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12/12 KANSAS STATE (23-8, 11-7 Big 12) vs. 22/23 TCU (20-11, 9-9 Big 12)
Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship / Quarterfinals #4
Thursday, March 9, 2023 >> 8:30 p.m. CT >> T-Mobile Center (19,135) >> Kansas City, Mo.
ESPN / WatchESPN (link here)
- Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play)
- Chris Spatola (analyst)
- Kris Budden (sideline)
- Joe McCoy (producer)
K-State Sports Network
1530 AM, 102.5 FM, 106.7 FM KQNK in Northwest Kansas & Southwest Nebraska
1570 AM, 94.1 FM KNDY in Northeast Kansas & Southeast Nebraska
- Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
- Stan Weber (analyst)
K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ’07]
Record at K-State: 23-8/1st Year
Career Record: 25-8/1st Year+
vs. TCU: 1-1 [1-1 at K-State]
TCU: Jamie Dixon [TCU ’87]
Record at TCU: 137-95/7th Year
Career Record: 465-218/21st Year
vs. K-State: 8-11 [7-11 at TCU]
All-Time Championship Record: 37-43
Big 12 Championship Record: 17-25
Quarterfinals Record [last]: 7-11 
In Kansas City/At T-Mobile Center: 36-38/10-13
As No. 3 seed [years]: 1-2 [1989, 2008]
vs. No. 6 seed [years]: 2-2 [1981, 1989, 2003, 2008]
Overall: K-State leads 21-11
Big 12 Era: K-State leads 18-9
In Kansas City: K-State leads 4-1
At T-Mobile Center: K-State leads 4-1
Active Streak: K-State, 1
Tang vs. TCU: 1-1 [1-1 at K-State]
Tang vs. Jamie Dixon: 1-1 [1-1 at home]
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP (Based off the last game)
12/12 Kansas State (23-8, 11-7 Big 12)
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #5 Cam Carter
F: #11 Keyontae Johnson
F: #35 Nae’Qwan Tomlin
F: #3 David N’Guessan
22/23 TCU (20-11, 9-9 Big 12)
G: #1 Mike Miles Jr
G: #10 Damion Baugh
F: #5 Chuck O’Bannon Jr.
F: #2 Emanuel Miller
C: #12 Xavier Cork
No. 12/12 K-State (23-8, 11-7 Big 12) earned a bye to the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship for the first time since 2019 as the No. 3 seed and will play No. 22/22 TCU (20-11, 9-9 Big 12), which secured the No. 6 seed, at 8:30 p.m., CT on Thursday night at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. K-State is 37-43 all-time at the Big Eight/12 Tournament, including 17-25 in the Big 12 era. The Wildcats are 1-2 all-time as the No. 3 seed in their third appearance (1989, 2008), while they are 2-2 in four meetings (1981, 1989, 2003, 2008) vs. the No. 6 seed. This will be the sixth meeting (2015, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) with TCU at the Big 12 Championship, including the fifth in the last 6 seasons, with K-State winning each of the last 4 such meetings.
- West Virginia shot better 50 percent from the field, including 57.7 percent in the second half, to end No. 11/11 K-State’s 4-game winning streak with an 89-81 victory at home on Senior Day on the final day of the regular season on Saturday. Seniors Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell each scored 24 points to lead the way, as K-State finished the regular season in a tie with No. 10/10 Baylor (22-9, 11-7 Big 12) for third place in the final Big 12 standings with the Wildcats earning the No. 3 seed due to their season sweep of the Bears.
- K-State has given itself the opportunity for a high seed at next week’s NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats were among 5 in the Big 12 to check into the top-16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s bracket preview on Feb. 18. The team is one of seven (Kansas, Baylor, Texas, Iowa State, Alabama and Purdue) with 9 or more Quad 1 victories this season.
- 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 23-8 record ties 4 other teams for the fifth-best start by a Wildcat team in the past 50 seasons. Among the 17 wins in the last 24 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 23-8 start under Jerome Tang equals the best by any first-year Division I head coach, tying Missouri’s Dennis Gates (23-8), Xavier’s Sean Miller (23-8) and Duke’s Jon Scheyer (23-8). 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.
- K-State was well-represented on the Coaches’ All-Big 12 Teams, which were announced on Sunday. Tang was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Coach of the Year, while Johnson was selected unanimously as the league’s Newcomer of the Year as well as All-Big 12 First Team, along with Nowell. Tang becomes the seventh head coach in school history to earn Coach of the Year honors, including the third in the Big 12 era and the first since 2013. Johnson and Nowell are the 14th Wildcat duo to be selected first team all-conference, including just the second in the Big 12 era (joining Barry Brown Jr. and Dean Wade in 2019), while Johnson is the 13th Wildcat since 1970 to be voted the league’s Newcomer of the Year and the second in the Big 12 era.
