KANSAS STATE (3-0) vs RHODE ISLAND (1-2)
FOURTH ANNUAL CAYMAN ISLANDS CLASSIC
Monday, November 21, 2022 >> 6:30 p.m. CT >> John Gray Gym (2,000) >> Grand Cayman, C.I.
FloHoops / FloHoops App (link here)
- Jess Settles (play-by-play)
- Scott Warmann (analyst)
- Philip Hopwood (producer)
K-State Sports Network
Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
Satellite Radio: Sirius XM 381/SXM App 971
Online: Varsity Network [free]/ www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]
- Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
- Stan Weber (analyst)
Tournament Package: $250 (all 12 games)
Booster Package: $125 (just K-State’s 3 games)
K-State: Jerome Tang [Charter Oak State College ’07]
Record at K-State: 3-0/First Year
Career Record: 3-0/First Year
vs. Rhode Island: 0-0 [0-0 at K-State]
Rhode Island: Archie Miller [N.C. State ’02]
Record at Rhode Island: 1-2/1st Year
Career Record: 207-123/11th Year
vs. K-State: 0-0 [0-0 at Rhode Island]
Rhode Island (1-2)
G: #4 Sebastian Thomas
G: #10 Ishmael Leggett
G: #12 Malik Martin
F: #1 Abdou Samb
F: #22 Alex Tchikou
K-STATE OPENS CAYMAN ISLANDS CLASSIC WITH RHODE ISLAND
- Kansas State (3-0) will make its first trip out of the continental U.S. since 2018, as the Wildcats travel to George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman?Islands to compete in the fourth annual Cayman Islands Classic at The John Gray?Gymnasium from Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 21-23. The Islands are in the western Caribbean about an hour away from Miami.
- K-State will take on Atlantic 10 foe Rhode Island (1-2) in the final game of the first day on Monday, Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m., CT. The K-State/URI winner will advance to face the winner of the contest between the Mountain West’s Nevada (4-0) and the AAC’s Tulane (3-0) on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m., CT, while the two remaining teams will play at 4 p.m., CT.
- This will mark K-State’s first appearance in the Cayman Islands Classic, however, the Wildcats did win a championship in their last visit to a tournament in the Caribbean at the 2018 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- The other side of Cayman Islands Classic bracket includes Akron (2-1), Illinois State (2-2), LSU (3-0) and Western Kentucky (3-0). LSU and Illinois State will open the tournament on Nov. 21 and will be followed by the matchup between Akron and WKU. The winners of those opening games will play on Nov. 22 at 1:30 p.m., CT, while the other teams will play at 11 a.m., CT.
- The winner of each side of the bracket will face off in the championship game on Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m., CT. There will be three consolation games before the title contest at 11 a.m., CT (seventh-place game), 1:30 p.m., CT (fifth-place game) and 5 p.m., CT (third-place game), respectively.
- K-State was originally scheduled to play in the Cayman Islands Classic during the 2020-21 season, but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first tournament since George Mason won the title in 2019. Overall, this will be the Wildcats’ fifth tournament in the Caribbean, following the Paradise Jam in 2002 and 2018 and the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in 2009 and 2013.
- Previous winners of the Cayman Islands Classic include Cincinnati (2017), Creighton (2018) and George Mason (2019). GMU knocked off New Mexico State, 68-64, for the 2019 title after defeating Old Dominion (60-53) and Nebraska (85-66) in the first two rounds. Other 2019 participants included Colorado State, Loyola Chicago, South Florida and Washington State.
- K-State moved to 3-0 under first-year head coach?Jerome Tang after a 69-53 home win over Kansas City on Nov. 17. The Wildcats took control of the game 5 minutes into the first half behind the play of senior Keyontae Johnson, who continued his strong start to the season with a season-high 19 points, a team-tying 7 rebounds, a career-tying 6 assists and 2 steals in 35 minutes. Johnson scored the Wildcats’ first 8 points before getting help from sophomore Cam Carter, who scored 14 of his career-tying 16 points in the opening half on 4-of-8 field goals, including a career-best 4 treys. The duo was responsible for 25 of the team’s 41 first-half points. Kansas City was able to close to 57-47 with 6:43 to play, but reserve Desi?Sills flipped the momentum by scoring 10 of the team’s last 12 points to push the lead back out.
