Kansas State advances to 18-3 (6-2) after pushing past Florida in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge at Bramlage, 64-50.
K-State began with a quick, effective offense, scoring 71% within the arch, committing no turnovers and creating a comfortable lead that they maintained throughout most of the first half.
In contrast, Florida struggled against K-State’s defense, committing two turnovers in the first eight minutes, with most of their points coming from 3s in transition. Another major reason for the deficit involved rebounding.
Production from the post for Florida was lacking despite their size advantage. K-State led in points in the paint 22-4 in the first half and finished the half with a 21-point lead.
Entering the second half, Florida was able to gain back some momentum, opening the half with an 8-0 run in the first four minutes of play.
K-State struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the half’s opening minutes until guard Markquis Nowell opened up the scoring for the Wildcats with a quick jumper. Nowell was very close to K-State’s first triple-double, ending the night with 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Florida was able to create more shots in the second half, coming within a ten-point range of the lead, but K-State was able to hold them off to end with the 64-50 victory.
Keyontae Johnson had a quiet first half against his previous team until the second half, finding multiple opportunities to score. Johnson ended the night recording his 18th double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and one assist.
“Today was, I mean it was a special day just seeing my old teammates,” Johnson said. “It was fun out there playing against them. Just felt like practice, joking around throughout the game, but kept being competitive. So I feel like it was a great experience, just glad the Big 12 has this conference SEC game going on, and we got to play Florida. Really appreciate it.”
Before the game, Johnson could be seen embracing many Florida staff and coaches, showing his affection for his previous team.
“It was really cool as a fan,” head coach Jerome Tang said. “I wanted to see him [Johnson] have a good game. I wanted him to get the win, I think our team wanted him to get the win. We knew it was important to him, even though he didn’t make a big deal out of it.”
Guard Cam Carter has been heating up over the last two games. He continues to produce after an impressive performance against Iowa State. Carter recorded nine points, five rebounds and four assists on the night.
K-State will return back to the road, facing off against its in-state rival Kansas in a much-anticipated matchup at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31.