- Seniors Keyontae Johnson (17.8 ppg.) and Markquis Nowell (17.0 ppg.) are one of the most prolific tandems, as they combine to average 34.8 points per game to rank fourth among power conferences. They combined for 8 weekly Big 12 honors, while they were each named finalist for their respective positions awards (Nowell – Bob Cousy and Johnson – Julius Irving).
- The school’s single season assist leader, Nowell currently ranks third nationally in both assists per game (7.7 apg.) and total assists (238), while he is in the top-20 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 22/23 TCU
- No. 22/23 TCU (20-11, 9-9 Big 12) won 3 of its last 5 games, including wins at Texas Tech and at home against Texas, to earn tie for fifth place in the final Big 12 standings. The momentum to end the season came after the return of All-American candidate Mike Miles, Jr., who missed 5 games from Jan. 31-Feb. 15 due to injury.
- TCU is averaging 75.5 points on 46.2 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent from 3-point range, with 35.7 rebounds, 16.3 assists, 8.3 steals and 4.6 blocks per game, while allowing 68 points on 42.5 percent shooting, including 31.1 percent from 3-point range. The Horned Frogs are connecting on 70.1 percent from the free throw line.
- TCU still leads the nation in fastbreak points (18.8 ppg.), while ranking in the top-40 in 10 other categories, including 19th in assists/game (16.3), 24th in turnover margin (+3.4), 28th in turnovers forced/game (15.7), 33rd in blocked shots/game (4.6) and 39th in steals/game (8.3).
- Three players are averaging in double figures, as Miles ranks third in the Big 12 at 17.2 points per game on 50 percent shooting, while seniors Damion Baugh and Emanuel Miller are averaging 13.0 and 12.8 points per game. Miller and sophomore Eddie Lampkin are averaging 6.5 and 5.9 rebounds per game, while Baugh has a team-leading 149 assists.
- TCU is led by seventh-year head coach Jamie Dixon, who has a 137-95 record with 5 20-win seasons. Overall, he has a 465-218 record in his 21st season as a head coach. He is 8-11 all-time vs. K-State.
- K-State holds a 21-11 lead in the all-time series with TCU, including an 18-9 mark in the Big 12 era. The team has split the last 10 meetings.
- K-State is 4-1 all-time against TCU at the Big 12 Championship, including wins in each of the last 4 meetings, including twice (2018, 2019) in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats earned a 71-50 win in the last such meeting in the first round of the tournament on March 10, 2021.
LAST 10 MEETINGS [5-5]
Date Rank Result Score Location
1/7/2020 —/— L 57-59 Manhattan
2/15/2020 —/— L 57-68 Fort Worth
3/11/2020 —/— W 53-49 Kansas City
1/2/2021 —/— L 60-67 Manhattan
2/20/2021 —/— W 62-54 Fort Worth
3/10/2021 —/— W 71-50 Kansas City
1/12/2022 —/— L 57-60 Manhattan
2/5/2022 —/— W 75-63 Fort Worth
1/14/2023 11/17 L 68-82 Fort Worth
2/7/2023 12/17 W 82-61 Manhattan
12/11 K-STATE 82, 17/19 TCU 61 [Feb. 7, 2023]
- Five Wildcats scored in double figures, including a game-high 18 points from senior Markquis Nowell, as No. 12/11 K-State snapped a 2-game losing streak with a near wire-to-wire 82-61 victory over No. 19/17 TCU on Feb. 7 before a crowd of 8,667 at Bramlage Coliseum.
- Nowell also dished out a game-high 7 assists, giving him 187 for the season, which broke the single-season school record of 186 set by Steve Henson in 1987-88. In addition, his 18 points helped him eclipse 1,700 in his college career.
- The Wildcats had five or more players score in double figures for the fourth time this season and the second time in Big 12 play and the first since Texas on Jan. 3. Nowell was joined in double figures by seniors Keyontae Johnson and Desi Sills, who each scored 14 points, while senior reserve Tykei Greene nearly registered a double-double with season-highs in both points (13) and rebounds (9) to go with 10 points from junior David N’Guessan.
LAST MEETING IN BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP:
K-STATE 71, TCU 50 [March 10, 2021]
- K-State finally got its offense to match its suffocating defense of late, as the Wildcats earned a 71-50 win over TCU in the last meeting between the teams at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships on March 10, 2021.