- The Wildcats once again used their defense to generate offense, forcing the Roos into 22 turnovers and converting those into 26 points. The team has forced 20 or more turnovers in each of their first 3 games, totaling 76 points off those miscues, an average of 25.3 points per game.
- A strong start has been important so far in K-State’s success, as the Wildcats are averaging 43 points in the first half on 46.7 percent (42-of-90) shooting, including 46.5 percent (20-of-43) from 3-point range, and 89.3 percent (25-of-28) from the free throw line. The 52 first-half points vs. UTRGV (11/7/22) were the most in an opener since 1986. In contrast, the team is averaging just 32 points in the second half on 36.2 percent (33-of-91) shooting, including 17.4 percent (4-of-23) from long range, and 72.2 percent (26-of-26) from the line.
- The bench has also proven valuable, as the Wildcats are averaging 24.7 points from its reserves with 3 different players (Abayomi Iyiola , Tykei Greene  and Desi Sills ) leading the bench in scoring.
IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT HISTORY
- K-State will play in its 87th in-season tournament this week at the Cayman Islands Classic, including its 11th outside the continental United States and the first since going 3-0 and winning the Paradise Jam on Nov.16-19, 2018 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. It is the first overall in-season tournament since going 0-2 at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City on Nov. 22-23, 2021.
- K-State has a 177-114 overall record in playing in its 86 previous in-season tournaments with 16 tournament titles to its credit. The team won its last such title at the 2018 Paradise Jam, defeating Eastern?Kentucky, Penn and Missouri. In fact, the last 2 titles have come at tournaments outside the continental U.S., in 2011 Diamond Head Classic (Hawai’i) and 2018 Paradise Jam (U.S.V.I.).
- The Wildcats have played in 10 other tournaments outside the continental U.S., starting with the 1985 Maui Invitational. Others include the 1989 Great Alaska Shootout (runner-up), 1993 Hawai’i Nike Festival (champion), 2011 Diamond Head Classic (champion), Maui Invitational (1998 and 2014), Paradise Jam (2002 and 2018) and Puerto Rico Tip-Off (2009 and 2013).
IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Overall: 177-114/87th Appearance
In-Season Tournament Titles: 16
Last In-Season Tournament Title: 2018 Paradise Jam (3-0)
At Cayman Islands Classic: First Appearance
vs. Rhode Island: First meeting
vs. Nevada/Tulane: Tied 1-1/Tied 2-2
TOURNAMENT OPPONENT PROFILES
RHODE ISLAND (1-2)
- Rhode Island enters Monday’s game with a 1-2 record after picking up its first win vs.?Stony Brook, 74-64, at home on Nov. 15. The Rams opened the year with close home losses to Quinnipiac (62-67) and Texas State (66-70).
- Sophomore Ishmael?Leggett leads 3 Rams in double figures at 17.7 points with a team-best 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Abdou Samb (10.0 ppg.) and Malik Martin (10.0 ppg.) also average double figures.
- Rhode Island is led by a first-year head coach in Archie Miller who won nearly 63 percent of his games at Dayton (2011-17) and Indiana (2017-21).
- This will be the first meeting with Rhode Island.
SERIES HISTORY WITH RHODE ISLAND
Overall: First meeting
At Neutral?Sites: First meeting
Active Streak: n/a
Last Meeting: n/a
Tang vs. URI: First meeting
K-State vs. Atlantic 10: 28-19 [4-4 at neutral sites]
Tang vs. Archie Miller: First meeting
- Nevada enters Monday’s game with Tulane with a 4-0 record after earning a 62-43 road win at UT-Arlington on Nov. 18. The Wolf Pack also have home wins over Utah?Tech (84-71), Grand Canyon (59-46) and William Jessup (98-54).
- Senior Jarod Lucas paces three Wolf Pack in double figures at 15.8 points per game, which includes a team-best 10 3-pointers. Senior Kenan Blackshear averages 12 points per game on 51.6 percent shooting with team-highs in both rebounding (6.8 rpg.) and assists (6.5 apg.) as well as 2.0 steals per game.
