KANSAS STATE (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) at 19/17 BAYLOR (10-4, 0-2 Big 12)
Saturday, January 7, 2023 >> 5:01 p.m. CT >> Ferrell Center (10,284) >> Waco, Texas
Big 12 Now on ESPN+ / WatchESPN (link here)
- Ted Emrich (play-by-play)
- King McClure (analyst)
- Kevin Kremer (producer)
K-State Sports Network
Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
Satellite Radio: Sirius XM 388/978
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: 13-1/1st Year
Career Record: 15-1/1st Year+
vs. Baylor: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Baylor: Scott Drew [Butler ’93]
Record at Baylor: 407-226/20th Year
Career Record: 427-237/21st Year
vs. K-State: 18-16 [18-16 at Baylor]
Overall: Baylor leads 25-23
Big 12 Era: Baylor leads 24-18
In Waco: Baylor leads 11-8
At Ferrell Center: Baylor leads 11-8
Active Streak: Baylor, 7
Tang vs. Baylor: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Tang vs. Scott Drew: 0-0 [0-0 at home]
G: #1 Keyonte George
G: #4 L.J. Cryer
G: #10 Adam Flagler
F: #0 Flo Thamba
F: #11 Jalen Bridges
Kansas State (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) concludes its swing through the Lone Star State with a visit to the Ferrell Center at 5 p.m., CT on Saturday night to take on defending Big 12 champion and No. 19/16 Baylor (10-3, 0-1 Big 12). It will be a reunion for coach Jerome Tang, who spent 19 seasons 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 is off its best start (13-1) since the 2009-10 season after its record-setting 116-103 win at No. 6/6 Texas on Tuesday at the brand-new Moody Center in Austin. All 5 starters scored in double figures, including a combined 64 points from seniors Markquis Nowell (36) and Keyontae Johnson (28) as the Wildcats broke the school record for points and tied the Big 12 mark, while hitting on 60 percent (36-of-60) from the field, including 54.2 percent (13-of-24) from 3-point range, and a school-record 93.9 percent (31-of-33) from the line. The 116 points are the most by an unranked team in a road win vs. a Top 10 team in the AP poll era (1948-49).
- K-State’s 13-1 start under head coach Jerome Tang is the best by a first-year coach in school history, surpassing the previous 12-2 starts by Zora G. Clevenger (1916-17) and Bruce Weber (2012-13). Tang’s 12-1 start ranks as the best by all current first-year coaches in Division I, just ahead of the 12-2 starts by Missouri’s Dennis Gates and LSU’s Matt McMahon.
- K-State has won 7 consecutive games since absorbing its first loss of the Jerome Tang era against Butler on Nov. 30 with victories over Wichita State (55-50), Abilene Christian (81-64), UIW (98-50), Nebraska (71-56), Radford (73-65), No. 24/24 West Virginia (82-76) and No. 6/6 Texas (116-103). The Wildcats have averaged 82.3 points per game during that 7-game winning streak on 49.3 percent (207-of-420) shooting with 4 players averaging in double figures.
- Nowell continued his impressive start with another tremendous effort in the win over the Longhorns, as he nearly became the first Wildcats with a 30-point, 10-assist game, dishing out a game-high 9 assists to go with his 36 points. His point total was the seventh-most points by a Wildcat in a Big 12 game and the most since Barry Brown, Jr., scored 38 points in 2018.
- The 64 combined points by Nowell and Johnson tied for the fourth-most by 2 players in school history, while it was just the 14th time (and second time this season) that a duo each had at least 25 points in game. It was the highest combined point total since Michael Beasley (44 points) and Bill Walker (31 points) went for 75 points at Baylor on Feb. 23, 2008.
- Nowell continues to be one of the leaders nationally in assists. His 8.5 assists per game rank second nationally, while his 119 total assists place third. He is also 11th in assist/turnover ratio (3.31) with 119 assists to 36 turnovers. He is one of 2 active Division I player with at least 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals, while his 226 career steals are first among active players.
- The Wildcats have quite the dynamic 1-2-3 scoring punch with Johnson (18.4 ppg.) and Nowell (15.9 ppg.) and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin (11.6 ppg.) combining to average 45.9 points per game on 48.4 percent (216-of-446) shooting. They are the third-best scoring trio in the Big 12 after Baylor’s Adam Flagler, Keyonte George and L.J. Cryer (47.3 ppg.) and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson, Gradey Dick and Kevin McCullar (46.4 ppg.).
