MANHATTAN, Kan. – No. 13/15 Kansas State used a 14-2 run late in the second half to pull away from Texas Tech, 68-58, on Saturday afternoon before a sold-out crowd of 11,000 at Bramlage Coliseum.
Senior Markquis Nowell led all scorers with a game-high 23 points to go with a season-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, as K-State continued its strong start to the season. The Wildcats are off to their best start (17-2) in more than 60 years, while they moved to 6-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2007-08.
With the score knotted at 50-all, K-State took control of the game with its late 14-2 run. Senior Abayomi Iyiola started a run of 10 straight points with a free throw just after the third media timeout with 7:27 to play, which was followed by a 3-pointer from senior Keyontae Johnson, layups by senior Desi Sills and junior Ismael Massoud and a pair of free throws from Johnson that gave the Wildcats a 60-50 lead with just under 3 to play.
Although Texas Tech (10-9, 0-7 Big 12) broke the run with a bucket from senior Fardaws Aimaq with under 2 minutes remaining, the Red Raiders could get no closer than the rest of the way, as Nowell sealed it with 6 consecutive free throws to end the game.
Nowell was joined in double figures by Johnson, who collected his third double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and Massoud, who added 12 points on 5-of-6 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Iyiola added 7 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Red Raiders, who entered the game 30th nationally in field goal percentage at 48.1 percent shooting, were held to a season-low 32.4 percent (23-of-71) shooting from the field, including 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from 3-point range. Freshman Pop Isaacs and senior De’Vion Harmon led the way with 13 points each.
Texas Tech led 33-28 at the half on the strength of a 14-2 run, which was highlighted by a 3-pointer by Isaacs at the buzzer. The Red Raiders extended their lead to 45-37 with just over 13 minutes to play on a 10-2 run, but the Wildcats were able to answer with an 11-0 run to regain the lead at 48-45 near the midway point of the half.
After shooting just 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from the field in the first half, K-State connected on 52.4 percent (11-of-21) after halftime. For the game, the Wildcats shot 42.6 percent (20-of-47) from the field, including 32 percent (8-of-25) from 3-point range, while making 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from the free throw line.
K-State wore its two-tone lavender uniforms, which harken back to the days of legendary coach Jack Hartman.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two teams went back and forth in the early going before K-State used a 13-3 run to take a 19-13 lead just before the third media timeout with 7:59 before halftime. Four different Wildcats scored in the run, including a pair of 3-pointers by senior Markquis Nowell.
K-State led 26-19 after Nowell’s fourth 3-pointer of the half before Texas Tech started its half-ending 14-2 run that gave the Red Raiders a 33-28 lead at the break. Tech grabbed its first lead at 28-26 on a pair of free throws by freshman Pop Isaacs that extended the run to 9-0. He then capped off the half with a 3-pointer from the right side of the key at the buzzer. Nowell led all scorers at the break with 12 points.
The Wildcats scored 7 of the first 9 points out of halftime to knot the game at 35-all just before the first media timeout with 15:52 to play. However, the Red Raiders responded out of the break, using a 10-2 run to take a 45-37 lead and force head coach Jerome Tang to call his first timeout at the 13:11 mark.
K-State was able to gain momentum of the timeout, rattling off 11 straight points to take a 48-45 lead near the midway point off the second half. Junior Ismael Massoud proved important in the run with 5 points, including a big 3-pointer, that pulled the Wildcats to within 45-44. Senior Keyontae Johnson capped off the run with a dunk and layup that gave K-State a 48-45 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
With game tied at 50-all with just under 9 minutes to play, the Wildcats used a 14-2 run over the next 6 minutes to take control of the game at 64-52 with just over 1 minute remaining. Senior Abayomi Iyiola started a run of 10 straight points with a free throw, which was followed by a 3-pointer by Johnson, layups by senior Desi Sills and Massoud and a pair of free throws from Johnson that gave K-State a 60-50 lead with 2:57 to play.
After Tech broke the run with a basket, Massoud followed with a jumper and Nowell knocked down a pair of free throws to complete the 14-2 run. Nowell finished off the game with 4 more free throws.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Markquis Nowell posted his sixth 20-point game of the season, scoring a game-high 23 points on 5-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range, and 9-of-10 free throws. He added a season-high 8 rebounds to go with 5 assists and 2 steals in 37 minutes.
Senior Keyontae Johnson collected his third double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go with 3 assists and a steal in 36 minutes. He has now scored in double figures in all 19 games.
STAT OF THE GAME
14-2 – K-State broke a 50-all tie with a 14-2 run over a more than 6 minute span late in the second half to lift itself to victory. Five different Wildcats scored in the run, including 5 from senior Keyontae Johnson.
IN THEIR WORDS
Head coach Jerome Tang
On the game…
“First of all, this is such a blessing and I’m so thankful that God picked me to be here at this time. I mean it just sometimes it’s kind of overwhelming when you sit there before the game, and you see our student body. I mean how about that crowd right, and it was just incredible. I’m just super thankful. I’m thankful for our young men who have this grit and resolve about him that it doesn’t matter what’s going on. Like they figured out a way and they’ve got this great belief not just in themselves but in our staff and what we’re telling them and asked him to do, and they just stay together. And so, the most important thing about today was that we protected our home court. Right and that was the most important thing.”
On today being a study in perseverance…
“Perseverance is such a big word; we knew this game was gonna be like this. We knew it was gonna be a 40 minute grinder, and every possession was going to matter, and they would make runs and we would make runs. I think our guys understanding that mindset going in didn’t allow themselves to get flustered by anything.”