- Nevada is led by a fourth-year head coach?Steve Alford, who has a 52-40 record in his tenure. He is 639-338 in 31st season as a head coach, which includes Manchester, Missouri State, Iowa, New Mexico, UCLA and now Nevada.
- K-State and Nevada have met 2 previous times, splitting a home-and-home series in 1992 and 1993. The Wolf Pack won at home, 83-82, on Dec. 28, 1992, before the Wildcats won 78-52 at home on Dec. 11, 1993.
SERIES HISTORY WITH NEVADA
Overall: Tied 1-1
At Neutral?Sites: 0-0
Active Streak: K-State, 1
Last Meeting: W, 78-52 (12/11/93)
Tang vs. Nevada: First meeting
K-State vs. Mountain West: 36-19 [6-3 at neutral sites]
Tang vs. Steve Alford: First meeting
- Tulane enters Monday’s game with Nevada with a 3-0 record after a 99-79 win over Charleston?Southern on Nov. 16. The Green Wave also have home wins over UMBC?(89-67) and McNeese (75-58).
- Five players are averaging in double figures for Tulane, including a pair of 20-point scorers in sophomore Jalen?Cook (23.0 ppg.) and junior Collin Holloway (21.5 ppg.) who are both shooting better than 70 percent from the field.
- Tulane is led by a fourth-year head coach?Ron Hunter, who has a 39-46 record in his tenure. He is 484-360 in 28th season as a head coach, which includes stints at IUPUI, Georgia State and now Tulane.
- K-State and Tulane have met 4 previous times, splitting those meeting to stand at 2-2. The last meeting came in 2013, a 72-41 win by the Wildcats.
SERIES HISTORY WITH TULANE
Overall: Tied 2-2
At Neutral?Sites: Tied 1-1
Active Streak: K-State, 1
Last Meeting: W, 72-41 (12/28/13)
Tang vs. Tulane: First meeting
K-State vs. AAC: 41-36 [8-10 at neutral sites]
Tang vs. Ron Hunter: First meeting
REST OF THE TOURNAMENT FIELD
- Akron enters Monday’s game with Western Kentucky with a 2-1 record after winning home games with South Dakota State and Morgan State in between a 73-54 loss to Mississippi State in Philadelphia.
- Senior Xavier Castaneda leads a pair of double-digit scorers with a team-high 22.3 points per game average, while junior Enrique Freeman averages a double-double with 16.3 points and 10 rebounds per game.
- Akron is led by sixth-year head coach John Groce, who is 96-60 in his tenure. He is a 276-191 record in his 15th season as a head coach, which includes stints at Ohio and Illinois.
- K-State and Akron have met 3 previous times with the Wildcats winning all 3 meetings, including a 61-54 win on Nov. 24, 1990, in Manhattan.
SERIES HISTORY WITH AKRON
Overall: K-State leads 3-0
At Neutral?Sites: 0-0
Active Streak: K-State, 3
Last Meeting: W, 61-54 (11/24/90)
Tang vs. Akron: First meeting
K-State vs. MAC: 12-2 [2-1 at neutral sites]
Tang vs. John?Groce: First meeting
ILLINOIS STATE (2-2)
- Illinois State enters Monday’s game with LSU with a 2-2 record after wins over Eastern Illinois and Northwestern State and losses to Western Illinois and Northwestern State.
- Senior transfer Kendall Lewis paces a pair of double-digit scorers with a team-high 16 points per game on 54.3 percent shooting and a team-high 12 rebounds per game.
- Illinois State is led by a first-year head coach in Ryan Pedon.
- K-State and Illinois State have met 2 previous times, including an 83-79 overtime win in the latest meeting in the First Round of the NIT on March 18, 2009.
SERIES HISTORY WITH ILLINOIS STATE
Overall: K-State leads 2-0
At Neutral?Sites: K-State leads 1-0
Active Streak: K-State, 2
Last Meeting: W, 83-79 [OT](3/18/09)
Tang vs. Illinois State: First meeting
K-State vs. Missouri Valley: 42-14 [3-2 at neutral sites]
Tang vs. Ryan Pedon: First meeting
- LSU enters Monday’s game with Illinois State with a 3-0 record after home wins over Kansas City, Arkansas State and New Orleans.
