13/15 KANSAS STATE (16-2, 5-1 Big 12) vs. TEXAS TECH (10-8, 0-6 Big 12)
Saturday, January 21, 2023 >> 1:05 p.m. CT >> Bramlage Coliseum (11,000) >> Manhattan, Kan.
ESPN2 / WatchESPN (link here)
- Chuckie Kempf (play-by-play)
- King McClure (analyst)
- Kevin Kremer (producer)
K-State Sports Network
Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
Satellite Radio: Sirius XM 134 or 202
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: 16-2/1st Year
Career Record: 18-2/1st Year+
vs. Texas Tech: 1-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Texas Tech: Mark Adams [Texas Tech ’79]
Record at Texas Tech: 37-18/2nd Year
Career Record: 591-262/25th Year
vs. K-State: 1-1 [1-1 at Texas Tech]
Overall: K-State leads 25-21
Big 12 Era: Texas Tech leads 20-18
In Manhattan: K-State leads 17-5
At Bramlage Coliseum: K-State leads 13-5
Active Streak: Texas Tech, 1
Tang vs. Texas Tech: 1-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Tang vs. Mark Adams: 0-0 [0-0 at home]
Texas Tech (10-8, 0-6 Big 12)
G: #2 Pop Isaacs
G: #20 Jaylon Daniels
G: #23 De’Vion Harmon
F: #0 Kevin Obanor
C: #11 Fardaws Aimaq
No. 13/15 K-State (16-2, 5-1 Big 12) concludes its brief 2-game homestand on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Texas Tech (10-8, 0-6 Big 12) before an expected sellout crowd at Bramlage Coliseum for a 1 p.m., CT tip on ESPN2. The Wildcats have won 10 of their last 11 games, as they responded to their first Big 12 loss at No. 17/17 TCU with an 83-82 overtime win over No. 2/2 Kansas on Tuesday night, snapping a 7-game losing skid to the Jayhawks. The team is now 9-0 in games decided by single digits (9 points or less), including 4-0 in overtime.
- K-State responded well to its first Big 12 loss of the season at No. 17/17 TCU with another clutch victory, knocking off No. 2/2 Kansas, 83-82, in overtime on Tuesday night at home. The victory snapped the Jayhawks’ 10-game winning streak, which was the nation’s third-longest, while posting the first in the series since a 74-67 win at home on Feb. 5, 2019. It was the 26th all-time top-5 win and the eighth over the No. 2 team, including the first since winning 56-54 at No. 2/2 Baylor on Feb. 4, 2017, while it was the highest ranked win since beating top-ranked Oklahoma on Feb. 6, 2016. It was the first win in a top-15 matchup with Kansas since 1958.
- K-State is off to its best start (16-2) since also opening the 2009-10 season with a similar 16-2 mark, while the squad is 5-1 in Big 12 play for just the second time, including the first time since 2007-08. Among the 10 wins in the last 11 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 80.8 points per game in the last 11 games on 47.2 percent (315-of-668) shooting with 4 players averaging in double figures.
- K-State’s 16-2 start under head coach Jerome Tang ties for the best by a first-year coach in school history, equaling the 16-2 start by Zora G. Clevenger (1916-17). Tang’s 16-2 start also ranks among the very best by all first-year coaches in Division I, just ahead of Missouri’s Dennis Gates (14-4). He is one of just 4 coaches (Mike Ahearn in 1907; E.A. Knoth in 1921, Frank Martin in 2008) in school history to defeat Kansas in his first meeting.
- Seniors Keyontae Johnson (18.7 ppg.) and Markquis Nowell (16.4 ppg.) have been one of the most prolific tandems in the country, as they combine to average 35.1 points per game on 48.4 percent (207-of-428) shooting, including 37.7 percent (61-of-162) from 3-point range, and 81.7 percent (156-of-191) from the free throw line. The tandem, who were named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List, made the game-winning play in the win over Kansas, as Nowell’s lob pass to Johnson for a dunk with 25 seconds left in overtime clinched the victory.
