11/11 KANSAS STATE (23-7, 11-6 Big 12) at WEST VIRGINIA (17-13, 6-11 Big 12)
Saturday, March 4, 2023 >> 1:01 p.m. CT >> WVU Coliseum (14,000) >> Morgantown, W.Va.
Big 12 Now / WatchESPN (link here)
- James Westling (play-by-play)
- Tim Welsh (analyst)
- Eric Lilly (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: 23-7/1st Year
Career Record: 25-7/1st Year+
- West Virginia: 1-0 [1-0 at K-State]
West Virginia: Bob Huggins [West Virginia ‘77]
Record at WVU: 343-201/16th Year
Career Record: 933-412/41st Year
- K-State: 15-9 [15-9 at WVU]
Overall: West Virginia leads 15-10
Big 12 Era: West Virginia leads 14-9
In Morgantown: West Virginia leads 8-3
At WVU Coliseum: West Virginia leads 8-2
Active Streak: K-State, 1
Tang vs. West Virginia: 1-0 [1-0 at K-State]
Tang vs. Bob Huggins: 1-0 [0-0 on the road]
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP (Based off the last game)
11/11 Kansas State (23-7, 11-6 Big 12)
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #5 Cam Carter
G: #13 Desi Sills
F: #11 Keyontae Johnson
F: #35 Nae’Qwan Tomlin
West Virginia (17-13, 6-11 Big 12)
G: #0 Kedrian Johnson
G: #10 Erik Stevenson
F: #1 Emmitt Matthews Jr.
F: #3 Tre Mitchell
F: #15 Jimmy Bell Jr.
No. 11/11 K-State (23-7, 11-6 Big 12) concludes the regular season on Saturday afternoon with a trip to Morgantown, W. Va., to take on West Virginia (17-13, 6-11 Big 12) for a 1 p.m., CT tip at the WVU Coliseum. The Wildcats are currently in a 3-way tie for second place in the Big 12 standings with No. 7/8 Baylor and No. 9/7 Texas entering the last game of the regular season, having already earned a bye to the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Thursday, March 9. K-State can be the No. 2, 3 or 4 seed at the tournament with a win against West Virginia guaranteeing the No. 2 seed. The Wildcats and Mountaineers will be meeting for the first time since an 82-76 overtime win in the Big 12 opener on New Year’s Eve.
- K-State shook off a rocky start against Oklahoma on Wednesday to earn its fourth straight win, as the Wildcats scored 72 points in the final 31 minutes on 70 percent (28-of-40) shooting after opening the game with just 13 points in first 8 minutes on 20 percent (4-of-20) shooting. It was an all-around effort, as four players scored in double figures, while the team moved to 12-1 this season when 6 or more players have at least 6 points.
- 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 team is one of six (Kansas, Texas, Baylor, Purdue and Alabama) with 9 or more Quad 1 victories.
- K-State earned its 31st 20-win season and first since 2018-19 in the win over No. 19/18 Iowa State Feb. 18. The 23-7 record ties 3 other teams for the fourth-best start by a Wildcat team in the past 50 seasons. Among the 17 wins in the last 23 outings is a 9-game winning streak from Dec. 3, 2022 to Jan. 10, 2023 and a tie for the most AP Top 25 wins (7) in school history.
- K-State’s 23-7 start under head coach Jerome Tang is the best by all first-year Division I coaches, just ahead of Missouri’s Dennis Gates (22-8), Xavier’s Sean Miller (22-8) and Duke’s Jon Scheyer (22-8). He is the fifth K-State coach to win 20 games in his first season, joining Lon Kruger [20/1986-87], Bob Huggins [23/2006-07], Frank Martin [21/2007-08] and Bruce Weber [27/2012-13], while his 23 wins tie for the second-most by a first-year coach.
