Via K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State ushered in the Jerome Tang era with an emphatic 93-59 victory over UTRGV on Monday night before an energetic crowd of 7,635 fans at Bramlage Coliseum, as six Wildcats scored in double figures en route to helping the team post their most points in an opener since 2014.
Tang, who was hired as K-State’s 25th head men’s basketball coach on March 21 after spending 19 seasons (2003-22) helping build Baylor into a national powerhouse as an assistant and associate head coach, was engulfed and splashed by his new team in the locker room following his first official victory.
“Yeah, I got doused pretty good,” said Tang. “I kind of wasn’t expecting it. I was just thinking about okay, ‘What are the three things I need to tell them so they can get out of here and go celebrate themselves and move on to the next thing,’ and then I saw bottles and I was like ‘Oh man here it comes.’ I enjoyed it with them.”
Fifth-year senior Markquis Nowell and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin each had 14 points to lead the Wildcats (1-0), while fifth-year senior Keyontae Johnson scored 13 points in his triumph return to college basketball after a near two-year absence from medical emergency on Dec. 12, 2020. He connected on 4-of-8 field goals, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and added 4 assists and 2 rebounds in a team-high 26 minutes of action.
Another fifth year Abayomi “Baybe” Iyiola posted 12 points and 5 rebounds off the bench, while senior Desi Sills and junior Ismael (Ish) Massoud each added 10 points. It marked the first time since a victory over Colorado State on Dec. 17, 2016, that six Wildcats scored in double figures.
The 93 points were the most by a K-State team in a season opener since scoring 98 against Southern Utah on Nov. 14, 2014, while they are fourth-most in an opener in the last 25 seasons.
With the win, K-State moved to 93-26 all-time in season openers dating back to 1903, including a 29-3 mark at Bramlage Coliseum.