- Nowell continues to be one of the leaders nationally in assists. He ranks second nationally in both assists per game (8.4 apg.) and total assists (151), while he is 24th in assist/turnover ratio (2.85) with 151 assists to 53 turnovers. He is one of 2 active Division I player with at least 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals, while his 234 career steals are first among active players.
- The Wildcats have quite the dynamic 1-2-3 scoring punch with Johnson (18.7 ppg.) and Nowell (16.4 ppg.) and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin (11.1 ppg.) combining to average 46.2 points per game on 47.6 percent (284-of-597) shooting. They are the third-best scoring trio in the Big 12 after Baylor’s Adam Flagler, Keyonte George and L.J. Cryer (47.9 ppg.) and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson, Gradey Dick and K.J. Adams, Jr. (46.6 ppg.).
NOTES ON TEXAS TECH
- Texas Tech (10-8, 0-6 Big 12) enters Saturday’s game on a 6-game losing streak after dropping an 81-74 decision to No. 21/22 Baylor at home on Tuesday. Five of those six losses have come by single-digits, including one-possession heartbreakers to No. 3/3 Kansas (72-75) on Jan. 3 and at No. 10/10 Texas (70-72) on Jan. 14.
- Texas Tech is averaging 76.1 points on 48.1 percent shooting, including 35.2 percent from 3-point range, with 35.3 rebounds, 14.3 assists, 8.2 steals and 3.3 blocks per game, while allowing 66.4 points on 41.6 percent shooting, including 32.9 percent from 3-point range. The Red Raiders are connecting on 70.9 percent from the free throw line.
- Texas Tech is among the top-35 in both field goal percentage (48.1) and effective field goal percentage (0.548), while the Red Raiders are among the top-3 in the Big 12 in field goal percentage (3rd), rebounding margin (3.8/3rd) and 3-point field goals made/game (7.5/3rd).
- Five players are averaging in double figures led All-Big 12 candidate Kevin Obanor, who is averaging 15.1 points on 50.5 percent shooting to go with 6.2 rebounds per game. Freshman of the Year candidate Pop Isaacs is averaging 12.1 points, along with transfer De’Vion Harmon, while Isaacs has a team-best 44 3-pointers on 38.6 percent shooting. The team just got back Fardaws Aimaq, who was third nationally in double-doubles (27) in 2021-22, and is averaging 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the last 2 games.
- Texas Tech is led by second-year head coach Mark Adams, who has a 37-18 record. He led his alma mater to 27 wins and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2021-22. Overall, he is 591-262 in his 25th season as a head coach.
- K-State holds a 25-21 advantage in the all-time series with Texas Tech, including a 17-5 mark at home. The Red Raiders have a slight 20-18 edge in the Big 12 era, including splitting last 6 meetings at Bramlage Coliseum.
- Texas Tech has won 8 of the last 10 meetings in the series, including wins in Manhattan in 2018, 2020 and 2021. Last season, K-State snapped a 4-game losing streak in the series with a 62-51 win at home on Jan. 15, while Texas Tech posted a 73-68 win in Lubbock in the last meeting on Feb. 28.
LAST 10 MEETINGS [2-8]
Date Rank Result Score Location
1/6/2018 —/18 L 58-74 Lubbock
2/10/2018 —/7 L 47-66 Manhattan
1/5/2019 —/11 L 57-63 Lubbock
1/22/2019 —/14 W 58-45 Manhattan
1/14/2020 —/23 L 63-77 Manhattan
2/19/2020 —/— L 62-69 Lubbock
1/5/2021 —/18 L 71-82 Lubbock
2/6/2021 —/13 L 62-73 Manhattan
1/15/2022 —/19 W 62-51 Manhattan
2/28/2022 —/12 L 68-73 Lubbock
LAST MEETING: 12/12 TEXAS TECH 73, K-STATE 68
- A limited K-State team gave No. 12/12 Texas Tech everything it could have and more before falling, 73-68, in the final seconds before a sold-out at United Supermarket Arena in the last meeting between the schools.
