5/5 KANSAS STATE (17-3, 6-2 Big 12) vs. FLORIDA (12-8, 5-3 SEC)
10th Annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Saturday, January 28, 2023 >> 5:05 p.m. CT >> Bramlage Coliseum (11,000) >> Manhattan, Kan.
ESPN2 / WatchESPN (link here)
- Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play)
- Chris Spatola (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)
K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ‘07]
Record at K-State: 17-3/1st Year
Career Record: 19-3/1st Year+
- Florida: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Florida: Todd Golden [Saint Mary’s ‘08]
Record at Florida: 12-8/1st Year
Career Record: 69-44/4th Year
- K-State: 0-0 [0-0 at Florida]
Overall: Series Tied 1-1
SEC/Big 12 Challenge: First meeting
In Manhattan: First meeting
At Bramlage Coliseum: First meeting
Active Streak: K-State, 1
Tang vs. Florida: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Tang vs. Todd Golden: 0-0 [0-0 at home]
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP (Based off the last game)
5/5 Kansas State (17-3, 6-2 Big 12)
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #5 Cam Carter
F: #11 Keyontae Johnson
F: #35 Nae’Qwan Tomlin
C: #23 Abayomi Iyiola
Florida (12-8, 5-3 SEC)
G: #0 Myreon Jones
G: #5 Will Richard
G: #11 Kyle Lofton
G: #24 Riley Kugel
F: #12 Colin Castleton
No. 5/5 K-State (17-3, 6-2 Big 12) plays its final non-conference game on Saturday night, as the Wildcats welcome Florida (12-8, 5-3 SEC) in the 10th and final SEC/Big 12 Challenge at 5 p.m., CT on ESPN2. The game will be Legends Weekend, as the school will honor past lettermen at halftime while encouraging fans to wear lavender. K-State will be looking to snap a 4-game losing skid in the Challenge series, as the team will be looking for its first win since a 56-51 home win over Georgia on Jan. 27, 2018. K-State, which jumped into the AP Top 5 for the first time in more than a decade (No. 5/Dec. 6, 2010) on Monday, will be looking for its 12th non-conference win of the season, which would be the most since the 2010-11 season (12-3).
- K-State lost for just the second time in the last 13 games on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats could not complete their second-half rally in dropping an 80-76 decision at No. 12/13 Iowa State. The Wildcats rallied from 10 points down to close to within 60-59 with 5:43 to play and 5 times down the stretch they were within one possession, but they could get no closer as the Cyclones seemed to answer any big shot with one of their own to remain perfect (11-0) at home. Despite the loss, K-State posted the most points (76) and highest field goal percentage (52.1) against one of the nation’s top defenses, including the Big 12’s best scoring defense (58.6 ppg.).
- K-State is off to its best start (17-3) since also opening the 1972-73 season with a similar 17-3 mark, while the squad is 6-2 in Big 12 play for just the fourth time, including the first time since 2018-19. Among the 11 wins in the last 13 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. The team has averaged 79.5 points per game in the last 13 games on 47.2 percent (360-of-763) shooting with 5 players averaging 7 or more points, including 3 in double figures.
- K-State’s 17-3 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 17-3 start also ranks among the very best by all first-year coaches in Division I, ahead of Xavier’s Sean Miller (17-4), Seattle’s Chris Victor (16-5) and Missouri’s Dennis Gates (15-5).
- Seniors Keyontae Johnson (18.3 ppg.) and Markquis Nowell (17.1 ppg.) have been one of the most prolific tandems in the country, as they combine to average 35.4 points per game on 47.7 percent (227-of-476) shooting, including 38.7 percent (70-of-181) from 3-point range, and 81.3 percent (183-of-225) from the free throw line. They were named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List and have combined to win 6 weekly Big 12 awards.
- Nowell continues to be one of the leaders nationally in assists. He ranks second nationally in both total assists (165) assists per game (8.3 apg.), while he is 22nd in assist/turnover ratio (2.75) with 165 assists to 60 turnovers. He is one of 2 active Division I player with at least 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals, while his 239 career steals are first among active players.