- Seniors Keyontae Johnson (17.6 ppg.) and Markquis Nowell (16.8 ppg.) are one of the most prolific tandems, as they combine to average 34.4 points per game to rank fourth among power conferences. They earned Big 12 Player (Nowell) and Newcomer (Johnson) of the Week on Monday after helping K-State sweep No. 9/10 Baylor and OSU. They have combined for 8 weekly Big 12 honors, while they were each named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy, John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy Midseason Watch Lists.
- The school’s single season assist leader, Nowell currently ranks third nationally in both assists per game (7.7 apg.) and total assists (230), while he is in the top-25 in 5 other categories (steals, steals/game, free throws, free throw percentage and minutes/game). He ranks first or second in the Big 12 in an astounding 14 categories, including first in 8 categories.
NOTES ON WEST VIRGINIA
- West Virginia (17-13, 6-11 Big 12) has won 2 of the last 3 games, including a 72-69 victory at Iowa State on Monday. The Mountaineers are 12-4 at home this season with wins in 4 of their last 5, including victories over Auburn, Oklahoma, Iowa State and OSU.
- WVU is averaging 76.3 points on 45.3 percent shooting, including 35.4 percent from 3-point range, with 33.9 rebounds, 13.2 assists, 6.4 steals and 3.0 blocks per game, while allowing 70.8 points on 44.7 percent shooting, including 33.9 percent from 3-point range. The Mountaineers are connecting on 73.4 percent from the free throw line.
- Four players are averaging in double figures led by Erik Stevenson, who is averaging 15.2 points on 43.6 percent shooting, including 39.5 percent from 3-point range. He is joined in double figures by seniors Tre Mitchell (11.4 ppg.), Kedrian Johnson (10.6 ppg.), Emmitt Matthew, Jr. (10.0 ppg.). Senior Jimmy Bell, Jr. leads the way with 5.4 rebounds per game, while Johnson paces in both assists (3.2 apg.) and steals (1.7 spg.).
- Head coach Bob Huggins is in his 16th season at his alma mater with a 343-201 record, which includes 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and a trip to the 2010 Final Four. Inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2022, he has a 933-412 record in his 41st season as a head coach, which ranks third on the all-time coaching list, just behind Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim.
- Among Huggins’ 5 head-coaching stops is a one-year stint at K-State from 2006-07, where he led the Wildcats to their first 20-win season since 1998-99, their highest win total (23) since 1987-88 and a trip to the NIT.
- West Virginia leads the all-time series, 15-10, which includes a 14-9 mark in the Big 12 era. The Mountaineers are 8-3 at home in the series, having won each of the last 3 meetings.
- K-State has won 2 of the last 3 games, including an 82-76 overtime win in the first meeting this season. The Wildcats have not swept the series since 2019, which is the last win in Morgantown (65-51 on Feb. 18, 2019).
LAST 10 MEETINGS [4-6]
Date Rank Result Score Location
1/9/2019 —/— W 71-69 Manhattan
2/18/2019 23/— W 65-51 Morgantown
1/18/2020 —/12 W 84-68 Manhattan
2/1/2020 —/12 L 57-66 Morgantown
1/23/2021 —/14 L 47-69 Manhattan
2/27/2021 —/10 L 43-65 Morgantown
1/8/2022 —/— L 68-71 Morgantown
2/14/2022 —/— W 78-73 Manhattan
3/9/2022 —/— L 67-73 Kansas City
12/31/2022 —/24 W 82-76 (OT) Manhattan
K-STATE 82, 24/24 WEST VIRGINIA 76 [OT] [Dec. 31, 2022]
- Senior Markquis Nowell scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and overtime to help K-State rally from a double-digit halftime deficit to hand No. 24/24 West Virginia an 82-76 loss in both teams’ Big 12 opener on New Year’s Eve before 8,199 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
- Nowell finished the night 3 steals shy of a triple-double, dishing out a game-high 10 assists to go with a career-tying 7 steals in 43 minutes of action. It was just the sixth 20-point/10-assist game in school history, including the second such game by Nowell after his 29-point, 11-assist effort vs. Nevada on Nov. 22.