- Senior transfer Adam Miller is pacing 3 players averaging in double figures at 17 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting, while Justice Hill (12.0 ppg.) and KJ Williams (11.7 ppg.) are also averaging in double digits.
- LSU is led by first-year head coach Matt McMahon, who posted a 154-67 record at Murray State.
- This would be the first meeting with LSU.
SERIES HISTORY WITH LSU
Overall: First meeting
At Neutral?Sites: First meeting
Active Streak: n/a
Last Meeting: n/a
Tang vs. LSU: First meeting
K-State vs. SEC: 167-155 [30-19 at neutral sites]
Tang vs. Matt McMahon: First meeting
WESTERN KENTUCKY (3-0)
- Western Kentucky enters Monday’s game with Akron with a 3-0 record after picking up home wins over Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky State and Indianapolis.
- Four players are averaging in double figures led by senior guard Luke Frampton’s 15.7 points per game on a 75 percent clip. Senior forward Jarius Hamilton is averaging 14 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game.
- WKU is led by long time head coach Rick Stansbury, who has a 125-73 mark in his seventh season in Bowling Green. Stanbury has a 418-239 mark in his 21st season as a head coach, including a stint at Mississippi State.
- K-State and Western Kentucky have met 3 previous times with the Wildcats winning all 3 meetings, including a 71-68 win on Feb. 15, 1994, in Bowling Green.
SERIES HISTORY WITH WESTERN KENTUCKY
Overall: K-State leads 3-0
At Neutral?Sites: 0-0
Active Streak: K-State, 3
Last Meeting: W, 71-68 (2/15/94)
Tang vs. WKU: First meeting
K-State vs. C-USA: 17-3 [3-1 at neutral sites]
Tang vs. Rick?Stansbury: First meeting
LAST TIME OUT: K-STATE 69, KANSAS CITY 53
- Senior Keyontae Johnson continued his impressive play to start the year, as he led three Wildcats in double figures with 19 points in helping K-State to a 69-53 win over Kansas City on Nov. 17 before 7,376 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
- The win gave K-State its first 3-0 start to a season since 2019-20.
- Johnson, who scored in double figures for the third consecutive game, had a stellar all-around night, adding a team-tying 7 rebounds, a career-tying 6 assists and 2 steals to his 19-point effort in 35 minutes. He was joined in double figures by sophomore Cam Carter, who finished with a career-high 16 points on 5-of-10 field goals, including 4 treys, and senior Desi Sills, who added 11 points.
- The Wildcats once again used their defense to generate offense, forcing the Roos (1-4) into 22 turnovers and converting those into 26 points. The team has forced 20 or more turnovers in each of the first 3 games, totaling 76 points off those miscues, an average of 25.3 points per game.
- K-State took control of the game in the first half on eight straight points from Johnson, which was capped by the game’s first 3-pointer with 15:21 to play. From there, Carter took control of the the game, hitting his first 3-pointer with 11:23 to play. He followed 3 more treys, as his fourth of the first half gave the Wildcats a 34-20 advantage with 2:24 remaining. Johnson and Carter combined for 25 of the team’s 41 first-half points.
- For the second straight game, K-State built a 20-point advantage in the early moments of the second half only to see its opponent chip away at the deficit. Behind the play of senior Shemarri Allen, who finished with a game-high 21 points, Kansas City closed to within 57-47 with just under 7 minutes to play.
- However, it was another veteran who stepped up for the Wildcats when they most needed it. Just like senior Markquis Nowell who came through in the clutch with his 4-point play in the win at Cal on Nov. 11, it was the veteran Sills who did it against Kansas City, as he scored the next 6 points and finished with 10 of the team’s last 12 points to push the lead back up to 18 points.
- For the game, K-State connected on 41.4 percent (24-of-58), including 35 percent (7-of-20) from 3-point range, and hit on 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the free throw line. The team struggled offensively in the second half, hitting on 35.5 percent (11-of-31) from the field and missing all four 3-point attempts.
