 29 straight makes – to allow the Bears’ one more chance to either win it or force a second overtime, but junior Caleb Lohner’s 3-pointer was off the mark, setting off a wild celebration on the Wildcat bench.
- Nowell starred yet again, posting the first 30-point/10-assist game in school history, dishing out a career-best 14 assists to go with his 32 points. Johnson, who has now scored in double figures in all 15 games, had a near double-double with 24 points and a game-high 9 boards in a career-best 43 minutes. Massoud joined the tandem in double figures with a season-high 13 points on 3-of-4 field goals (all from 3) and a perfect 4-of-4 effort from the line.
- The Wildcats posted a 50/40/80 line as a team, connecting on 53.1 percent (34-of-64) from the field, including 44 percent (11-of-25) from 3-point range, while hitting on 85.7 percent (18-of-21) from the free throw line.
LAST MEETING IN MANHATTAN:
10/10 BAYLOR 75, K-STATE 60 [Feb. 9, 2022]
- Despite a 31-point effort from sophomore Nijel Pack, a 19-4 run by No. 10/10 Baylor to start the second half proved to be the difference, as the Bears earned a 75-60 win in the last meeting at Bramlage Coliseum.
- Trailing by as many as 7 points in the first half and knotted at 34-all at the half, Baylor seized control of the momentum and the game with its 19-4 outburst out of halftime, as 6 different Bear players contributed to the run.
- Pack was joined in double figures by senior Mark Smith, who nearly had a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 8 rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT: 12/14 K-STATE 61, 19/18 IOWA STATE 55
- Senior Markquis Nowell scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to help No. 14/12 Kansas State rally back from an 8-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 19/18 Iowa State, 61-55, on Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd of 11,000 at Bramlage Coliseum.
- The win gave K-State its 31st 20-win season in school history and the first since 2018-19. Head coach Jerome Tang became the fourth first-year head coach to win 20 games, joining Lon Kruger (1986-87), Bob Huggins (2006-07) and Frank Martin (2007-08). The Wildcats also earned their sixth AP Top 25 win of the season, which tied 3 other teams for second all-time and the most since the 2009-10 team won a school-record 7.
- Down by as many as 10 points in the first half, including 8 points at the half, K-State used a combination of clutch shooting against the Big 12’s best scoring defensive team (61.6 ppg.) as well as its own stellar defensive performance in the second half to end a 2-game losing streak to Iowa State (17-9, 8-6 Big 12).
- The Wildcats held the Cyclones to just 24 points in the second half on 21.9 percent (7-of-32) shooting, including 14.3 percent (2-of-14) from 3-point range, with 8 of those points coming from the free throw line. Overall, Iowa State was held to an opponent season-low 30.6 percent (19-of-62) shooting from the field, including 18.5 percent (5-of-27) from 3-point range, with the 55 total points being fewest allowed by the team in Big 12 play.
- After scoring 23 points on 30.4 percent (7-of-23) shooting in the opening half, K-State was a much different team in the second half, scoring its 38 points on 44 percent (11-of-25) shooting, including 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from 3-point range, while converting on 11 of 12 attempts at the free throw line. For the game, the team finished at 37.5 percent (18-of-38) from the field, including 33.3 percent (7-of-21) from long range.
- The Wildcats also took advantage of their opponent’s mistakes while limiting their own, converting 14 Cyclone turnovers into 19 points, while allowing just 7 points off 11 turnovers.
- After going 0-of-3 from the field with 2 points in the opening half, Nowell powered K-State in its second-half performance, as he knocked down 3 triples in a pivotal 11-3 run in the first 5 minutes of the half that gave the home team their first lead since it was 5-2. The Cyclones regained the edge with baskets on the next 2 possessions, but it was Nowell’s free throws with 13:35 that gave the Wildcats the lead for good.
- ISU kept it close the rest of the way until an 8-2 run by K-State highlighted by a near mid-court 3-pointer by Nowell with 2:42 remaining gave the Wildcats the cushion they would need to close out the game.
- Nowell was among two Wildcats in double figures, as he collected his team-leading ninth 20-point game of the season to go with a team-tying 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Fellow senior Keyontae Johnson added 15 points on 6-of-13 field goals to go with 6 rebounds and 2 assists in a game-high 38 minutes. With his assist total, Nowell continues his school record total (202) and becomes the first player in school history to eclipse 200 assists in a single season.
- K-State and Iowa State split the season series for the second straight season.
POSTGAME NEWS & NOTES
- K-State is now 12-0 when holding an opponent to less than 60 points.
