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10/9 Texas Uses Second Half Rally to Upend 7/6 K-State, 69-66




MANHATTAN, Kan. – No. 10/9 Texas rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit with an impressive second-half effort, as the Longhorns handed No. 7/6 Kansas State its first home loss of the season with a 69-66 win on Saturday afternoon before a sold-out crowd of 11,000 at Bramlage Coliseum.


K-State (18-5, 6-4 Big 12) had one last chance to send the game to overtime with 5 seconds left, but junior Ishmael Massoud’s 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer, as Texas (19-4, 8-2) extended its lead in the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns are now a game ahead of Iowa State (7-3) and two games of Kansas, K-State and TCU (6-4).

Senior Keyontae Johnson led three Wildcats in double figures with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range with 3 rebounds in 24 minutes. Reserve senior Desi Sills chipped in 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, while senior Markquis Nowell added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Down by as many as 14 points in the first half and 11 at the break after shooting just 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from the field, including 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from 3-point range, the Longhorns came on fire to start the second half, using a 14-4 run to close the deficit to 40-39 just after the first media timeout.

The Wildcats stayed ahead for the next few minutes before a layup by senior Christian Bishop and a 3-pointer from Sixth Man of the Year candidate Sir’Jabari Parker gave the visitor the lead for the first time at 51-48 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Twice, they built the lead to 6 points before K-State rallied to tie the game at 64-64 on a 12-6 spurt that included production from four players, including 4 points from Sills.

The teams traded the lead over the next few minutes, including a floater by Nowell for a 66-65 lead with just over a minute to play before a driving layup by Bishop and two free throws by Parker provided the final margin.

It was a balanced effort for Texas, as five players scored in double figures led by 14 points each from Bishp and Parker. Three others – Timmy AllenTyrese Hunter and Marcus Carr – each added 10 points. Parker logged a double-double with a game-high 10 boards. Three Longhorns had 4 assists.

After shooting 30.4 percent in the first half, Texas responded by connecting on 57.1 percent (16-of-28) in the second half, including 42.9 percent (3-of-7) from 3-point range. The Longhorns finished at 45.1 percent (23-of-51) from the field, including 25 percent (4-of-16) from long range. They were stellar from the free throw line, knocking down 79.2 percent (19-of-24), including 90.9 percent (10-of-11) in the first half.

For the game, K-State hit on 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field, including 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from 3-point range, and made 80 percent (16-of-20) of its free throws.

The game included 36 combined turnovers with each team scoring 19 points off those miscues.

K-State still leads the all-time series, 24-22, including 11-10 at home, however, Texas has now won 5 straight over the Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum.

The teams traded the lead in the opening minutes before a 6-0 run by K-State gave the Wildcats a 12-7 lead at the 13:24 mark. Three different Wildcats contributed to the run, which was capped by a layup by senior Abayomi Iyiola. The lead continued to grow, as K-State scored 16 of the next 23 points, to take a 28-14 with 6:19 before halftime. During the spurt, four Wildcats connected from long range.

Texas twice cut the deficit to 10 points over the next few minutes before a layup by senior Desi Sills and four free throws by junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin pushed the lead to 36-22 with 27.8 seconds left before halftime. After a missed 3-pointer, graduate Sir’Jabari Rice was able to get senior Tykei Greene to foul him on a triple with 0.4 seconds and made all 3 free throws to cut the deficit to 36-25 at the break.

After the momentum to end the first half, Texas came out on fire to start the second half, running off a 12-4 run before the first media timeout to close to within 40-37 with 15:56 remaining. K-State managed to stay ahead over the next few minutes behind 5 points from senior Keyontae Johnson and a 3-pointer from junior Ishmael Massoud before layup from senior Christian Bishop and a 3-pointer by Rice gave Texas a 51-48 lead with 10:51 to play.

The Longhorns twice extended their lead to 6 points, including 58-52 after a dunk by Bishop right before media timeout with 7:11 remaining. However, the Wildcats responded with 12 of the next 18 points to tie the game at 64-all on a bucket by senior Markquis Nowell.

A Rice free throw gave Texas a 65-64 lead with 2:08 to play before Nowell’s floater returned the lead to K-State at 66-65 with just over a minute remaining. Bishop’s driving layup gave the Longhorns the lead for good at 67-66 with 37 seconds left before a turnover by Nowell enabled Rice to return to the free throw line, where he knocked down two for the 69-66 lead. The Wildcats had more chance with 9 seconds left, but Massoud couldn’t connect from long range at the buzzer.

Senior Keyontae Johnson led all scorers with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and 2-of-4 from the free throw line. He has now scored in double figures in all 23 games.

Senior Desi Sills had a solid night off the bench for the Wildcats, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 field goals, including 1-of-2 from 3-point range, to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 34 minutes.

Head coach Jerome Tang
On the game…
“First of all, I want to thank our fans, it was an incredible environment. Everything that you dream about as a coach and our players to get to play in front of them. They were into the game; they were incredible, and I just can’t thank them enough. Blessed by the good Lord to be able to do this. I know normally I’m up here and we talk about washing things. I don’t want to wash this one though. I want us to live with this feeling for the next 48 hours because our fans deserve better than what I did as a head coach and what we did as a staff and what we did as players on the floor in that second half and we will be different on Tuesday night.”

