Kansas State basketball finishes its first year under head coach Jerome Tang with a close loss in the Elite Eight against the Florida Atlantic Owls.
FAU quickly established the pace of the game early, sinking a 3-point shot that would quickly put the Owls in front.
K-State would respond, putting together some offensive momentum, and sinking a couple of 3-point shots from range.
Though they were able to keep pace with the Owls, K-State found itself disrupted on offense, having passing tipped and forced into turnovers.
The first half would end with FAU having a four-point advantage, coming mainly from losing the battle in the post. The Owls out-rebounded K-State in the first half 22-9, mainly from their 7-foot-1 center Vladislav Goldin.
Another major factor that came back to bite the Wildcats would be foul trouble. Three players for K-State collected two fouls. With foul trouble, FAU was able to get to the free-throw line and extend thelead.
K-State came out in the second half with a more balanced offense and defense. The Wildcats ended the game with 30 points off of turnovers.
K-State eventually fought back from the first half deficit to push out to a lead of five with under five minutes to play but failed to prevent FAU’s final run.
K-State finished the game fighting, closing the gap to one point multiple times.
Ultimately, the game came down to free throws and the Owls’ ability to take care of business.
Guard Markquis Nowell finished his final game with an all-time performance. He recorded a double-double with 30 points and 12 assists.
Forward Keyontae Johnson found himself in foul trouble early, collecting two fouls in the first half, limiting his playing time, and fouling out in the second half. Johnson ended the night with nine points and three rebounds.
For FAU, Goldin played a large factor in the post with 13 rebounds and was third on the team in points with 14. Guard Aliyah Martin also helped contribute to the owl’s success with 17 points and four rebounds.
Although K-State finishes its season with another Elite Eight tournament exit, it was still a historic season for first-year head coach Jerome Tang who has established himself as a strong candidate for Naismith Coach of the Year.