- K-State had 13 assists on its 18 field goals, as 4 players had at least 2 assists.
- With Nowell (20 points) and Johnson (15 points), K-State has now had at least two players score in double figures in all 27 games.
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 20-7 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 Xavier’s Sean Miller (20-7) and just ahead of Missouri’s Dennis Gates (19-8).
- Tang was named one of 15 Watch List candidates for the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Award on Feb. 17, along with fellow Big 12 coaches T.J. Otzelberger of Iowa State and Rodney Terry of Texas.
- 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 21-7.
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 1,715-1,220 (.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 75.4 points this season on 44.9 percent (700-of-1559) shooting, including 34.1 percent (188-of-551) from 3-point range, while hitting on 75 percent (447-of-596) from the free throw line. The Wildcats are second in the Big 12 in assists (16.7 apg.), while they are third in free throw percentage, fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.17) and sixth in scoring offense.
- The current scoring average (75.4 ppg.) is just outside the school’s top-10 but still the highest since the 2007-08 team averaged 78.0 points per game. The 44.9 field goal percentage is also just outside 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 14th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 16.7 assists per game. Among the 450 assists are 7 players with double-digit totals, including senior Markquis Nowell, who ranks third nationally in assists/game (7.5) and total assists (202). 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 64.3 assist percentage according to KenPom, which calculates assists (450) to made field goals (700). Only Lafayette (69.6), Virginia (67.1), Arizona (66.6), Xavier (66.5), Tennessee (65.4) and Air Force (64.3) 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 21 of 27 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 (1,258 points), Markquis Nowell (1,765 points) and Desi Sills (1,335 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 27 games, as the Wildcats are averaging 18.2 points per game. The team has scored 20 or more bench points in 4 of the last 5 games, including 29 vs. TCU.
- The Wildcats got 41 points from its bench in the opener vs. UTRGV (11/7/22) with 3 reserves (Abayomi Iyiola (12), Ismael Massoud (10) and Desi 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.
- 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. He is fourth on the team in scoring in Big 12 play, averaging 8.3 points on 44.4 percent shooting. Massoud has also proved to be a spark of the bench, posting 4 double-digit scoring games.
- K-State’s defense has forced 412 turnovers through the first 27 games, which includes 210 steals, while averaging 16.3 points per game off those miscues.
- The 15.3 turnovers forced per game ranks 36th 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 (+1.0), while senior Markquis Nowell leads the Big 12 and places 13th nationally in steals (2.3 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 26 games, leading the Wildcats and ranking second in the Big 12 in scoring (17.4 ppg.). He is second in the league in field goal percentage (51.2), 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 (7.5 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 (7.5 apg.) and assists (202), while he is in the top-25 in five others, including 13th in steals (61), 15th in free throws (137), 17th in steals/game (2.3), 21st in free throw percentage and 22nd 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 career points. He also ranks first among all active Division I players in steals (253).
- 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 (201) 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 46.1 percent (105-of-228) from the field to go with 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks in 27.9 minutes per game. He ranks in the Big 12’s top-10 in rebounding (ninth) and blocks (ninth).
- 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 scored in double figures in 7 consecutive games from Dec. 3 to Jan. 3, in which, he averaged 14.9 points on 55.4 percent (41-of-74) shooting to go with 6.3 rebounds per game. The streak began with 14 points vs. Wichita State and was highlighted by a career-best 26 points vs. Radford.
- Tomlin has grabbed 10 rebounds 3 times this season, while posting his first career double-double (15 points/10 rebounds) in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas. He added a second double-double with 17 points and a season-tying 10 boards at Oklahoma. He has scored in double figures in 6 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
- Although senior Desi Sills earned his first start of the season in the win over No. 19/18 Iowa State, he has been a spark off the bench for the Wildcats, as he is averaging 8.3 points on 43.8 percent (78-of-178) shooting with 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 28.8 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, while he was pivotal in the win over LSU in the Cayman Islands Classic Championship game with 16 points. He has scored in double figures in 3 of the last 5 games, including 11 vs. Texas, 14 in the win over TCU and 12 at Texas Tech.
- 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: AT OKLAHOMA STATE (16-11, 7-7 Big 12)
- K-State plays 2 of its final 3 Big 12 games on the road beginning on Saturday afternoon when the Wildcats travel to Stillwater, Okla., to take Oklahoma State (16-11, 7-7 Big 12) at 1 p.m, CT on ESPNU. The Wildcats won the first meeting, 65-57, at home on Jan. 10.