A Nowell-to-Johnson lob seals another close K-State victory

Senior Keyontae Johnson makes one of many dunks from the game against UTRGV. The Wildcats defeated UTRGV 93-59 on Nov. 7th. (Archive photo by Jersey Johnson | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State continues to win, advancing to 15-1 (4-0) from a late second-half rally to push past Oklahoma State in a 65-57 victory.

The first half saw offensive struggles for both teams with turnovers on both teams’ offenses. Oklahoma State’s defense was able to limit K-State’s offense to only 30 points in the first half.

A large reason for K-State’s limited scoring was forward Keyontae Johnson only scoring three points on seven field goal attempts in the half.

Johnson would get back into rhythm in the second half, recording 12 points on the night including the game-sealing alley-oop from guard Markquis Nowell to close the door on the Cowboys.

Though Johnson did not have a productive first half, it allowed guard Desi Sills to step up and provide some offensive momentum. Sills ended the night recording 11 points, two assists, two steals and three rebounds.

The second half saw K-State’s defense complement the offense, with eight points off turnovers, limiting the Oklahoma State offense who shot over 45% in the first half to 22.9% in the second.

Nowell continues to record record-breaking numbers. The Big 12 Players of the Week shot 50% from the field and sank five three-pointers on the night. Nowell added seven assists and continues to lead the Big 12 in assists per game, averaging over eight. 

Oklahoma State entered the game boasting the third ranked defense in the Big 12, limiting teams to 61.8 points per game and averaging a league-high 38.3 total rebounds per game. 

The Wildcats struggled at times in the paint with rebounding, letting up a 10-point lead with under five minutes in the second half to allow the Cowboys to come within one point.

Oklahoma State dominated in second-chance points with 16, while K-State recorded zero. Points in the paint were also to the Cowboy’s advantage with 30 compared to K-State’s 20.

Kalib Boone, a problem for the Wildcats throughout the night, recorded a team-high 23 points on 60% shooting with two steals and two blocks. Boone helped Oklahoma State inch closer to taking the lead in the second half with his interior offensive production.

For K-State, it is another close victory against a Big 12 program, continuing the success and record-breaking start of first-year head coach Jerome Tang.

K-State will go back on the road against a familiar foe, visiting No 17. TCU at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, in Schollmaier Arena.