KANSAS STATE (9-1) vs NEBRASKA (6-5)
11th Wildcat Classic
Saturday, December 17, 2022 >> 6:02 p.m. CT >> T-Mobile Center (18,972) >> Kansas City, Mo.
Big 12 Now on ESPN+ / WatchESPN (link here)
- Pete Sousa (play-by-play)
- Bryndon Manzer (analyst)
- Steve Kurtenbach (producer)
K-State Sports Network
Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
Satellite Radio: Sirius XM 375/375
Online: Varsity Network [free] / www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]
- Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
- Stan Weber (analyst)
(800) 221.CATS 
Single Game: $12, $20, $30, $50, $150 options
K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ‘07]
Record at K-State: 9-1/1st Year
Career Record: 11-1/1st Year+
- Nebraska: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Nebraska: Fred Hoiberg [Iowa State ‘95]
Record at Nebraska: 30-72/4th Year
Career Record: 145-128/9th Year
- K-State: 7-7 [0-1 at Nebraska]
Overall: K-State leads 127-93
In Kansas City: K-State leads 19-3
At T-Mobile Center: First meeting
Active Streak: K-State, 6
Tang vs. Nebraska: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
K-State vs. Big Ten: 168-154 [89-53 at home]
Tang vs. Fred Hoiberg: 0-0 [0-0 at home]
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP (Based off the last game)
Kansas State (9-1)
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #5 Cam Carter
F: #11 Keyontae Johnson
F: #35 Nae’Qwan Tomlin
C: #3 David N’Guessan
G: #5 Sam Griesel
G: #25 Emmanuel Bandoumel
G: #0 C.J. Wilcher
F: #4 Juwan Gary
F: #13 Derrick Walker, Jr.
- Kansas State (9-1) renews its rivalry with former conference foe Nebraska (6-5), as the Wildcats play host to the Cornhuskers in the Wildcat Classic at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
- It will be the second in a 3-game series between the schools after K-State earned a 67-58 win over Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln on Dec. 19, 2021. The schools were to open the series at the T-Mobile Center in 2020, but it was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This will be the 23rd meeting in Kansas City with the Wildcats holding a 19-3 record, as all of those meetings came in the Big 6/7/8 Holiday and Postseason Tournaments.
- K-State is off its best start since opening the 2011-12 season with a similar 9-1 record. The Wildcats have already surpassed their non-conference win total from each of the last 3 seasons, as they attempt to win 10 games in non-conference play for the first time since 2018-19.
- K-State’s 9-1 start under head coach Jerome Tang is the best by a first-year coach in school history, surpassing the previous start of 8-2 by Lon Kruger (1986-87), Tom Asbury (1994-95) and Bruce Weber (2012-13). His 9-1 start ranks among the very best by all first-year head coaches in all of Division I, only surpassed by the 10-0 start by Mississippi State’s Chris Jans.
- This will be the 11th Wildcat Classic at the T-Mobile Center but the first since Dec. 21, 2019, with K-State holding an 8-2 record in those previous matchups. A 66-63 loss to Saint Louis in that last matchup in 2019 snapped a 5-game winning streak, which included victories over No. 23 Alabama, No. 8 Florida, No. 21 Texas A&M, Washington State and Vanderbilt.
- K-State has won 3 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) and UIW (98-50). The Wildcats have been impressive offensively in the last 2 games, averaging 89.5 points on 58.8 percent (70-of-119) shooting with 50 of those points coming in the paint.
- The Wildcats have a dynamic scoring duo in seniors Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell, as they are averaging 31.4 points per game on 48.8 percent (103-of-211) shooting. They are currently the third-best scoring duo in the Big 12 after the tandem of Kansas’ Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick (37.5 ppg.) and Baylor’s L.J. Cryer and Adam Flagler (32.6 ppg.).
- Johnson, who ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.3 points per game, is one of just 22 Division I players shooting 50 percent or better from the field (59.2), 45 percent or better from
3-point range (50.0) and 80 percent or better from the free throw line (80.0).