- The Wildcats played solid all-around game, connecting on an efficient 48.3 percent from the field, including 56.8 percent from inside the 3-point arc, while holding the Horned Frogs to 37 percent shooting, including 21.1 percent from long range, and forcing 17 turnovers.
- Nijel Pack (23) and Mike McGuirl (17) combined for 40 points.
LAST TIME OUT: WEST VIRGINIA 89, 11/11 K-STATE 81
- West Virginia used a big second-half performance to end No. 11/11 K-State’s 4-game winning streak on Saturday afternoon, as the Mountaineers earned the 600th win at the WVU Coliseum with an 89-81 victory over the Wildcats before a sold-out crowd of 14,000 on Senior Day.
- It was a tale of two halves, as K-State connected on just 38.9 percent (14-of-36) from the field in the second half after hitting on 51.6 percent (16-of-31) in the first half. In contrast, West Virginia (18-13, 7-11 Big 12) hit on 57.7 percent (15-of-26) with 50 points in the second half after shooting 45.5 percent (15-of-33) in the opening half. The Mountaineers finished at 50.8 percent (30-of-59) from the field compared to the Wildcats’ 44.8 percent (30-of-67).
- K-State led 8-0 to start and built as much as 10-point advantage in the first half before WVU used a 15-3 run to take its first lead at 33-31 with 4:28 before halftime. The Mountaineers scored the final 4 points of the half to take a 39-37 lead into the break then used that momentum to construct as much as a 15-point lead in the second half.
- It was a fast-paced game, as the teams combined for 43 points off 36 turnovers, including 24 steals, and a combined 50 fast-break points. WVU got the better of K-State in all 3 categories, including a 23-20 edge in points off turnovers, 14-10 on steals and a 30-20 advantage in fast-break points.
- K-State knocked 12 3-pointers, which was one shy of a season-high, but WVU countered with 13 more points from the free throw line, where it went 22 of 25.
- Three Wildcats scored in double figures led by 24 points each from seniors Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell. It marked the fifth time this season that both All-America candidates topped the 20-point barrier in the same game, including the fourth time in Big 12 play. They combined to go 17-of-41 from the field, including 10-of-21 from 3-point range.
- Nowell once again flirted with a triple-double, finishing with game-highs in both assists (8) and steals (6). Sophomore Cam Carter also had double figures with 13 points to go with a season-high 5 assists.
- Johnson scored 16 of his 24 points in the first half to pace all scorers, while Nowell scored all 24 of his points in the second half, as he knocked down 6 3-pointers. The 24 points tied for the ninth-most by a Wildcat in a second half and were the most since Barry Brown Jr., had 26 points vs. OSU in 2018.
- K-State played without senior Desi Sills, who did not travel with the team due to a family funeral. A candidate for the Big 12’s Sixth Man Award, Sills had started each of the last 4 games during the winning streak.
POSTGAME NEWS & NOTES
- K-State ended the regular season with a 23-8 record, including an 11-7 mark in Big 12 play… It is the most wins in a regular season since 24 in 2018-19.
- K-State has scored 80 or more points in 11 games, the most since 2017-18.
- K-State had 18 assists on its 30 made field goals with 4 Wildcats dishing out at least 2 assists.
- K-State scored 20 fast-break points, which marked the third time this season and the second straight game with 20 or more fast-break points.
- K-State scored 20 points off 16 West Virginia turnovers, which included 10 steals… The Wildcats have now scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 8 games, including the third time in Big 12 play.
TANG WINS BIG 12 COACH OF THE YEAR
- First-year coach Jerome Tang was selected as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Coach of the Year on Sunday after guiding K-State to a 23-8 record and a tie for third place with an 11-7 mark in the nation’s toughest conference despite being picked last in the preseason Big 12 poll. He becomes the seventh coach in school history to earn conference Coach of the Year honors, including the third in the Big 12 era (joining Frank Martin and Bruce Weber) and the first since 2013.
- K-State’s 23-8 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. It ties for the best by any first-year coach in Division I, along with Missouri’s Dennis Gates, Xavier’s Sean Miller and Duke’s Jon Scheyer, all at 23-8.
- Tang has been named a finalist for two national coaching honors, including one of 15 Watch List candidates for the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Award as well as the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year, which is given annually to the top Division I minority head coach. He also selected as finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award (top first-year head coach) and Jim Phelan Award (National Coach of the Year).
- 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 25-8.
