KANSAS STATE vs. UTRGV
Monday, November 7, 2022 >> 8:01 p.m. CT >> Bramlage Coliseum (11,000) >> Manhattan, Kan.
Big 12 Now on ESPN+ / WatchESPN (link here)
- Ben Boyle (play-by-play)
- Stan Weber (analyst)
- Jazsmin Halliburton (sideline reporter)
K-State Sports Network
Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
Satellite Radio: SXM 974
Online: Varsity Network [free] / www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]
- Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
- Matt Walters (analyst)
(800) 221.CATS 
Single Game: $10, $15, $25
K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ‘07]
Record at K-State: 0-0/First Year
Career Record: 4-0/First Year
- UTRGV: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
UTRGV: Matt Figger [Eastern Kentucky ‘95]
Record at UTRGV: 8-23/2nd Year
Career Record: 84-74/6th Year
- K-State: 0-0 [0-0 at UTRGV]
Overall: K-State leads 3-0
Current Streak: K-State, 3
In Manhattan: K-State leads 2-0
At Bramlage Coliseum: K-State leads 2-0
Last Meeting: W, 102-68 [12/11/2002 in Manhattan]
Tang vs. Figger: 0-0 [0-0 at home]
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP (Based off exhibition games)
Kansas State (0-0)
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #5 Cam Carter
F: #11 Keyontae Johnson
F: #25 Ismael Massoud
C: #23 Abayomi Iyiola
G: #1 Justin Johnson
G: #4 Will Johnston
G: #13 Sherman Brashear
F: #10 Dima Zdor
F: #15 Daylen Williams
JEROME TANG ERA TO OFFICIALLY OPEN MONDAY VS. UTRGV
- Kansas State (0-0) will officially open the Jerome Tang era on Monday night, as the Wildcats host UTRGV (0-0) in the second game of men’s and women’s doubleheader at 8 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum. This will be the fourth all-time meeting (1986, 2001, 2002) between the K-State and UTRVG, including the third at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State is 92-26 (.780) all-time in season openers dating back to the first season in 1903, including an 80-10 (.889) mark at home. The Wildcats have a 28-3 (.903) record in season openers played at Bramlage Coliseum, which includes a 16-game winning streak from 1995 to 2012. The 3 losses have come in 1993, 2013 and 2020.
- As Tang makes his debut on Monday night, K-State head coaches have historically fared well in their first game, posting a 16-8 (.667) record, including 9 straight wins in home debuts, dating to the first coach – C.W. Melick – in 1905.
- K-State will open the season at home for the 20th consecutive season on Monday night with the Wildcats holding a 17-2 (.895) record in that span. The team saw their 6-game winning streak in season openers end in an 80-70 to Drake at the Little Apple Classic on Nov. 25, 2020, but the team responded last season with a 67-57 win over Florida A&M on Nov. 10, 2021, to earn their seventh win in their last 8 season openers.
- The Wildcats won 6 of their first 7 games at Bramlage Coliseum in 2021-22, including their first 4 (Florida A&M, Omaha, North Dakota and UAlbany) before a 64-63 loss to Marquette on Dec. 8, 2021. Overall, K-State went 9-7 at home last season to post a winning record at Bramlage Coliseum for the 33rd time in 34 seasons. Overall, the team has posted a 402-144 (.736) record in their home arena.
- The 80-70 loss to Drake in 2020 was just third in a season opener at Bramlage Coliseum, following a 74-60 loss to Southern Miss on Nov. 27, 1993, and a 60-58 loss to Northern Colorado on Nov. 8, 2013.
- Prior to 2020, the last loss at Bramlage Coliseum in a season opener came in a 60-58 loss to Northern Colorado on Nov. 8, 2013, which snapped the school’s 16-game winning streak (1994-2012) in home openers. K-State has won 17 of its last 19 home openers, a stretch that started with a 70-50 win over Birmingham-Southern on Nov. 21, 2003.
- K-State used a 12-2 run midway through the second half to flip a 43-42 deficit into a 54-45 lead en route to 67-57 win over Florida A&M in last season’s opener on Nov. 10, 2021. Then sophomore reserve Selton Miguel scored all 10 of his points in this pivotal stretch, including the go-ahead basket with 12:49 to play followed by a jumper for a 5-point lead (48-43) before capping the run with consecutive 3-pointers. Miguel, who went 4-of-6 from the field, was joined in double figures by Nijel Pack (18) and Mark Smith (12).