- Nowell continues to be one of the nation’s leaders in assists. His 8.2 assists per game rank second nationally, while his 82 total assists place third. He is also 18th in assist/turnover ratio (3.4) with 82 assists to 24 turnovers. He is the only active Division I player with at least 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 steals, while his 212 career steals are second among active players.
NOTES ON NEBRASKA
- Nebraska (6-5) enters Saturday’s game on the heels of back-to-back losses to start Big Ten play against perhaps the league’s 2 best teams with an 81-65 setback at No. 14/11 Indiana before dropping a heartbreaker in overtime at home to No. 4/4 Purdue.
- Nebraska has faced one of the most challenging schedules in the country with top-40 metrics according to KenPom. In addition to its Big Ten start against Indiana and Purdue, the team has split road games at St. John’s and Creighton on the road and went 1-2 at a neutral site vs. Oklahoma, Memphis and Florida State.
- Nebraska is averaging 68.7 points on 44.8 percent shooting, including 31 percent from 3-point range, with 37.1 rebounds, 14.1 assists, 6.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game, while allowing 65.5 points on 43 percent shooting, including 33.3 percent from 3-point range. The Cornhuskers are connecting on 64 percent from the free throw line.
- Five players are averaging in double figures led by junior and Kansas City native Derrick Walker, who is averaging 15.3 points on 69.2 percent (45-of-65) shooting with a team-best 8.8 rebounds per game. Junior transfer Keisei Tominaga is providing a big lift off the bench at 11.5 points per game, including a team-best 20 made 3-pointers. Transfer Sam Griesel leads in assists (4.8 apg.) to go with 10.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
- Head coach Fred Hoiberg is in his fourth season at Nebraska with a 30-72 record. Prior to leaving for the Chicago Bulls, Hoiberg had a successful stint at Iowa State, leading his alma mater to a 115-56 record and 4 straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2012-15.
- K-State leads the series, 127-93, which includes a 69-35 mark in games played at home venues. This will be the 221st meeting between the former conference rivals, which ranks as the fourth-most played series in school history behind Kansas (297), Missouri (237) and Iowa State (235).
- K-State holds a 19-3 mark in games played in Kansas City
LAST 10 MEETINGS [7-3]
Date Rank Result Score Location
2/13/2007 —/— L 63-74 Lincoln
2/6/2008 20/— W 74-59 Manhattan
2/20/2008 24/— L 64-71 Lincoln
1/17/2009 —/— L 51-73 Lincoln
2/28/2009 —/— W 77-72 Manhattan
2/2/2010 10/— W 76-57 Lincoln
2/17/2010 7/— W 91-87 Manhattan
2/2/2011 —/— W 69-53 Manhattan
2/23/2011 —/— W 61-57 Lincoln
12/19/2021 —/— W 67-58 Lincoln
LAST MEETING: K-STATE 67, NEBRASKA 58
- K-State turned to its reliable defense to grind out a road victory, as the Wildcats held Nebraska to more than 17 points under its average in a 67-58 win on Dec. 19, 2021, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the schools’ last meeting.
- With their offense struggling with consistency, the Wildcats turned up their defensive effort in holding the Huskers to their second-fewest points of the season (58) and second-lowest field goal percentage (32.8). The Huskers, who started the game 5-of-10 from 3-point range, missed their final 18 attempts from long range, including all 11 in the second half.
- Nijel Pack led the way offensively for the Wildcats with 15 points on 5-of-13 field goals to go with a career-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, while fellow sophomore Ish Massoud added 10 points on 2-of-4 field goals and a perfect 5-of-5 effort from the free throw line.
LAST TIME OUT: K-STATE 98, UIW 50
- K-State opened the second half with 23 consecutive points to blow open an already lopsided game, as the Wildcats capped an impressive offensive effort with a 98-50 win over UIW on Sunday before 7,042 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State collected its third 90-point scoring effort, narrowly missing the school’s first 100-point game since 2010 in the last few minutes before opting to dribble out the ball in the closing seconds against an undermanned UIW. The Wildcats hit on a season-best 59.1 percent (39-of-66) from the field, including 68.8 percent (22-of-32) after halftime, and saw 7 players in double figures.