- Nowell was joined in double figures by senior Keyontae Johnson, who scored 18 points on 6-of-13 field goals and 6-of-9 free throws, as well as fellow senior Abayomi Iyiola and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin, who added 14 and 11 points, respectively. Iyiola went 6-of-7 from the field to go with a pair of clutch free throws, along with a team-high 8 rebounds.
- The victory was anything but easy, as the Mountaineers jumped out a 17-3 lead behind their stellar defense, which held the Wildcats without a field goal for nearly 6 minutes until a layup by Johnson with 14:04 to play before halftime. WVU led by 11 at the half, holding K-State to just 21 points on 29 percent (9-of-31) shooting, including misses on all 8 3-point attempts.
- Nowell sparked the Wildcats to open the second half, scoring the team’s first 5 points, as they slowly started to chip away at the double-digit deficit. He tied it at 42-all on a free throw with just over 13 minutes to play before Johnson’s layup 13 seconds later gave them their first lead of the contest. Six different Wildcats scored in the 23-10 run out of halftime, including 11 from Nowell.
- Just as the Wildcats had done to start the second half, the Mountaineers made their own comeback, using a 10-4 run to take a 63-62 lead on a layup by senior Tre Mitchell with 1:03 to play. A Johnson jumper and 2 free throws from Iyiola helped K-State take a 66-63 lead with 13 seconds before a wild sequence capped by a 3-pointer from Kedrian Johnson sent the game into overtime.
- The Wildcats grabbed the momentum to start overtime, scoring 11 of the first 15 points to take a 77-70 lead with 1:24 to play. Although the Mountaineers got a 3-pointer from Mitchell on the next possession, Nowell answered with his own 3-point play with 53 seconds for an 80-73 advantage and they were able to salt the game away with 2 more Nowell free throws for the final margin.
LAST MEETING IN MORGANTOWN:
WEST VIRGINIA 71, K-STATE 68 [Jan. 8, 2022]
- A short-handed K-State got off to a fast start before running out of steam in the second half in dropping a 71-68 decision to West Virginia in the last meeting between the teams in Morgantown on Jan. 8, 2022.
- The Wildcats led by 17 points midway through the first half and 13 at the half before the Mountaineers scored 44 points in the second half on 50 percent shooting after posting 27 points on 32.3 percent in the first half.
- Nijel Pack led four Wildcats in double figures with 20 points. Markquis Nowell had 10 points and 10 assists to earn his first double-double in Big 12 play.
LAST TIME OUT: 11/11 K-STATE 85, OKLAHOMA 69
- A 9-0 run to end the first half fueled an explosive second-half effort by No. 11/11 K-State, as the Wildcats ended their home schedule with an 85-69 win over Oklahoma on Wednesday before a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State ran its winning streak to 4 games, while ending its home season with 4 straight wins to finish with a near perfect 15-1 record at Bramlage Coliseum. The 15 wins are the second-most all-time in the arena’s history and the most since winning 16 in 2012-13.
- It was an impressive offensive effort for the Wildcats after a shaky start, in which, they started just 4-of-20 (20 percent) from the field while missing 10 of their first 11 field goals. However, the team was able to get their offense going towards the end of the first half, breaking a 25-all tie with 3:28 to play with 9 consecutive points to end the half to take a 34-25 lead into the break.
- Riding the momentum, K-State opened the second half by scoring 14 of the first 18 points to expand its lead to 48-31 and force a timeout by Oklahoma head coach Porter Moser with near 16 minutes to play. A few minutes later, a 3-pointer by sophomore Cam Carter and a dunk by junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin gave the Wildcats their largest lead at 53-33. The Sooners were able to cut into the lead on a number of occasions, including 75-65 with just over 2 minutes left, however, the home team was able to remain ahead and finish off the game.