- The Wildcats’ lone returners – Ish Massoud and Markquis Nowell – both played in the opener last season vs. Florida A&M with Massoud earning the start and posting 5 points and 3 rebounds in 26 minutes, while Nowell came off the bench to dish out a game-high 6 assists with 6 points in 23 minutes.
- UTRGV, formerly known as Texas-Pan American, is coming off an 8-23 season in 2021-22, which included a 3-15 mark in WAC play. The Vaqueros return just two players (Justin Johnson and Lee Hatcher), but should receive a boost with the influx of 2 Division I transfer, 6 junior college transfers and 5 freshmen. The team was picked last in both the coaches and media preseason WAC polls, while Johnson earned Preseason All-WAC First Team honors. He averaged 18.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in WAC play in 2021-22.
- The Vaqueros are led by second-year head coach Matt Figger, who spent 5 seasons (2007-12) as an assistant coach at K-State during Frank Martin’s tenure as head coach. It was one of the most successful periods in school history, as the Wildcats posted a 117-54 (.684) record and advanced to the postseason in all 5 seasons, including 4 trips to the NCAA Tournament (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012).
NOTES ON UTRGV
- Monday’s game will also be the season opener for UTRGV, which posted an 8-23 overall record in 2021-22, which included a 3-15 mark in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play. The Vaqueros return 2 players (Justin Johnson and Lee Hatcher) in 2022-23, while they will welcome 2 Division I transfers (Sherman Brashear and Dima Zdor), 6 junior college transfers and 5 freshmen.
- UTRGV was picked 13th in both the preseason coaches and media poll for the WAC with Grand Canyon being selected as the favorite. The Vaqueros have outperformed the preseason polls in 3 of the last 5 years, including a program-best third place finish in 2019-20 with a 9-7 mark. Johnson earned Preseason All-WAC First Team honors after being a Second Team pick in 2021-22.
- UTRGV won its lone exhibition game by a score of 136-81 over Concordia on Nov. 2 with the team connecting on 61.9 percent (52-of-84) from the field while dishing out 41 assists on 52 made field goals. Eight players reached double figures, as sophomore Will Johnston posted a double-double with a game-tying 17 points and a game-high 10 assists, while fellow sophomore John Shanu II added a game-tying 17 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting.
- A year ago, UTRGV averaged 71.4 points on 44.1 percent shooting, including 30.4 percent from 3-point range, with 34.5 rebounds, 12.2 assists, 5.2 steals and 3.2 blocks per game, while allowing 78.6 points on 44.6 percent shooting, including 32.1 percent from 3-point range.
- Johnson is the headliner for the Vaqueros after earning Second Team All-WAC and All-Newcomer honors in 2021-22. He averaged 18.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists while connecting on 48.9 percent in WAC play.
- Head coach Matt Figger is his sixth season as a head coach, including his second at UTRGV. He has an 84-74 overall record, which includes a 76-51 mark in 4 seasons at Austin Peay. He led the Governors to a 62-38 record in his first 3 seasons, which included consecutive 20-win campaigns in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He was the OVC Coach of the Year in 2017-18.
- K-State and UTRGV will meet for the fourth time on Monday night with the Wildcats winning the previous 3 meetings by an average of 14 points. The teams have played twice in Bramlage Coliseum with K-State winning 69-68 on Jan. 2, 2001, and then again 102-68 on Dec. 11, 2002.
- The teams’ first met in the UNLV/Budwesier Holiday Classic in Las Vegas with head coach Jack Hartman’s Wildcats defeating former pupil and assistant coach Lon Kruger, 75-68, on Dec. 27, 1984. Kruger would leave UTRGV in 1986 to replace Hartman as head coach.
- UTRGV has competed in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) since the 2013-14 season. K-State is 14-2 all-time against teams from the WAC, including a 12-0 mark in games played at home.
WELCOME BACK MATT
- UTRGV head coach Matt Figger spent 5 seasons (2007-12) at K-State as an assistant coach to head coach Frank Martin. He helped the Wildcats to a 117-54 (.684) record, including a 50-32 (.610) mark in Big 12 play, with 5 postseason appearances (4 NCAAs, 1 NIT). He was part of the first staff to lead K-State to 5 consecutive 20-win seasons and 5 consecutive postseason appearances.