- The Wildcats, who played without its second-leading scorer Markquis Nowell due to injury, battled back from an 8-point halftime deficit to take numerous leads in the second half. However, the veteran Red Raiders made key plays in the final stretch, including a pair of defensive stops and 2 free throws from seniors Adonis Arms and Davion Warren in last 47 seconds.
- Five Wildcats scored in double figures led by Mike McGuirl’s 18 points.
LAST TIME OUT: 13/15 K-STATE 83, 2/2 KANSAS 82 [OT]
- Senior Keyontae Johnson’s lob dunk from fellow senior Markquis Nowell with 25 seconds left in overtime proved to be the game-winner, as No. 13/15 K-State outlasted No. 2/2 Kansas, 83-82, in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Tuesday night before a sold-out crowd of 11,000 at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State snapped a 7-game losing streak to its longtime rival in the 298th meeting and in the first top-15 matchup since 2013, while ending Kansas’ 10-game overall winning streak. The Wildcats are off to their best overall start since 2009-10, while they are 5-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2007-08.
- The win was the eighth over the No. 2 team in the country, including the first since defeating No. 2 Baylor, 56-54, in Waco, Texas on Feb. 4, 2017, while it was the highest ranked win since knocking off No. 1 Oklahoma on Feb. 6, 2016. Overall, it was the 26th Top 5 win in school history.
- Kansas had one last chance with 11 seconds left, but junior Ish Massoud was able to force junior Dajuan Harris, Jr., into a turnover on the baseline with only a few seconds left to preserve the victory.
- K-State is 9-0 in games decided by single digits (9 points or less), including 4-0 in overtime games. It marks the first time the Wildcats have won 4 overtime games in a season since the 1992-93 team won a school-record 5.
- Johnson was among three Wildcats in double figures, as he and reserve Desi Sills each scored a team-leading 24 points, while junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin notched his first career double-double with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Nowell more than made up for his season-low 4 points with 7 assists and a game-best 4 steals while playing nearly 42 minutes.
- The Jayhawks were led junior Jalen Wilson, whose game-high 38 points tied the Bramlage Coliseum opponent record with Georgia State’s Anton Reese from 1998. He was joined in double digits by sophomore KJ Adams, Jr., and freshman Gradey Dick, who had with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
- Both teams shot 50 percent or better from the field in the first half, including 51.7 percent (15-of-29) by K-State, before neither could buy a shot in the second half, as they combined to go 17-of-52. In the extra period, the Jayhawks hit on 50 percent (3-of-6) of their field goals and all 3 free throws, while the Wildcats made just 1-of-3 from the field but took advantage of their opportunities at the line, knocking down 9-of-10 attempts.
- Overall, K-State connected on 41.7 percent (25-of-60) of its field goals, including 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from 3-point range, and made 78.8 percent (26-of-33) from the free throw line. Kansas shot 43.3 percent (26-of-60) from the field, including 20.7 percent (6-of-29) from long range, and made 70.6 percent (24-of-34) from the line.
- It was the 16th overtime game in the series history and the first since 2014. The Jayhawks hold a slight 9-7 lead in those overtime games with the Wildcats winning the last 2 (2014, 2023).
POSTGAME NEWS & NOTES
- K-State is now 10-0 in home games, including 9-0 at Bramlage Coliseum… It is the best start to a season since going 10-0 to open the 2016-17 season.
- The win is the fourth vs. a Top 25 opponent, all coming in the last 6 games.
- Kansas still leads the series, 203-95, including 81-49 in Manhattan… The win snapped a 7-game losing streak in the series and was the first since a 74-67 win at home on Feb. 5, 2019, and first win in a top-15 matchup since 1958.
- K-State has now defeated a Top-5 Kansas team on 7 occasions.
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 16-2 start under Jerome Tang ties for the best by a first-year coach in school history with Zora G. Clevenger (1916-17). He is also just the fourth head coach to win in his first game vs. Kansas. The start is the best by any current first-year Division I coach, just ahead of Missouri’s Dennis Gates (14-4).
- 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 18-2.