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 1,718-1,221 (.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 and only loss of the 2022-23 season in the brand-new Moody Center 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 75.8 points this season on 45.4 percent (814-of-1793) shooting, including 34.5 percent (221-of-640) from 3-point range, while hitting on 74.9 percent (500-of-668) from the free throw line. The Wildcats tied for the Big 12 lead in assists (16.8 apg.), while was second in free throw percentage, fourth in assist/ turnover ratio (1.19) and fifth in scoring margin (+7.10).
- The current scoring average (75.8 ppg.) is tied for ninth 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 11 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 also 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 first in the Big 12 with 16.7 assists per game. Among the 524 assists are 8 players with double-digit totals, including senior Markquis Nowell, who ranks third nationally in assists/game (7.7) and total assists (238). The 524 assists rank sixth on the single-season chart and are the most since 2012-13. 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 (524) to made field goals (814). Only Lafayette (69.4), Virginia (67.0), Tennessee (66.6), Arizona (65.7), Xavier (65.5) and Air Force (65.0) 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 24 of 31 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 (1,197 points), Keyontae Johnson (1,340 points), Markquis Nowell (1,836 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 31 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 9 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 4 straight 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 465 turnovers through the first 31 games, which includes 241 steals, while averaging 16.7 points per game off those miscues.
- The 15.0 turnovers forced per game ranks 37th nationally, while it places fourth in the Big 12 behind Iowa State, TCU and Texas. K-State ranks fifth in steals (7.8) and seventh in turnover margin (+0.8), while senior Markquis Nowell leads the Big 12 and places eighth nationally in steals (2.45 spg.).
- K-State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers 8 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) and Oklahoma (3/1/23; 20 points) and West Virginia (3/4/23; 20 points) as well as ACU (12/6/22; 23 points), UIW (12/11/22; 28 points) and West Virginia (12/31/22; 22 points).
JOHNSON MAKES RETURN TO COURT
- Junior Keyontae Johnson made his triumphant return to basketball court on Nov. 7 in the season opener with UTRGV after a 2-year absence after suffering a medical emergency against Florida State on Dec. 12, 2020. He finished the night with 13 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in a team-high 26 minutes.
- Johnson was named the March Madness National Player of the Week and the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 14, as he averaged 14.5 points on 47.6 percent (10-of-21) shooting, including 57.1 percent (4-of-7) from 3-point range, to go with 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the Wildcats’ first 2 wins.
- Johnson helped the Wildcats win the Cayman Islands Classic and was named to the All-Tournament team, as he averaged a team-best 19.3 points on 53.6 percent (15-of-28) shooting, including 50 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.0 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game.
- Johnson earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors for the second time 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 30 games, leading the Wildcats and ranking second in the Big 12 in scoring (17.7 ppg.). He is second in the league in field goal percentage (51.9), 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 has been 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 (17.0 ppg.). The 3-time Big 12 Player of the Week was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award on Monday, a day after earning All-Big 12 First Team and All-Defensive Team honors from the league coaches.
- Nowell ranks third nationally in assists/game (7.7 apg.) and assists (238), while he is in the top-20 in five others, including fifth in steals (76), eighth in steals/game (2.45), 13th in free throws (162), 18th in free throw percentage and 19th in minutes/game (36.3). 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 (268).
- 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 (238) 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 (10.2 ppg.) while connecting 48.6 percent (121-of-249) from the field to go with 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks in 27 minutes per game. He averaged 9.1 points on 50.4 percent (64-of-127) shooting with 5.7 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 scored in double figures in 7 games in Big 12 play.
- 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
- Before missing the West Virginia game, senior Desi Sills had earned the start in each of the games during the 4-game win streak, where he averaged 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 33 minutes per game. Before that 4-game span, he had been a spark off the bench for the Wildcats, averaging 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 29 minutes per game.
- Sills has scored in double figures 13 times, including a season-high 24 points in the win over No. 2/2 Kansas. He came up with 16 big points in the win over LSU in the Cayman Islands Classic Championship game, while he scored all 17 of his points at Butler in the second half. He has scored in double figures in 5 of the last 8 games, including a near triple-double vs. Oklahoma in his final home game 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: WINNER ADVANCES TO SEMIFINALS
- The winner of the Thursday’s quarterfinal game will advance to play in the semifinals on Friday night at 8:30 p.m., CT against either No. 2 seed Texas (23-8, 12-6 Big 12) and the winner of the first-round matchup between No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (17-14, 8-10 Big 12) and No. 10 seed Oklahoma (15-16, 5-13 Big 12)