- Figger followed Martin to South Carolina, where he was an assistant from 2012-17, including his role as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator during the Gamecocks’ run to the Final Four in 2017.
BOTH SCHOOLS SHARE LON KRUGER
- In addition to the connection to UTRGV head coach Matt Figger, K-State and UTRGV both share Lon Kruger, who served as head coach at both schools in his Hall of Fame career and combined for 133 victories.
- Kruger earned his first head coaching opportunity at UTRGV, leading the school to a 52-59 record from 1982-86 with a 20-win season in 1985-86. He followed his college coach – Jack Hartman – as K-State’s head coach in 1986, leading his alma mater to an 81-46 record and 4 NCAA Tournament appearances.
LAST TIME OUT:
K-STATE 76, WASHBURN 49
- Kansas State used an impressive first-half start to extend its winning streak in exhibition play to 28 games at home in a 76-49 victory over Washburn on November 1 before 6,800 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State used a mixture of efficient offense and stifling defense to jump out to a 35-10 lead with just over 6 minutes left in the first half. Nine players scored during this stretch, including 8 by senior Keyontae Johnson, who was playing in his first game in front of fans in two seasons. Fellow senior Markquis Nowell and sophomore Cam Carter added 6 and 5 points, respectively, in this span.
- The Ichabods, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2021-22, never got the lead below 22 points in the second half, as the Wildcat lead ballooned to as many as 34 (74-40) with 3 minutes to play.
- Carter led all scorers with 13 points on 4-of-7 field goals and 4-of-5 free throws to go with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in a team-high 24 minutes, while junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin added 11 points and a team-high 7 rebounds in nearly 20 minutes off the bench. Three others – Johnson, Nowell and junior David N’Guessan – each had 8 points.
- All 15 players saw action with no one playing more than 23 minutes, while 12 of the 15 scored at least one point.
- K-State connected on 44.4 percent (28-of-63) from the field, including 57.5 percent (23-of-40) from inside the 3-point arc with 46 of the Wildcats’ 76 points coming in the paint. The team controlled the glass, out-rebounding the Ichabods, 54-38, including 21 offensive rebounds that resulted in a 23-5 edge in second-chance points.
- The defense was also impressive on the night, as K-State held Washburn to just 25.9 percent (15-of-58) shooting, including 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from 3-point range, while forcing 20 turnovers. The Ichabods had just 38 points with just under 4 minutes to play before scoring 11 points in the last 3:31.
- K-State is now 71-20 all-time in exhibition play, including 56-9 in home exhibition games dating back to 1964. The Wildcats are 50-9 in exhibition games at Bramlage Coliseum with 28 consecutive wins dating back to 2003. Overall, the team has won 11 straight exhibitions since 2016.
HISTORY IN SEASON OPENERS
- K-State is 92-26 (.778) all-time in season openers dating back to the first season in 1903. The Wildcats have an 80-10 (.888) record in season openers played at home, including 28-3 (.900) at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State will open the season at home for the 20th consecutive season on Monday night with the Wildcats holding a 17-2 (.888) record in that span. Last season, the team snapped its skid in season openers with a 67-57 victory over Florida A&M on Nov. 10, 2021. The Wildcats dropped just their third game in an opener at Bramlage Coliseum in an 80-70 setback to Drake on Nov. 25, 2020.
- Prior to the 80-70 loss to Drake in 2020-21, the previous setback in a season opener came in a 60-58 loss to Northern Colorado on Nov. 8, 2013, which snapped the school’s 16-game winning streak in home openers.
- The last time K-State opened the season away from home came in 2002-03 when the Wildcats played in the Paradise Jam, Nov. 23-25, 2002.
- K-State won 16 consecutive home openers from 1995 to 2012, which spanned the previous two season-opening losses at Bramlage Coliseum history. The Wildcats lost a 74-60 decision to Southern Miss on Nov. 27, 1993, to start the 1993-94 campaign before the Northern Colorado loss in 2013.
- Overall, K-State is 29-5 (.849) in openers at Bramlage Coliseum. Aside from the Southern Miss (1993), Northern Colorado (2013) and Drake (2020) defeats, the Wildcats lost to Fresno State, 60-58, on Dec. 2, 1989, and to Northwestern, 59-55, on Nov. 30, 2002, but each of those were not in a season opener.
- Prior to the 2020 loss to Drake, K-State had won its last 6 home openers (Southern Utah, UMES, Western Illinois, American, Kennesaw State and NDSU) by an average of 25 points per game, while averaging 77.7 points per game.
