Johnson drops 25 in critical home win against Baylor

Forward Keyontae Johnson lead the K-State scoring effort against the Baylor Bears with 25. The Wildcats won the matchup 75-65 at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 21. (Reece Bachta | Collegian Media Group)

Needing a win to jump into sole possession of third place in the Big 12 Conference, the Kansas State Wildcats called on forward Keyontae Johnson on Tuesday night — and he delivered against Baylor.

Johnson dropped 25 points, his second highest scoring total of the season, as the Wildcats picked up a critical victory defeating the Bears, 75-65.

“Seeing my first few shots go on really was a boost for my confidence,” Johnson said. “Hitting my shots early forced the defense to react to me and made it easier for me to kick it out to my open teammates.”

Guard Markquis Nowell also had a notable performance, improving on recent struggles, recording ten assists and no turnovers in the victory. He also scored 14 points and went a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.

The biggest offensive surprise on Tuesday had to be guard Cam Carter, who dropped 10 points on 5-for-11 shooting.

Carter, Nowell and Johnson also led a solid defensive effort against one of Baylor’s top scorers in Adam Flagler, who entered Tuesday’s matchup seventh in the Big 12 in scoring.

“He’s a great player,” Nowell said. “He can get cookin’ anytime, so the game plan was to make it tough for him and force him to take tough shots inside the 3-point line.”

“We’ve been focusing a lot on the defensive side in practice,” Nowell said. “That work has paid off in these last two wins for us.”

The win for K-State means they have swept Baylor in the season series for the first time since the 2018-19 season. 

“Just to watch our guys rally around each other with all the recent adversity we’ve had was just a strong testament to their character and the type of people that they’re,” head coach Jerome Tang said.

The Wildcats are now 21-7 on the season and 9-6 in the Big 12 conference, sitting in third place. The team hits the road in its next game at 1 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 25 against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma.