22/23 TCU Downs 12/12 K-State at Big 12 Championship, 80-67

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A strong second-half performance carried No. 22/23 TCU to an 80-67 win over No. 12/12 Kansas State in the final quarterfinal game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Thursday night before a crowd of 17,476 at the T-Mobile Center.

With the win, TCU (21-11) advances to the semifinals to play No. 7/7 Texas (24-8) at 8:30 p.m., CT on Friday night.

The Horned Frogs took control of the game late in the first half with a 9-2 run before responding emphatically with a 19-7 run after the Wildcats (23-9) closed to within a possession on two occasions early in the second half to build a double-digit advantage. The lead grew to as many as 16 points on several occasions down the stretch.

TCU knocked down a season-high 11 3-point field goals, including a combined 8 triples from seniors Mike Miles Jr and Chuck O’Bannon Jr, who both scored game-high 22 points. The Horned Frogs entered the game ranking 338th in Division I in 3-point field goals made/game (5.2), while they ranked 343rd in 3-point field goal percentage (29.6). They finished the game hitting on 44 percent (11-of-25) from beyond the arc.

In addition to the success beyond the arc, TCU made the most of K-State’s turnovers, scoring 20 points off 20 Wildcat turnovers, while posting an opponent season-high 25 second-chance points on 14 offensive rebounds. The Wildcats are now 1-4 this season when turning the ball over 20 or more times.

Four Wildcats scored in double figures, including 14 points each from seniors Keyontae Johnson and Desi Sills. Fellow senior Markquis Nowell added 11 points and 5 assists, while junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin had a near double-double with 10 points and a game-high 9 rebounds to go with 3 steals.

For the game, K-State hit on 43.6 percent (24-of-55) from the field, including 23.3 percent (7-of-30) from 3-point range, while making 80 percent (12-of-15) from the free throw line.

The Wildcats fell to 37-44 all-time at the conference tournament, including 17-26 in the Big 12 era. They have now lost 3 straight in the event.


K-State jumped out to an 11-2 start with an active Nae’Qwan Tomlin accounting for 4 points, while senior Desi Sills added a 3-pointer from the top of the key right before the first media timeout. TCU got a 3-pointer from senior Chuck O’Bannon right before the first media timeout that an ignited an equaling 11-2 run that knotted the score at 13-13 at the second media timeout with 11:48 on the clock.

The teams traded the lead over the next few minutes before junior Ismael Massoud give the Wildcats a 23-21 lead on a corner 3-pointer before the third media timeout with 7:16 before halftime. However, the Horned Frogs were able to tie the game once again on a pair of free throws by O’Bannon.

After a pair of Sills’ free throws gave K-State a 25-23 lead, TCU used a 12-2 run to push ahead 35-27 with 2:57 to play, which was capped by a 3-pointer by junior Emanuel Miller from the corner. The team traded baskets before a running layup by Massoud and a free throw by senior Tykei Greene helped close the gap to 37-32 at the break.

K-State made a couple of run at TCU to start the second half, closing to within a possession at 42-40 on back-to-back 3-pointer from Tomlin and Johnson and again at 44-42 after a pair of free throws by Sills. However, the Horned Frogs had an answer for the run, scoring 19 of the next 26 points to build a 63-49 lead with 11:13 to play.

The Wildcats could get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as the lead ballooned to as much 16 points down the stretch, including 73-57 after a 5-0 run by the Horned Frogs.


Head Coach Jerome Tang

On the game…

“First of all, I want to thank the good Lord for the opportunity He’s given me to coach these guys and this program and playing this incredible event. I want to thank our fans because they did a great job of showing up. Probably the most disappointed in that, letting them down tonight. We, and this is on me, I didn’t do a very good job of preparing these guys for how physical and what force that people play with in the Big 12 Tournament. That will not happen again.”

On the turnovers…

“All turnovers worry me. Okay, so how they come about, you know, yeah, that’s important. I felt like most of our turnovers today were guys trying too hard. We had a few careless ones, but most of those they were trying too hard. We have to show them and just really buy into making simple plays. But you’re not winning — we are 1-5 when you have 19 or more turnovers. And I mean, they know that. I know that. We all know that, right? So, we’ve got to take care of the ball.”

On the confidence he has in this team…

“I’m extremely confident because we as a staff know what we need to do to get our guys prepared. So that’s not going to be an issue. The great thing is now we get three or four really good days of practice before we play another game. And the guys now have that feeling of the season could be over, and that changes things. And we get to play a team that doesn’t know us as well as this team that we played today.”


Team Notes

  • K-State falls to 23-9 to end the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship… The Wildcats now await their postseason destination in the NCAA Tournament, which will be 32nd appearance in school history.
  • K-State has now lost 3 straight games in the Big 12 Championship and fell to 37-44 all-time in the tournament, including 17-26 in the Big 12 era.
  • K-State is now 4-2 all-time vs. TCU at the Big 12 Championship, including 2-1 in the quarterfinals… The Wildcats had won 4 straight over the Horned Frogs in the Championship.
  • K-State scored its 67 points on 43.6 percent (24-of-55) shooting, including 23.3 percent (7-of-30) from 3-point range, while connecting on 80 percent (12-of-15) from the free throw line.
  • The 30 attempted 3-point field goals were a season-high and most-ever attempted in a conference tournament game, surpassing the 27 vs. Iowa State (3/15/19).
  • TCU scored 20 points off 20 K-State turnovers… The Wildcats are now 1-4 when turning the ball over 20 or more times this season… The Horned Frogs just had 9 turnovers, allowing 9 points off those mistakes.
  • TCU scored 25 second-chance points off 14 offensive rebounds… The 25 second-chance points were the most allowed an opponent this season, surpassing the 24 by West Virginia (12/31/22).
  • TCU connected on a season-high 11 3-point field goals, surpassing its previous high of 10 vs. ULM (11/17/22).
  • TCU led 37-32 at the half on the strength of a 9-2 run late in the half… Senior Mike Miles Jr. led all scorers with 12 points, while senior Desi Sills led the Wildcats with 7 points.
  • K-State is now 9-6 this season when trailing at the half.


Player Notes

  • Four Wildcats scored in double figures led by 14 points from seniors Keyontae Johnson and Desi Sills.
  • Johnson scored his 14 points on 6-of-12 field goals, including 2-of-6 from 3-point range, to go with 7 rebounds and 3 assists in 30 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 31 of 32 games this season, while he has 69 in his college career.
  • Sills scored his 14 points on 2-of-5 field goals, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range, and 9-of-10 free throws to go with a career-best 4 blocks, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal in 35 minutes… He has now scored in 64 career games in college, including 14 times this season.
  • Senior Markquis Nowell scored 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting, including 1-of-9 from 3-point range, to go with a game-high 5 assists and 3 rebounds in 38 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 95 career games in college, including 29 of 32 this season.
  • Junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin had a near double-double with 10 points on 4-of-8 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, with a game-high 9 rebounds and 3 steals in 25 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 17 games this season.


K-State will await its postseason destination on Sunday afternoon, as the Wildcats are expected to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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