On Keyontae Johnson’s early foul trouble…
“It’s tough when one of your best players picks up two fouls in the first couple seconds of the game and there are things that you feel like are inconsistent in what’s considered a foul and what’s not considered a foul, so that’s got to be frustrating for him as a player and then we’re putting him in and out of the game and really can’t get into a rhythm. Hats off to Keyontate for being able to come in for the spurts he did in the first half and was effective offensively, but he wasn’t able to help us rebounding, he wasn’t able to help us defensively. And so, it took a lot away from us in the first half.”

On Marquis Nowell’s turnovers…
“It’s something that he has to do. And so, he’s got to play with his feet on the ground. I think teams are putting two guys on him and speeding him up and he’s probably a little pressed right now and so we just got to get him to relax and make the simple play and trust that the ball will come back to him.”

On what they needed to do better at the start of the second half…
“Well, they just came out and was way more physical than we were and more aggressive than we were. I don’t know what the mindset was, but we talked about coming out and owning the paint again because, I mean, in the first half it was I think 14 to 8 in the second half and it was flipped the other way. I think it was like 22 to, whatever, 6, they killed us in the paint and that was the difference in the ballgame. The points off turnovers and the points in the paint and we just did not set the tone of the game. We let them set the tone of the second half.”

Senior Keyontae Johnson
On how they can bounce back…
“Just going to practice tomorrow, just learn from film. Both games it was our mistakes that we messed up on and things we can fix. Good thing it wasn’t anything serious, just bad defensively, we turned the ball over a lot and they capitalized on it. So just limiting our turnovers, just giving us a chance to win.”

On if the foul trouble limited his ability to defend and rebound…
“Yes, I did get into my head like when I had those early fouls.  So I’m just trying to limit myself in gaining fouls and just find a way to stay on the floor really.”

Senior Markquis Nowell
On if they felt rushed in the second half…
“That’s not a thought but I felt like at a point in times we did get rushed which led to turnovers and fast break points for them. Also, in the second half, I feel like they came out and were the tougher team. They got a lot of second chance points, offensive rebounds, which led them to have momentum and be able to come back and win.”

On what changed offensively when Keyontae Johnson got into foul trouble…
“I mean he’s our go-to player so it changes a lot when he gets two or three quick fouls. But we managed to fight through and continue to keep battling while he was out. But yeah, those two quick ones could change the whole narrative of a half or the game.”

On if teams are defending him differently…
“It is different, I’ve got to adjust to what teams throw at me. Tonight, I wasn’t really good. I turned the ball over way too much which is something I take pride in. But in the first half of the season, they kind of let me catch the ball and let me do whatever I wanted to do. Now it’s a little different with the second half of the season because they’re trying to deny me and they’re trying to keep the ball out my hands. So, I just got to watch film, and find out ways to be aggressive, but not hurt my team. I feel like tonight there was a point in times where I was over dribbling or trying to make the homerun play and that kind of cost us. So, I’ll watch film, and be better as a point guard and a leader so this won’t happen again.”

Team Notes

  • K-State fell to 18-5 overall, including 6-4 in Big 12 play… The 18-5 mark is still the best by
  • K-State has lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
  • K-State sees it 12-game homecourt winning streak end, including 11 straight at Bramlage Coliseum… Texas handed K-State its first home loss after the ‘Cats gave the Longhorns their first home loss on Jan. 3.
  • K-State still leads the all-time series, 24-22, including 11-10 at home… The Longhorns have now won 5 in a row over the Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum and now lead the series, 10-9.
  • K-State scored its 66 points on 44 percent shooting (22-of-50), including 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from 3-point range, and connected on 80 percent (16-of-20) from the free throw line.
  • The teams combined for 36 turnovers, including 19 by K-State… Each team scored 19 points off turnovers.
  • K-State led 36-25 at half while holding Texas to 30.4 percent (7-of-23) shooting… Eight Wildcats scored at least 2 points, including seven with at least one field goal made… Senior Desi Sills led all scorers with 7 points while tying for the game-high with 5 rebounds.
  • K-State is now 11-2 this season when leading at the half.

Player Notes

  • Senior Keyontae Johnson led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and 2-of-4 from the free throw line to go with 4 rebounds and an assist in 24 minutes… He has 61 career double-digit scoring games, including all 23 games in 2022-23.
  • Senior Desi Sills had 11 points off the bench on 4-of-6 field goals and 2-of-4 free throws to go with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 34 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 59 career games, including 9 times at K-State… His 5 rebounds were a high in a Big 12 game.
  • Senior Markquis Nowell scored 10 points on 4-of-11 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws to go with a team-tying 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 38 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 86 career games, including 39 at K-State and 20 in 2022-23.
  • With his 3 assists, he moved into second place on the single season list with 180… He is now 6 shy of Steve Henson’s school-record mark of 186 in 1987-88.
  • Junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin had a solid all-around game with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and game-high 4 steals… The 4 steals matched his career-high, also done vs. West Virginia (12/31/22).

K-State concludes its brief 2-game homestand on Tuesday night with a visit from No. 15/16 TCU (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum. The Horned Frogs won the first meeting, 82-68, on Jan. 14 at home.

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