Kansas State men’s basketball advances to 3-0 under coach Jerome Tang with a 69-53 win over the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Early on, scoring proved difficult for anyone not named Keyontae Johnson. The senior forward named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week proved why by scoring the first eight points for the Wildcats.
While both defenses played well for the start of the first half, the Wildcats chipped away at the Roos late, an effort led by guard Cam Carter. The sophomore transfer took over after the 12-minute mark, knocking down a career-high four 3-point field goals. Both Carter and Johnson hit double-figures going into the half, giving K-State a 41-25 lead.
The second half opened with two buckets from junior forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin, the second of which saw him rising up for a slam over his defender. Guard Markquis Nowell then followed with yet another flashy pass leading to a commanding dunk, this time by Johnson.
It looked like the contest might turn into a blowout at that point. However, Kansas City refused to let the Wildcats run away with the game. Much like the first half, the Roos kept the K-State offense mostly quiet until late.
After the game, Tang commented on their offense struggles by giving credit to the Kansas City defensive attack.
“It took away our ability to wear them down on the offensive end…so that really slowed the game down in the second half,” Tang said.
Led by their defense, Kansas City cut their deficit down to just 10 points with six minutes left to play, but the Wildcats were able to fight off a comeback for the second straight game, ending the game on an 8-2 run to secure the 16-point victory.
Johnson set a season-high of points with 19 while Carter set a new career-high with his 16-point performance.
“He [Carter] knew he had to improve his shooting…and the fact he’s being rewarded for that hard work. It’s a joy as a coach to see,” Tang said.
The Wildcats will now take their talents to the Cayman Islands for their first in-season tournament. They will play three games in as many days starting on Monday, Nov. 21.