MANHATTAN, Kan. – Five Wildcats scored in double figures, including a game-high 18 points from senior Markquis Nowell, as No. 12/11 Kansas State snapped a 2-game losing streak with a near wire-to-wire 82-61 victory over No. 19/17 TCU on Tuesday night 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 K-State single-season school record of 186 set by Steve Henson in 1987-88. His total ranks third nationally in Division I. In addition, his 18 points helped him eclipse 1,700 in his college career, which spans 119 games at Little Rock and K-State.
The win helped K-State (19-5, 7-4 Big 12) keep pace in the Big 12 race, moving into a tie with No. 9/8 Kansas for third place, just one game back of No. 5/5 Texas and a half-game back of No. 11/13 Iowa State. The 19-5 start ties the 2012-13 and 2018-19 teams for the second-best in the last 50 seasons. The team also secured its fifth Top 25 victory of the season, which is the second-most in a single-season and most since posting 6 in 2014-15.
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. 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.
Leading 36-30 at the half, K-State took control of the game with an impressive second-half performance, as the Wildcats scored 46 points after halftime on 61.5 percent (16-of-26) shooting with 26 coming in the paint. Despite the impressive offensive effort, the game was still in the balance with under 5 minutes to play after TCU cut the deficit to 65-59 after a 6-0 run to force a timeout by head coach Jerome Tang.
The timeout seemed to ignite K-State, as a pair of free throws from sophomore Cam Carter started a streak of 15 consecutive points, as the Wildcats ended the game on a 17-2 run to snap a 3-game losing streak to the Horned Frogs at Bramlage Coliseum and a 3-game skid in Big 12 play. Five different players contributed to the run, including 5 points from Johnson, 4 from Greene and Nowell and 2 from Carter and Sills.
The Wildcats frustrated the Horned Frogs into 19 turnovers, including 13 in the first half, converting those into 15 points, while holding the nation’s top-ranked fast-break team (20.7 ppg.) to just 10 fast-break points. After giving 20 second-chance points on 14 offensive rebounds in the first meeting on Jan. 14, they allowed just 3 second-chance points on 6 offensive rebounds in the rematch.
For the game, K-State connected on 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the field, including 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from 3-point range, while hitting on 82.6 percent (19-of-23) from the free throw line. Forty of the 82 points came in the paint, while the Wildcats had 19 assists on their 28 made field goals with 5 players dishing out at least 2 assists. It was the ninth game of 80 or more points this season, which is the most since posting 11 in 2017-18.
TCU (17-7, 6-5 Big 12), which played without Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Mike Miles, Jr., for the fourth game in a row, was led by 16 points from senior Damion Baugh. Baugh, who went 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from the line, also had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal in 36 minutes. He was joined in double figures by junior Micah Peavy and sophomore JaKobe Coles, who each had 11 points, and a near double-double by senior Emanuel Miller with 10 points and a team-high 9 rebounds.
IN THEIR WORDS
Head Coach Jerome Tang
On the game…
“I first want to thank our fans. I was really upset last game more because like, our fans did such a great job and I felt as a coach I didn’t have my team ready and so today to see our guys put that kind of effort out for 40 minutes, it showed how much they really appreciated our fans and what they bring to the table for us. Because this doesn’t happen everywhere, right? Like, we can’t take this thing for granted. And so secondly, I say this all the time, wins and losses, but I really, really, I’m so blessed by God to be the head coach here at Kansas State and I don’t take it lightly and to be able to work with these young men every day in this great environment with such wonderful people. I’m extremely blessed. Very, very thankful to (Director of Athletics) Gene Taylor and President [Richard] Linton for giving me this opportunity.”
On the intensity at practice leading up to this game…
“I’m really glad that they got the point. I am probably by nature a jackal, like I don’t mind being the bad guy and I could do it every single day and it wouldn’t bother me one bit. But it wouldn’t be very fun for them, and my staff wouldn’t like me very much. So, you hope that you have older guys and guys who understand the importance of, like that drive comes from within the locker room rather than from the coaching staff. But I just really felt like they needed that from me and so everybody up and down the hallway and the offices and in the locker room and in the gym and in the film room. Everybody was on eggshells these last few days on purpose because there needed to be a heightened sense of urgency. And so yes, we did circle the wagon rebounding. We did a lot of things that maybe you might not do on a quick turnaround, but the message had to be sent and the guys received it. And now the hope is that on Thursday when we come back that I’m not the one that has to drive it. The players are the ones that drive it.”
On Markquis Nowell breaking the single season assist record…
“Well man anytime you do like an all-time record, like the most in the history. That’s a really big deal. And Steve Henson is a really big deal around here and the guys that Steve Henson played with were really good players, right? And so, it says two things. First of all, ‘Quis was blessed with vision, and he has a willingness to pass the ball. And secondly, he has some really good players around him too, because they’re putting it in the hole. So, it says a lot about him and a lot about our team. And so, it’s a great honor. I’m proud of the kid. That young fella, he took the last loss really hard, and I was proud of how he responded today.”