NOTES ON 19/17 BAYLOR
- No. 19/16 Baylor (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) enters Saturday’s game with consecutive losses to open Big 12 play after dropping a 77-62 decision at Iowa State on New Year’s Eve and an 88-87 setback at home to No. 17 TCU on Wednesday. Prior to that skid, the Bears had won 5 in a row, including a 64-63 win over top-5 Gonzaga on Dec. 2.
- Baylor is averaging a 79.9 points on 46.3 percent shooting, including 36.1 percent from 3-point range, with 36.6 rebounds, 16.6 assists, 8.2 steals and 3.4 blocks per game, while allowing 67.9 points on 43.1 percent shooting, including 33.7 percent from 3-point range. The Bears are connecting on a Big 12-best 73.2 percent from the free throw line.
- Baylor ranks among the top-40 in scoring offense (38th), while the Bears place 21st in 3-pointers/game (9.6), 26th in 3-point attempts (26.7) and 29th in assists/game (16.6). They also take advantage of their opportunities at the free throw line, ranking 25th in free throws made/game (16.2) and 34th in free throws attempted/game (22.1).
- Three players are averaging in double figures led by freshman phenom Keyonte George (16.4 ppg.) and senior Adam Flager (16.2 ppg.), who are each averaging better than 16 points/game. The tandem has combined for 76 3-point makes. Junior L.J. Cryer also averages double figures at 14.7 points/game on 44.4 percent shooting, including 36 from 3-point range. Graduate Flo Thamba leads the Bears in rebounding at 5.1 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 427-237 overall record, including a 407-226 mark in Waco.
- Baylor holds a 25-23 lead in the all-time series which dates to the 1948 Final Four and includes an 11-8 mark at home. The Bears are 24-18 in the Big 12 era, including a 22-15 mark in the regular season.
- Baylor’s current 7-game winning streak is the longest winning streak by either school in the series. The last K-State win came on March 2, 2019. Last season, the Bears swept the season series with a 74-49 win at home on Jan. 25 and a 75-60 victory at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 9.
LAST 10 MEETINGS [3-7]
Date Rank Result Score Location
3/3/2018 —/— W 77-67 Manhattan
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
LAST MEETING: 10/10 BAYLOR 75, K-STATE 60
- 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 completed the season sweep of K-State with a 75-60 win in the last meeting between the team on Feb. 9 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: K-STATE 116, 6/6 TEXAS 103
- All 5 starters scored in double figures, including a career-best 36 points from senior Markquis Nowell, as K-State broke the school record for points in a 116-103 victory at No. 6/6 Texas on Tuesday night to hand the Longhorns their first loss in the brand-new Moody Center before a sold-out crowd of 10,763 fans.
- The point total not only broke the school record, but it also tied the Big 12 record for points scored in a league game, as Baylor scored 116 in a win at Texas A&M on Jan. 23, 2008. It also set the Big 12 record for most combined points.
- The 116 points eclipsed the previous mark of 115, which first came against 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 against 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 marked the most by an unranked team in a win over a top-10 opponent since Missouri scored 119 against Iowa State in 1988 and most-ever in a road game.
- Nowell led a tremendous all-around effort by the Wildcats, who 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) of their attempts 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.
- Nowell nearly became the first player in school history with a 30-point, 10-assist game, as he dished out a game-high 9 assists to go with 3 steals in 38 minutes. His 36 points came on 9-of-14 field goals, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range, and 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 was joined in double figures by senior Keyontae Johnson, who tied his career-high with 28 points to go with a near double-double himself with a game-high 9 rebounds and 5 assists, along with a career-best 17 points from sophomore Cam Carter, as well as 11 and 10 points, respectively from junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin and senior Abayomi Iyiola.
- Texas became just the 17th team to score 100 points against K-State but the first to do so and lose, totaling 103 on 51.5 percent (35-of-68) shooting. Three Longhorns scored in double figures led by the duo of Marcus Carr (29 points) and Tyrese Hunter (27 points), who combined for 56 points.
POSTGAME NEWS AND NOTES
- It was the first road win over a top-10 team since beating No. 2 Baylor, 56-54, in Waco on Feb. 4, 2017… K-State now has 31 wins vs. ranked teams in the last 11 seasons, including 11 Top 10 wins.
