Editor’s note: Changed the story’s featured image from Keyontae Johnson pumping the crowd up to Markquis Nowell driving the ball. The image was changed to better coincide of the title of the story. The original photo of Johnson can still be found at the bottom of this story.
Kansas State advances to 19-5 (7-4) after a convincing win over TCU in an impressive defensive performance.
TCU entered the matchup with injury concerns, losing their star guard Mike Miles Jr. to a knee injury against Mississippi State. Eddie Lampkin Jr. was able to return to the lineup for TCU but was limited in play and still rehabbing his ankle.
The first half saw K-State and TCU go back and forth offensively. K-State would push out to a steady lead, but TCU kept creeping back into striking distance, ending the half down 36-30 to the Wildcats.
The second half opened with a TCU run, cutting the Horned Frog deficit down to two. K-State responded quickly, rattling off an 8-0 run followed quickly by a 5-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Control of the backboard was a large weakness for the Wildcats in their division losses. Against TCU they made it a strength, collecting 40 rebounds to TCU’s 28, including 13 offensive rebounds to end the night.
K-State entered the game with a sense of urgency after losing the last three Big 12 matchups. Rebounding was made a main point of emphasis on the night.
“Everybody was on eggshells these last few days on purpose because there needed to be a heightened sense of urgency.” head coach Jerome Tang said. “We did a lot of things that maybe you might not do on a quick turnaround and stuff, 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.”
Guard Markquis Nowell ended the night with 18 points, seven assists and two steals, surpassing Steve Henson for the single season assist record at K-State with 187.
“It’s a blessing to be mentioned with those guys passing him, Steve Henson is a blessing.” Nowell said. “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.”
Nowell continues to cement his legacy with K-State, coming into his own under the leadership of both Bruce Weber and Tang.
“First of all, ‘Quis was blessed with vision and he has a willingness to pass the ball.” Tang said. “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 man. 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.”
Guard Tykei Greene stepped up during the game, recording four dunks, 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Greene stands as one of five K-State players who made it into double figures on the night.
K-State will go back on the road for their next matchup against Texas Tech at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 in Lubbock Texas.