- K-State has a 121-14 (.896) record at home venues (includes home games played at Bramlage Coliseum, INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita and the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City) in non-conference play dating back to the 2006-07 season, including a 112-12 (.903) mark at Bramlage Coliseum
- Despite seeing their 33-game winning streak end at Bramlage Coliseum with a loss to Marquette on Dec. 7, 2019, the Wildcats have still won 108 of their last 114 non-conference home games. Marquette handed K-State its lone non-conference home loss in 2021-22 with a 64-63 victory on Dec. 8, 2021.
- K-State has posted a 159-52 (.754) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07 season.
- The Wildcats posted double-digit non-conference wins in 12 of 13 seasons from 2006-07 to 2018-19, but they have since managed just a 19-16 record in non-conference action in the last 3 seasons.
- K-State finished the 2021-22 non-conference season with an 8-5 record, including a 6-1 mark at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats won their first 4 non-conference games (Florida A&M, Omaha, North Dakota and UAlbany) before the setback against Marquette. They finished with wins over Green Bay and McNeese, while the final game vs. North Florida was cancelled.
TANG TO DEBUT AS HEAD COACH
- First-year head coach Jerome Tang will be making his debut on Monday night against UTRGV, becoming the 24th man and the first full-time black head coach in school history. Tang is the sixth minority men’s head coach in K-State Athletics history, including the third in men’s basketball following interim coach Darryl Winston (1984-85) and Frank Martin (2007-12).
- K-State head coaches are 16-8 in their debuts, including 16-4 when opening at home. The last 4 Wildcat coaches (Jim Wooldridge, Bob Huggins, Frank Martin and Bruce Weber) have won their debut at home, while the last first-year coach to lose his debut at home was Fritz Knorr in 1944.
- 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.
A QUICK LOOK AT K-STATE
- K-State returns just 2 lettermen – senior Markquis Nowell and junior Ismael [Ish] Massoud – for head coach Jerome Tang’s first season in 2022-23, as the Wildcats lost 10 lettermen (including 8 to transfer) following the 2021-22 season in which the team posted a 14-17 overall record, including a 6-12 mark in Big 12 play. Nowell and Massoud were both significant contributors a year ago, as the pair started in 21 and 18 games, respectively.
- The biggest headliner from these returners would be Nowell, who earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and All-Defensive Team accolades in his first season with the Wildcats after transferring from Little Rock. He led the Big 12 in steals (2.2 spg.) and was second in assists (5.0 apg.), assist/turnover ratio (1.97) and free throw percentage (82.9), ninth in 3-point field goals/game (1.59) and 12th in scoring (12.4 ppg.). He was one of two Big 12 players (along with
Baylor’s James Akinjo) to rank in the top-15 in scoring and top-5 in assists, steals and assist/turnover ratio. In addition to leading the team in assists and steals, he was second in double-doubles (3) and 3-point field goals (43), third in scoring, double-digit scoring games (19) and 20-point games (3).
- K-State lost 10 lettermen from the 2021-22 season, including a pair of super seniors in Mike McGuirl and Mark Smith as well as eight to the transfer portal.
- The Wildcats welcome 13 newcomes in 2022-23, including 7 Division I transfers (Cam Carter (Mississippi State), Jerrell Colbert (LSU), Tykei Greene (Manhattan/Stony Brook), Abayomi Iyiola (Stetson/ Arkansas/Hofstra), Keyontae Johnson (Florida), David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech), Desi Sills (Arkansas/Arkansas State), two community college transfers (Anthony Thomas and Nae’Qwan Tomlin) and three true freshmen.
- The 7 Division I transfers have combined to play in nearly 500 games (491) with 287 starts, including four players (Greene, Johnson, Sills and Iyiola) who will be entering their fourth or fifth year of college. This quartet have accounted for 3,803 points and 776 rebounds in 403 games played with 283 starts. Greene (1,112) and Sills (1,110) are already 1,000-point scorers in college, while Tomlin had more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in junior college.
UP NEXT: AT CALIFORNIA (0-0)
- K-State will hit the road this week to play at Pac-12 foe California (0-0) on Friday at 6 p.m., CT on the Pac-12 Network. The Bears open the season on Monday night against UC Davis. Friday’s contest will be the second-earliest road game in school history following the contest at UNLV on Nov. 9, 2019.