On Tykei Greene’s performance…
“We tell everybody that at some point in time during the season everybody on the team is going to have an opportunity to help us win a game. Tykei came to my office, and he said ‘Coach, man, is there anything that I could do to help us.’ He said, ‘Coach, whether you want me to play defense on the other team’s best player and not let them touch the ball, whatever it is, I just want to be able to help contribute to our team winning. I told him I said, ‘We’re just trying to figure it out. Like we’re working through some things it’s not something you’re not doing it’s just, we’re just trying to figure out how to like, get the most out of each guy. And all I asked him I said, ‘Just to stay ready for me, just to stay ready and if you stay ready opportunities gonna come.’ And tonight, his opportunity came and he was ready.”
Senior Markquis Nowell
On breaking the single season assist record…
“It’s a blessing to be mentioned with those guys passing him, Steve Henson, is a blessing. It just shows how unselfish I am, and he was at K-State. When you have a group of guys like we have here it’s easy to get assists and it’s easy to make plays for others. I give credit to my teammates for finishing, from last year and this year for helping me break that record. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
On guys like Tykei and Desi stepping up…
“It’s big time when we have guys contribute to the scoring load. They’re going to key in on me and Keyontae [Johnson] for the most part so we have guys like Tykei and Desi who could finish and help us out. It’s always good. Like Desi said, these guys have been putting in work since the summer. Tykei has been in the gym every morning shooting 500 threes since the summertime. Desi has been working at 7 in the morning. When you trust your work and when you stay ready, good things happen and that’s what they’ve been doing.”
Senior Tykei Greene
On his performance…
“It means a lot to have a game like this. I wanted to come in and help the team right away, especially after the two losses. So, I just came in and did whatever I had to do to get the win.”
On what part of his game gets him going…
“When the ball goes in the basket, when I dunk the ball or when I finish the tough layup, especially from people like ‘Quis and Desi, it means a lot. And that just boosts me up a lot to just keep falling.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State improves to 19-5 overall, including 7-4 in Big 12 play… The 19-5 start represents the second-best in the last 50 seasons, tying the 2012-13 and 2018-19 teams, with only the 1972-73 and 2009-10 teams (20-4) having a better mark in that span.
- The win snaps a 2-game losing streak and a 3-game skid in Big 12 play.
- K-State earned its fifth Top 25 victory of the season, all coming in the last 12 games… It is the most Top 25 victories in a single season since tying the school-record with 6 in 2014-15.
- K-State evens the season series with TCU, while snapping a 3-game losing streak to the Horned Frogs at home… The Wildcats now lead the all-time series, 21-11, including 18-9 in the Big 12 era.
- K-State scored its 82 points on 45.9 percent shooting (28-of-61), including 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from 3-point range, and connected on 82.6 percent (19-of-23) from the free throw line.
- K-State now has 9 games of 80 or more points this season, which is the most since posting 11 in 2017-18.
- K-State held a 40-28 advantage in rebounding, including 13 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 11 second-chance points… The Wildcats are now 11-1 when winning the rebounding battle.
- K-State scored 40 of its 82 points in the paint, which marks the 9th game with at least 40 paint points.
- K-State had 19 assists on its 28 made field goals, as 5 players had at least 2 assists.
- K-State got 29 points from its bench, which is the fourth-most this season.
- K-State led 36-30 at half while despite shooting 34.3 percent (12-of-35) from the field… Senior Markquis Nowell led all scorers with 10 points in all playing all but 30 seconds in the first half… The Wildcats forced the Horned Frogs into 13 turnovers.
- K-State is now 12-2 this season when leading at the half.
- Five Wildcats scored in double figures led by senior Markquis Nowell, who led all scorers with 18 points… It marks the fourth time this season with 5 or more players in double figures.
- Nowell scored his game-high 18 points on 7-of-17 field goals, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and 1-of-2 free throws… He added a game-high 7 assists to go with 2 steals and a block in 39 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 87 career games, including 40 at K-State and 21
- With his 7 assists, Nowell set the school single season record with his current total of 187… It breaks the mark of 186 set by Steve Henson in 1987-88.
- Senior Keyontae Johnson scored 14 points on 4-of-8 field goals, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, and 4-of-6 free throws to go with 7 rebounds and 2 assists in 25 minutes… He has 62 career double-digit scoring games, including all 24 games in 2022-23.
- Johnson now has at least 5 rebounds in 20 of 24 games.
- Senior Desi Sills had a solid all-around effort, scoring 14 points on 4-of-9 field goals, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range, and 5-of-5 free throws to go with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in 33 minutes off the bench… He has now scored in double figures in 60 career games, including 10 times at K-State… His 6 rebounds and 4 assists were both highs in a Big 12 game.
- Senior Tykei Greene had a near double-double with season-highs in both points (13) and rebounds (9)… He went 6-of-11 from the field with 4 dunks.
- Junior David N’Guessan scored 10 points on 4-of-4 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws to go with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in 26 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 9 career games, including 5 at K-State… He has now gone perfect from the field on 4 or more made field goals in 4 games.
K-State begins a 2-game road swing on Saturday when the Wildcats travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech (12-11, 1-9 Big 12) at 6 p.m., CT on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.