- The 48-point margin of victory is the 10th largest in school history and the most since a 107-48 win over Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, 2008.
- K-State busted open a close contest with a 20-1 run midway through the first half before landing the knockout punch with a 23-0 start to the second half. Six Wildcats contributed in the first-half run, including 5 points each from senior Markquis Nowell and freshman Dorian Finister. The second-half run was much the same with seven players registering points, including 3-pointers from senior Keyontae Johnson and juniors Ish Massoud and Nae’Qwan Tomlin.
- Johnson led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-9 field goals, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in a season-low 24 minutes of action. The Wildcats’ leading scorer (17.3 ppg.) has now scored in double figures in all 10 games this season. Tomlin had a near double-double with 15 points and a season-high 9 rebounds in 23 minutes, while junior reserve Desi Sills added 14 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
- Sophomore Cam Carter, Finister and Nowell each added 10 points, as Nowell nearly notched another double-double with a game-high 8 assists to go with 5 rebounds. Finister saw his most action of the season in 22 minutes, recording his first career double-digit scoring game to go with 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
- UIW, which has 9 true or redshirt freshmen on its 16-man roster, connected on 38 percent (19-of-50) from the field, including 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range, and made just 5 of 8 attempts from the free throw line. Freshman Trey Miller led the Cardinals with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
K-STATE WINS CAYMAN ISLANDS CLASSIC
- K-State captured its 17th in-season tournament title, as the Wildcats knocked off Rhode Island (77-57), Nevada (96-87 in overtime) and LSU (61-59) to win the 2022 Cayman Islands Classic on Nov. 21-23. It was the team’s first tournament title since winning the 2018 Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 3 wins gave K-State its first 6-0 start since the 2018-19 season.
- Senior Markquis Nowell was selected the Cayman Islands Classic MVP and to the all-tournament team, while fellow senior Keyontae Johnson was named to the all-tournament team. Nowell averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 assists in the 3-game tournament, while Johnson averaged a team-best 19.3 points on 53.6 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds per game. For his effort, he was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday.
- After breezing past Rhode Island, 77-57, in the first round, K-State had to fight through tight contests with Nevada in the semifinals and LSU in the finals to earn the title. After surrendering a 9-point lead to the Wolf Pack with 4:08 to play to trail 80-78 with 14 seconds left in regulation, Nowell drove the lane and was able to convert on a layup in traffic to force overtime with 3.5 seconds. The Wildcats were able to carry the momentum in the extra period, as they hit on 5 of 6 from the field and 6 of 10 free throw line to win 96-87.
- The Wildcats then overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to the Tigers in the title game, using their defense to allow 18 points after halftime on 36.8 percent shooting while forcing 14 turnovers en route to a 61-59 victory.
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 9-1 start under head coach Jerome Tang is the best by a first-year coach in school history with Lon Kruger, Tom Asbury and Bruce Weber all starting their tenures at 8-2. Tang was one of four first-year coaches in Division I who were unbeaten prior to the loss to Butler on Nov. 30, joining Missouri’s Dennis Gates, MSU’s Chris Jans and Maryland’s Kevin Willard.
- 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 11-1.
SUCCESS IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
- K-State has posted a 168-53 (.759) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07 season. During that span, the Wildcats have a 126-14 (.899) 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 117-12 (.905) mark at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State has a 20-20 all-time record in the T-Mobile Center, including an 8-2 mark in the Wildcat Classic. The Wildcats have lost their last 4 games in the arena (counting the last 2 Big 12 Championships and the 2021 Hall of Fame Classic). Overall, the team is 10-6 in the T-Mobile Center in regular-season matchups.
- The Wildcats need 1 more win to post double-digit non-conference wins for the first time since 2018-19. The team collected 10 or more non-conference wins in 12 of 13 seasons from 2006-07 to 2018-19, but they have since managed just a 30-18 record in non-conference action in the last 3+ seasons (since 2019-20).
- K-State’s current 9-1 non-conference mark is the best since opening the 2011-12 season with a similar 9-1 record. The Wildcats won a program-best 13 non-conference games in 2009-10, while they won 12 in 2008-09 and 2010-11.