- The Wildcats scored 58 points in each half, which tied for the most-ever scored in a half in a Big 12 game and were the most in a league game since scoring 61 vs. Nebraska on Jan. 10, 1987.
- K-State scored 42 points in the paint… The team has now scored 40 or more points in the paint in 7 games, including 5 of the last 6 contests.
- K-State had an assist on 23 of its 36 made field goals, including 6 players with 2 or more assists… Nowell now has 8 or more assists in 8 of 14 games.
- It was the second straight win in Austin, as K-State handed Texas its first loss in the last season of the Erwin Center and now the first loss in the Moody Center.
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 13-1 start under head coach Jerome Tang is the best by a first-year coach in school history with Zora G. Clevenger (1916-17) and Bruce Weber (2012-13) each starting their tenures at 12-2. Tang’s start is among the best by all first-year head coaches in Division I, just ahead of the 12-2 starts by Missouri’s Dennis Gates and LSU’s Matt McMahon.
- 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 15-1.
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 1,708-1,214 (.586) all-time record as a program, which includes 31 NCAA Tournament appearances and 21 conference championships.
SUCCESS IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
- K-State has posted a 170-53 (.762) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07 season. During that span, the Wildcats have a 128-14 (.901) mark at home venues (includes games played at Bramlage Coliseum, INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita and the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City) in non-conference play, including a 118-12 (.908) mark at Bramlage Coliseum.
- The Nebraska win on Dec. 17 also gave K-State double-digit non-conference victories for the first time since going 10-3 in 2018-19. The Wildcats collected their 11th non-conference victory vs. Radford on Dec. 21, giving them their most since also winning 11 in 2017-18. The team earned 10 or more non-conference wins in 12 of 13 seasons from 2006-07 to 2018-19, but they had managed just a 19-16 record in non-conference action from 2019-22.
- K-State’s current 11-1 non-conference mark is the best since opening the 2016-17 season with a similar 11-1 record. The Wildcats won a program-best 13 non-conference games in 2009-10, while they won 12 in 2008-09 and 2010-11.
POTENT OFFENSIVE ATTACK
- K-State is averaging 78.5 points this season on 47.5 percent (392-of-825) shooting, including 35 percent (97-of-277) from 3-point range, while hitting on 72.9 percent (218-of-299) from the free throw line. Although the offensive rankings are modest in the Big 12 (fifth in scoring offense), the Wildcats do lead the league in assists (18.8 apg.) and free throw percentage.
- K-State has scored 80 or more points 6 times, including 4 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 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 5 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).
- A key to the K-State offense this season has been its ability to score in paint, as the Wildcats are averaging 38.4 points in the paint. The team has scored 30 or more points in the paint 11 times in 14 games, including 6 games of 40 or more points and one game of 50 points (a season-high 52 vs. ACU (12/6/22).
DISHING THE ROCK
- K-State ranks among the best in the country in sharing the basketball, as the Wildcats rank eighth nationally and first in the Big 12 with 18.8 assists per game. Among the 263 assists are 6 players with double-digit totals, including senior Markquis Nowell, who ranks third nationally with 119 total assists. He is second nationally in assists/game at 8.5 per game. He has posted double-digit assists in 5 games, including a season-high 12 twice.
- The Wildcats also rank in the top-5 nationally with a 67.1 assist percentage according to KenPom, which calculates the number of assists (263) to made field goals (392). Only Lafayette (70.9), Tennessee (70.0), Xavier (68.8), Virginia (67.6) and Air Force (67.2) have a better percentage nationally.
- Although Nowell gets all the attention for his playmaking ability, the rest of the team has shown the ability to share the ball, as the Wildcats have had 3 or more players dish out at least 2 assists in 10 of 14 games this season. The team had 7 players with 2 or more assists in the opener vs. UTRGV (11/7/22), while 6 did it against Nebraska (12/17/22) and 5 vs. UIW (12/11/22) and Texas (1/3/23).
TEAM FULL OF SCORERS
- K-State is one of just 3 schools to have at least four 1,000-point scorers on its roster, as Wildcats Tykei Greene (1,161 points), Keyontae Johnson (1,047 points), Markquis Nowell (1,531 points) and Desi Sills (1,235 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).