- All told, the Wildcats scored 72 points in the final 31 minutes on 70 percent (28-of-40) shooting after opening the game with just 13 points on 20 percent (4-of-20) shooting in the first 8 minutes of the game. The team scored 51 points in the second half on 70.4 percent (19-of-27) shooting, including 50 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range. It marked the first time K-State has hit on 70 percent or better in a half since 2019 and the first time in Big 12 play since 2018.
- It was an all-around team effort, as four Wildcats scored in double figures led by 19 points from Tomlin, while six players had at least 6 points and nine players scored in total. The team is now 12-1 this season when six or more players score at least 6 points. Tomlin scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half on 6-of-6 shooting while finishing a near perfect 8-of-9 from the field.
- Senior Keyontae Johnson scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, to go with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in 35 minutes. Senior Desi Sills flirted with a triple-double in his final home game with 15 points, a game-high 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Senior Markquis Nowell collected his 15th career double-double, including his 10th at K-State and his seventh this season, with 11 points and game-high 10 assists.
- For the game, the Wildcats connected on 53.3 percent (32-of-60) shooting, including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from 3-point range, while making 63.2 percent (12-of-19) from the line. The team had 22 assists on 32 made field goals, while they had a season-high 24 fast-break points and 44 points in the paint.
- K-State has now scored 80 or more points in 10 games, which is the most since posting 11 in 2017-18.
POSTGAME NEWS & NOTES
- K-State has now shot better than 50 percent from the field in 8 games.
- K-State had 22 assists on 32 made field goals with 4 Wildcats dishing out at least 2 assists… It was the 10th time that the team has had at least 20 assists.
- K-State scored a season-high 24 fast-break points, eclipsing the 22 vs. Rhode Island (11/21/22)… It was the second game with 20 or more fast-break points.
- K-State scored 20 points off 13 Oklahoma turnovers… The Wildcats have now scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 7 games, including twice in Big 12 play.
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 23-7 start under Jerome Tang is the second-best by a first-year coach in school history behind Zora G. Clevenger, who went 15-2 in 1916-17. The start is the best by any first-year coach in Division I, just ahead of Missouri’s Dennis Gates, Xavier’s Sean Miller and Duke’s Jon Scheyer, all at 22-8. He is the fifth K-State head coach to win 20 games in his first season.
- 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 24-7.
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 1,718-1,220 (.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 75.6 points this season on 45.4 percent (784-of-1726) shooting, including 34.2 percent (209-of-612) from 3-point range, while hitting on 74.8 percent (491-of-656) from the free throw line. The Wildcats are second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage and assists (16.8 apg.), fourth in assist/ turnover ratio (1.21) and sixth in scoring offense and field goal percentage.
- The current scoring average (75.6 ppg.) is tied for 10th on the school’s single-season top-10 and the highest since the 2009-10 team averaged 79.7 points per game. The 45.4 field goal percentage is tied for the 10th-best in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the highest since 2017-18 (46.3 percent).
- K-State has scored 80 or more points 10 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 they had 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 8 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 sharing the basketball, as the Wildcats rank 11th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 16.7 assists per game. Among the 506 assists are 7 players with double-digit totals, including senior Markquis Nowell, who ranks third nationally in assists/game (7.7) and total assists (230). The 506 assists rank 10th on the single-season chart and are the most since 2017-18. Nowell, who has double-digit assists in 8 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 64.4 assist percentage according to KenPom, which calculates assists (506) to made field goals (784). Only Lafayette (69.2), Tennessee (66.7), Arizona (66.4), Virginia (66.1), Xavier (65.5) and Air Force (65.3) 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 23 of 30 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 (1,195 points), Keyontae Johnson (1,316 points), Markquis Nowell (1,812 points) and Desi Sills (1,366 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, UAB and Youngstown State with 5, while K-State joins 13 other schools (including Big 12 foes Iowa State and Texas) with 4 such scorers.