- The Wildcats have quite the dynamic 1-2-3 scoring punch with Johnson (18.3 ppg.) and Nowell (17.1 ppg.) and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin (10.5 ppg.) combining to average 45.9 points per game on 47.2 percent (308-of-653) shooting. They are the third-best scoring trio in the Big 12 after Baylor’s Adam Flagler, Keyonte George and L.J. Cryer (47.1 ppg.) and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson, Gradey Dick and K.J. Adams, Jr. (46.3 ppg.).
LAST TIME OUT: 12/13 IOWA STATE 80, 5/5 K-STATE 76
- In a game befitting the first top-15 matchup in the 246-game history between the schools, No. 12/13 Iowa State made the right plays at the right moments to hold off a late rally by No. 5/5 Kansas State for 80-76 win on Tuesday night before a sold-out crowd of 14,267 fans at Hilton Coliseum.
- Down 59-49 with 8:12 to play, K-State made a late charge behind the play of senior Markquis Nowell, who scored 5 points in a 10-1 run that closed the deficit to 60-59 at the 5:43 mark. However, senior Caleb Grill made his only shot – a 3-pointer – on the next possession after a big offensive rebound from freshman Tamin Lipsey that gave ISU a 63-59 lead and more breathing room.
- Five times down the stretch, the Wildcats closed to within one possession but each time the Cyclones seemed to answer any big shot with one of their own to remain perfect (11-0) at home. Nowell, who continued his stellar play with a game-tying 23 points and a game-high 9 assists, missed a layup with 14 seconds left that would’ve pulled K-State to within 76-75. Lipsey grabbed the defensive rebound and Grill sink a pair of free throws for a 78-73 lead.
- Nowell gave the Wildcats’ one last chance at 78-76 with 3 seconds left after he made all 3 free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer, but senior Jaren Holmes was able to knock down both free throws for the final margin.
- Nowell continued his stellar play with another near double-double, scoring a game-tying 23 points to go with a game-high 9 assists in 38 minutes. He has now scored 20 or more points 7 times this season, including on 6 occasions in Big 12 play. He was one of four Wildcats in double figures, as senior Keyontae Johnson grabbed his fourth double-double, including his second straight, with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Cam Carter and junior Ismael Massoud finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
- The Cyclones got big scoring nights from Holmes (23) and Kalscheur (19), who combined for 42 points on 15-of-22 shooting, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Senior big man Osun Osunniyi added 16 points, while Lipsey had a solid all-around night with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
- Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field in the game, including an opponent-high 57.1 percent (28-of-49) by Iowa State, which finished with advantages in points off turnovers (25-13), points in the paint (34-28) and second-chance points (17-7). K-State was able to hit on 52.1 percent (25-of-48) of its field goals, including a season-best 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from 3-point range. The 76 points were the most allowed this season by the Cyclones, who are tops in the Big 12 in scoring defense (58.6).
- The loss spoiled the Wildcats’ debut as a Top 5 team, which is the highest in more than a decade since also ranking No. 5 on Dec. 6, 2010. K-State is still off to its best 20-game start in 50 years since the 1972-73 opened the year with 17-3 record, while they are now tied with Iowa State and Texas atop the Big 12 at 6-2.
POSTGAME NEWS & NOTES
- The loss was the first by single digits after starting 9-0 in such contests.
- K-State still leads the all-time series, 144-92, including 54-52 in Ames (23-29 in Hilton Coliseum)… ISU now holds a slight edge in the Big 12 era at 29-27.
- It marked the seventh time this season that K-State has shot 50 percent or better from the field, including the third time in Big 12 play.
- K-State connected on 9 3-pointers, including 2 players (Markquis Nowell and Ish Massoud) hitting 4 each… The 4 treys were the most by Massoud in his K-State career… The 56.3 3-point field goal percentage was season high.