On being down and working hard to come back during the three-minute stretch..
“Yeah, I mean, I just remembered the noise the crowd was making, right, like every deflection, every tip, every bucket like the decimal meters just kept going up and up. And you know, when your crowd is loud, the louder they are, the faster you should play. And, our guys bought into that so it was pretty cool.”
On Sandstorm being played…
“I’m very proud to hear that. I actually did not know when they played it, but [Director of Athletics] Gene [Taylor] told me afterwards. And so proud of our student body, I mean we got a great group of students and they are buying into what it means to build a championship culture, to really love our university, and what we are about and so just proud.”
On being down and coming back…
“I knew we had that kind of result in a timeout, I told them, hey, we’re going to score right and then it’s going to be a six point game, two possession game. And there’s a lot of time on the clock and they said okay, and they went out and they executed.”
Senior Markquis Nowell
On playing Sandstorm in the arena…
“I didn’t really hear and to be honest, I was locked into what we had to do. But I heard that song is really good when they play it, and we win a lot.”
On after the Kansas game and coming into this game locked in…
“We have a really good coaching staff, and we have a lot of seniors on the team that keep things levelheaded. We don’t try to get too high; we don’t try to get too low. We just try to focus on the next right thing. So, you know after you know we celebrated that night, we just went back to work.”
On how Ismael Massoud is playing…
“I mean, he’s been playing big. He’s doing things on the defensive end that really translate into the offensive end. He’s given a lot of energy. He’s rebounding more. He’s just you know, doing anything possible to help us and when you do stuff like that good things happen. Today he showed that just coming in and locking in on defense and his shot was falling.”
Junior Ismael Massoud
On what started to click this season…
“It really was going home and trying to get my mind right. It took realizing this team is winning and I want to be a part of it and do whatever it takes to be a part of it and help us continue winning.”
On his confidence this season compared to the past…
“I don’t think my confidence ever really wavered in the sense that I had belief and I had faith in myself. I felt like God was always going to help me get through it and I always figure it out in any situation I’m in. Obviously when you’re playing against high level competition like Texas Tech and all the other Big 12 teams and you see that you’re able to produce, it definitely helps raise it a lot.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State is now 17-2 on the season, equaling the best start since 1961-62.
- K-State is now 6-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2007-08.
- K-State is now 11-0 in home games, including 10-0 at Bramlage Coliseum… It is the best start to a season since going 10-0 to start the 2016-17 season.
- K-State is now 26-21 all-time against Texas Tech, including 18-5 at home and 14-5 at Bramlage Coliseum… The Wildcats have now won 2 of the last 3 meetings with the Red Raiders, including the last 2 at home.
- K-State used a starting lineup of fifth-year senior Markquis Nowell, sophomore Cam Carter, fifth-year senior Keyontae Johnson, junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin and senior Abayomi Iyiola… It marked the eighth time in 19 games using this lineup.
- Nowell made his 40th start at K-State, while Carter, Johnson and Tomlin all made their 19th starts in Wildcat uniforms and Iyiola his eighth… It was Johnson’s 75th start in college (other 55 at Florida), 72nd for Iyiola (other 39 at Stetson and 25 at Hofstra), 23rd for Carter (other 4 at Mississippi State) and 19th for Tomlin (all at K-State).
- Junior David N’Guessan returned to the lineup for the first time in 5 games, playing 4 minutes.
- K-State scored its 68 points on 42.6 percent shooting (20-of-47), including 32.0 percent (8-of-25) from 3-point range, and connected on 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from free throw line.
- K-State had 15 assists on its 20 made field goals.
- K-State connected on 8 3-pointers, including 4 players hitting on at least one trey.
- K-State took advantage of its opportunities at the free throw line, knocking down 20 of 27 attempts, while Texas Tech made just 5 of 12 attempts.
- K-State turned in 5 blocked shots and now has 5 or more blocked shots in 6 games.
- K-State got 16 points from its bench, including 12 from junior Ish Massoud.
- Texas Tech led 33-28 at half behind a late 14-2 run… The Red Raiders scored 16 of their 33 points in the paint… The Wildcats shot just 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from the field.
- K-State is now 6-2 this season when trailing at the half.
- Senior Markquis Nowell enjoyed a solid all-around night with a game-high 23 points on 5-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range, and 9-of-10 free throws to go with a season-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in 37 minutes… It was his 25th career 20-point game, including his sixth this season… He has now scored in double figures in 82 career games, including 35 at K-State.
- The 8 rebounds were the most Nowell has had in a game since grabbing 9 vs. Duquesne on Nov. 30, 2020 while playing at Little Rock.
- Nowell now has at least 5 assists in 16 of 19 games this season, while he has at least 2 steals in 13 games.
- Senior Keyontae Johnson registered his 16th career double-double, including his third this season, with his 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go with 3 assists and a steal in 36 minutes… He now has 57 career double-digit scoring games, including all 19 games in 2022-23.
- Junior Ismael Massoud scored 12 points on 5-of-6 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with 2 assists, 1 rebound and 1 block in 22 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 25 career games, including 14 times in his K-State career and 3 times in 2022-23.
K-State hits the road for another Top 25 matchup with a visit to No. 12/12 Iowa State (14-4, 5-2 Big 12) for an expected sellout crowd at Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday night at 8 p.m., CT. It will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.