- K-State is getting solid production from its bench through the first 30 games, as the Wildcats are averaging 17.4 points per game. The team has scored 20 or more bench points in 4 of the last 8 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.
- Before earning starts in the last 4 games, senior Desi Sills had made a huge impact from the bench, scoring in double figures 11 times, including a season-high 24 points in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas. Junior Ismael Massoud has also proved to be a spark of the bench, posting 4 double-digit scoring games.
- K-State’s defense has forced 449 turnovers through the first 30 games, which includes 231 steals, while averaging 16.6 points per game off those miscues.
- The 15.0 turnovers forced per game ranks 40th nationally, while it places fourth in the Big 12 behind Iowa State, TCU and Texas. K-State ranks fifth in steals (7.7) and seventh in turnover margin (+1.0), while senior Markquis Nowell leads the Big 12 and places 14th nationally in steals (2.33 spg.).
- K-State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers 7 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), West Virginia (12/31/22; 22 points) and Oklahoma (3/1/23; 20 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 on Dec. 19 after his impressive effort vs. Nebraska, as he posted game-highs in points (23) and rebounds (11) to go with his career-tying 4 steals.
- Johnson has been selected for the Newcomer award 3 more times since the start of Big 12 play, including Jan. 9 after posting consecutive 20-point games in wins at No. 6/6 Texas and No. 19/17 Baylor, Jan. 23 after his 24-point effort in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas and double-double vs. Texas Tech and Feb. 27 after averaging 21 points in wins vs. No. 9/10 Baylor and at Oklahoma State. The 5 total awards are the most since Michael Beasley won it 8 times in 2007-08.
- Johnson has scored in double figures in a team-best 29 games, leading the Wildcats and ranking second in the Big 12 in scoring (17.6 ppg.). He is second in the league in field goal percentage (52.2), while he is in the top-15 in 5 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. He became the 33rd Wildcat to top 500 points in a single season at OSU.
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 (7.7 apg.) and steals (2.3 spg.) while averaging the second-most points (16.8 ppg.). The 3-time Big 12 Player of the Week was named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy, John R. Wooden and Naismith Trophy Award Midseason Watch Lists and Bob Cousy Award Top 10 List.
- Nowell ranks third nationally in assists/game (7.7 apg.) and assists (230), while he is in the top-20 in five others, including eighth in steals (70), 11th in free throws (158), 14th in steals/game (2.3), 15th in free throw percentage and 21st 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 just eclipsed 1,800 career points. He also ranks first among all active Division I players in steals (262).
- 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.
- The school’s single season assists leader (230) with his 7 assists in the win over TCU, Nowell continued his historic season in the win over No. 9/10 Baylor, becoming just the 12th player in Division I since 1996-97 to dish out at least 10 assists without a single turnover vs. an AP Top 10 opponent. He collected his 15th double-double and seventh this season with 11 points and 10 assists in the win over Oklahoma in his final game at Bramlage Coliseum.
AN INSTANT IMPACT
- Junior 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 (10.3 ppg.) while connecting 48.4 percent (119-of-246) from the field to go with 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks in 27.1 minutes per game. He is averaging 9.3 points on 50 percent (62-of-124) shooting with 5.8 rebounds in Big 12 play.
- 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 7 games in Big 12 play, including a team-high 19 points in the win over Oklahoma.
- 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 has earned the start in each of the last 4 games, he has mostly been a spark off the bench for the Wildcats, averaging 8.5 points on 44 percent (88-of-200) shooting with 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 29 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures 13 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 5 of the last 8 games, including a near triple-double vs. Oklahoma with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
- 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: PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
- K-State has clinched a bye to the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will begin play on Thursday, March 9, as the No. 2, 3 or 4 seed depending on the results of Saturday’s games. The tournament begins Wednesday, March 8 with two first-round games.