- K-State is now 10-1 this season when leading 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 17-3 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 is the best by any current first-year Division I coach, ahead of Xavier’s Sean Miller (17-4) and Seattle’s Chris Victor (16-5).
- 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 19-3.
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 1,712-1,216 (.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 77.8 points this season on 46.7 percent (545-of-1168) shooting, including 36 percent (147-of-408) from 3-point range, while hitting on 74 percent (302-of-406) from the free throw line. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage and assists (17.9 apg.), while they are third in scoring offense, 3-point field goals/game (7.4) and free throw percentage.
- The current scoring average (77.8 ppg.) is on pace to be the fifth-best in school history and the highest since the 2009-10 team averaged 79.7 points per game. The 46.7 field goal percentage is also on pace to be the fifth-best in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the highest since 1988-89 (49.0 percent).
- K-State has scored 80 or more points 8 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).
- A key to the K-State offense this season has been its ability to score in paint, as the Wildcats are averaging 36.2 points in the paint. The team has scored 30 or more points in the paint 14 times in 19 games, including 7 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 17.9 assists per game. Among the 357 assists are 7 players with double-digit totals, including senior Markquis Nowell, who ranks second nationally in both total assists (165) and assists/game (8.3). He has posted double-digit assists in 6 games, including a career-high 14 at No. 19/17 Baylor.
- The Wildcats also rank in the top-10 with a 65.5 assist percentage according to KenPom, which calculates assists (357) to made field goals (545). Only Lafayette (69.3), Xavier (67.6), Virginia (67.4), Tennessee (67.2), Arizona (66.6) and Colorado State (66.1) 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 16 of 20 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 (1/14/23) 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 (1,177 points), Keyontae Johnson (1,155 points), Markquis Nowell (1,649 points) and Desi Sills (1,282 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 20 games, as the Wildcats are averaging 18.3 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 8 times, including season-high 24-point performance in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas (1/17/23). Junior Ismael Massoud has also proved a spark of the bench, registering 4 double-digit scoring games, while averaging 8.1 points on 47.6 percent shooting in Big 12 play with 3 double figure games.
- K-State’s defense has forced 310 turnovers through the first 20 games, which includes 156 steals, while averaging 16 points per game off those miscues. The team ranks 43rd in non-steal turnover percentage (10.8) by KenPom.
- The 15.5 turnovers forced per game ranks 43rd nationally, while it places fifth in the Big 12 behind Iowa State, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech. K-State ranks sixth in steals (7.74) and seventh in turnover margin (+1.65), while senior Markquis Nowell places 16th nationally and second in the Big 12 in steals (2.35 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 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 all 20 games, leading the Wildcats and ranking third in the Big 12 in scoring (18.3 ppg.). He is second in the league in field goal percentage (54.6), while he is in the top-10 in 5 other categories, including third in rebounding and minutes (33.7 mpg.), fifth in defensive rebounds (5.50) and ninth in offensive rebounds (2.00).
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 (8.3 apg.) and steals (2.4 spg.) while averaging the second-most points (17.1 ppg.). He recently was named to the Sporting News’ Midseason All-America Second Team as well as to the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List.
- 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.
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 (10.5 ppg.) while connecting 45.8 percent (81-of-177) from the field to go with 5.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks in 28.8 minutes per game. He ranks in the Big 12’s top-15 in rebounding (12th) and blocks (7th).
- 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 in the last 4 games, while posting his first career double-double (15 pts/10 rebs) in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas.
- 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 8.6 points on 45.7 percent (63-of-138) shooting with 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 27.9 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures 8 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 8 or more points in 7 of the last 12, including 14 vs. UIW and 11 vs. Oklahoma State.
- 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 9/9 KANSAS (16-4, 5-3 Big 12)
- K-State hits the road on Tuesday for the second meeting with archrival and No. 9/9 Kansas (16-4, 5-3 Big 12) in Dillons Sunflower Showdown set for Allen Fieldhouse at 7 p.m., CT.