- UAB has five 1,000-point scorers followed by K-State and Notre Dame (4), while 10 others have 3 such scorers, including Drake, Gonzaga, Indiana, Iowa State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Southern Utah, Texas and Virginia.
- K-State is getting solid production from its bench through the first 14 games, as the Wildcats are averaging 17.6 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 6 times, including 16 points in the win over LSU (11/23/22) at the Cayman Islands Classic Championship game and a season-high 17 points (all in second half) in the loss at Butler (11/30/22). He has also been among the team’s best playmakers, ranking second with 38 assists.
- K-State’s defense has forced 232 turnovers through the first 14 games, which includes 113 steals, while averaging 19.2 points per game off those miscues. The team ranks 18th in non-steal turnover percentage (12.0) by KenPom.
- The 16.6 turnovers forced per game ranks 35th nationally, while it places sixth in the Big 12 behind Iowa State, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech. K-State ranks fifth in turnover margin (+3.3) and sixth in steals (8.1), while senior Markquis Nowell places 17th nationally and second in the Big 12 in steals (2.42 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 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 continued his impressive play with a near double-double in the win at Cal, scoring a team-high 16 points while grabbing a game-high 9 rebounds to go with 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 block in a game-high 33 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 has scored in double figures in all 14 games, leading the Wildcats and ranking third in the Big 12 in scoring (18.4 ppg.). He leads the league in field goal percentage (57.5), while he is in the top-10 in 5 other categories, including fifth in minutes (32.3 mpg.), sixth in rebounding (6.93 rpg.) and defensive rebounds (4.86) and eighth in offensive rebounds (2.07).
NOWELL STILL RUNNING THE SHOW
- On a team with 13 new players and a new coaching staff, fifth-year senior Markquis Nowell once again has demonstrated he is still the guy running the show for the Wildcats, as he leads the team in both assists (8.5 apg.) and steals (2.4 spg.) while averaging the second-most points (15.9 ppg.).
- Nowell ranks second nationally in assists per game (8.5 apg.) and third in total assists (119), while he is 11th in assists/turnover ratio (3.31). He is one of 2 active Division I players (Tennessee State’s Junior Clay) with 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals. He also ranks first among all active Division I players with 226 career steals. He just eclipsed 1,500 points with his effort at No. 6/6 Texas.
- 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 the 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 96-87 overtime win over the Wolf Pack. His 12 assists vs. the Rams tied for the fourth-most in school history and the most since Steve Henson collected 12 vs. OSU on Feb. 25, 1989.
- 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 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 matched his season-high (12) in assists in the win over ACU, while he earned his 12th career double-double, including his seventh as a Wildcat, with 23 points and 10 assists in the win over No. 24/24 West Virginia. It was just the sixth 20-point/10-assist double-double in school history, including the second such game by Nowell this season. It was his fifth double-digit assist game.
- 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.
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 (11.6 ppg.) while connecting 47.3 percent (61-of-129) from the field to go with 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks in 27.8 minutes per game. He ranks 20th in the Big 12 in scoring, 13th in rebounding and seventh in blocks.
- Tomlin was selected as the Big 12 co-Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 26 after his near double-double performance 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 all 3 free throws attempted, to go with a season-tying 9 rebounds in 33 minutes.
- After scoring 11 points in the road win at No. 6/6 Texas, Tomlin has now scored in double figures in each of the last 7 games, which includes 14 points vs. Wichita State, 12 points vs. ACU, 15 points vs. UIW and Nebraska, 26 points vs. Radford and 11 vs. West Virginia. He is averaging 14.9 points on 58.9 percent (41-of-74) shooting during this 7-game stretch.
- 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.
SILLS OFF THE BENCH
- Senior Desi Sills has provided a spark for the Wildcats off the bench, as he is averaging 8.9 points on 46.2 percent (48-of-104) shooting with 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27.7 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures in 6 of 14 games, including a season-high 17 points in the loss at Butler.
- 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 season-high 17 at Butler, which all came in the second half. He has 8 or more points in 5 of the last 6 games, including 14 vs. UIW.
- Although Sills went scoreless in the win over Wichita State (12/6/22), 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: OKLAHOMA STATE (9-5, 1-1 Big 12)
- K-State returns home to Bramlage Coliseum by hosting Oklahoma State (9-5, 1-1 Big 12) at 6 p.m., CT on Tuesday night. The game will air on ESPNU.