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 1,711-1,215 (.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 78.4 points this season on 46.6 percent (500-of-1073) shooting, including 35.4 percent (130-of-367) from 3-point range, while hitting on 74.4 percent (282-of-379) from the free throw line. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in assists (18.3 apg.) and free throw percentage, while they are third in scoring offense and fifth in 3-point field goals made/game (7.22).
- 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 6 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 37.1 points in the paint. The team has scored 30 or more points in the paint 14 times in 18 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 seventh nationally and first in the Big 12 with 18.3 assists per game. Among the 329 assists are 6 players with double-digit totals, including senior Markquis Nowell, who ranks second nationally with 151 total assists. He is also second in assists/game at 8.4 per game. 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 67.6 assist percentage according to KenPom, which calculates assists (329) to made field goals (500). Only Lafayette (69.7), Tennessee (67.8), Xavier (67.5), Virginia (66.7), Arizona (66.7), Colorado State (66.6) and Air Force (66.3) have a better percentage nationally.
- Although Nowell gets all the attention for his playmaking ability, the rest of the team has shown the ability to share the ball, as the Wildcats have had 3 or more players dish out at least 2 assists in 14 of 18 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) and TCU (1/14/23).
TEAM FULL OF SCORERS
- K-State is one of just 3 schools to have at least four 1,000-point scorers on its roster, as Wildcats Tykei Greene (1,175 points), Keyontae Johnson (1,125 points), Markquis Nowell (1,603 points) and Desi Sills (1,278 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).
- UAB has five 1,000-point scorers followed by K-State and Notre Dame (4), while 10 others have 3 such scorers, including Drake, Gonzaga, Indiana, Iowa State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Southern Utah, Texas and Virginia.
- K-State is getting solid production from its bench through the first 17 games, as the Wildcats are averaging 18.6 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 on Tuesday night. He also had a 16-point effort in the win over LSU (11/23/22) at the Cayman Islands Classic Championship game and 17 points (all in second half) in the loss at Butler (11/30/22).
- K-State’s defense has forced 285 turnovers through the first 18 games, which includes 143 steals, while averaging 18 points per game off those miscues. The team ranks 37th in non-steal turnover percentage (10.9) by KenPom.
- The 15.8 turnovers forced per game ranks 40th nationally, while it places fifth in the Big 12 behind Iowa State, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech. K-State ranks fifth in steals (7.94) and sixth in turnover margin (+2.00 , while senior Markquis Nowell places 16th nationally and second in the Big 12 in steals (2.33 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 continued his impressive play with a near double-double in the win at Cal, scoring a team-high 16 points while grabbing a game-high 9 rebounds to go with 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 block in a game-high 33 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.
- Johnson has scored in double figures in all 18 games, leading the Wildcats and ranking third in the Big 12 in scoring (18.7 ppg.). He is second in the league in field goal percentage (55.2), while he is in the top-10 in 5 other categories, including fourth in minutes (33.6 mpg.), fifth in rebounding and defensive rebounds (5.12) 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 (8.4 apg.) and steals (2.3 spg.) while averaging the second-most points (16.4 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 ranks second nationally in assists/game (8.4 apg.) and total assists (151), while he is 24th in assists/turnover ratio (2.9). He is one of 2 Division I players (Tennessee State’s Junior Clay) with 1,500 points, 500 assists and 200 steals. He also ranks first among all active Division I players with 234 career steals. He just eclipsed 1,600 points in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas.
- 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 (11.1 ppg.) while connecting 45.6 percent (77-of-169) from the field to go with 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 29.0 minutes per game. He ranks in the Big 12’s top-20 in scoring (20th), rebounding (8th) and blocks (6th).
- Tomlin was selected as the Big 12 co-Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 27 after his near double-double performance 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 all 3 free throws attempted, to go with a season-tying 9 rebounds in 33 minutes.
- 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 in each of the last 2 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 9.3 points on 46.9 percent (61-of-130) shooting with 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 28.4 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 10, 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 12/12 IOWA STATE (14-3, 5-1 Big 12)
- K-State returns to the road on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats travel to Ames, Iowa to take on No. 12/12 Iowa State (14-3, 5-1 Big 12) at 8 p.m., CT on ESPNU.