TANG DEBUTS AS HEAD COACH
- First-year head coach Jerome Tang enjoyed a successful a debut, as the Wildcats earned a 93-59 win against UTRGV on Nov. 7 to help Tang earn his first victory as the 24th head coach and the first full-time black head coach in school history. He is the sixth minority men’s head coach in K-State Athletics history, including the third in men’s basketball following interim head coach Darryl Winston (1984-85) and former full-time head coach Frank Martin (2007-12).
- K-State head coaches are now 17-8 in their debuts, including 17-4 when opening at home. The last 5 Wildcat coaches (Jim Wooldridge, Bob Huggins, Frank Martin, Bruce Weber and Tang) have won their debut at home. Tang has followed with his first road victory at California and another home win against Kansas City to become the fourth straight first-year Wildcat head coach to start 3-0, joining Huggins, Martin and Weber.
- This is not Tang’s first time being a head coach, as he served as athletics director and head coach at Heritage Christian Academy in Cleveland, Texas from 1993-2003, leading the school to 5 TAPPS Division A State Championships.
- In addition, Tang twice served as interim head coach in his 19 seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at Baylor, leading the Bears to 4-0 record. He helped Baylor to wins over Texas (86-79 in OT) and at Texas Tech (82-48) during the 2012-13 season, while he guided the squad to wins over Louisiana (112-82) and Washington (86-52) to open the 2020-21 season.
SUCCESS IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
- K-State has posted a 162-52 (.754) record in non-conference play since the 2006-07 season. The Wildcats enter the Cayman?Island Classic with a 22-22 record in neutral site non-conference play in the last 16 years. The team has lost their last 5 such games with the last win coming at the 2018 Paradise Jam.
- K-State has a 123-14 (.898) record at home venues (includes home games played at Bramlage Coliseum, INTRUST?Bank Arena in Wichita and the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City) in non-conference play dating to the 2006-07 season, including a 114-12 (.905) mark at Bramlage Coliseum.
- The Wildcats posted double-digit non-conference wins in 12 of 13 seasons from 2006-07 to 2018-19, but they have since managed just a 19-16 record in non-conference action in the last 3 seasons.
- K-State finished the 2021-22 non-conference season with an 8-5 record, including a 6-1 mark at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats won their first 4 non-conference games (Florida A&M, Omaha, North?Dakota and UAlbany) before the setback against Marquette. They finished with wins over Green Bay and McNeese, while the final game vs. North Florida was cancelled.
- One of the keys to K-State’s early success has been its strong starts, as the Wildcats are averaging 43 points on 46.7 percent (42-of-90) shooting from the field, including 46.5 percent (20-of-43) from 3-point range, while hitting on 89.3 percent (25-of-28) from the free throw line.
- K-State has out-scored its opponents, 129-72, in the first half, as its defense has been equally impressive in the opening half, allowing just 24 points on 34.7 percent (25-of-72) shooting, including 24 percent (6-of-25) from beyond the arc. The first 3 opponents have scored just 56 combined points off field goals with a combined 16 points coming from free throws.
- The Wildcats have forced 38 combined turnovers in the first half so far with more than a third of the total points (50 of 129) coming from offense generated by these turnovers. The team scored 18 first-half points off 12 UTRGV turnovers, had 15 such points off 15 Cal miscues and 17 points off 11 Kansas City turnovers.
- The 52 points vs. UTRGV were the most first-half points in a season opener since scoring 53 vs. South Dakota on Nov. 29, 1986, as K-State’s 93 points were the most in an opener since scoring 98 vs. Southern Utah on Nov. 14, 2014. The point total was the fourth-most in an opener in the last 25 seasons.
- K-State’s defense has forced 70 turnovers through the first 3 games, which includes 30 steals, while averaging 25.3 points per game off those miscues.
- The 23.3 turnovers per game ranks second in the Big 12 behind Iowa State (24.0), while K-State ranks third in steals (10.0) and turnover margin (+9.00). Senior Markquis Nowell places second in the Big 12 in steals per game (3.33).
- The Wildcats have opened the year by forcing 20 or more turnovers from each of their first 3 opponents, which hasn’t happened since at least 1995-96. The 2007-08 season was the last time that K-State has forced 20 or more turnovers from each of its first 2 opponents.
- K-State scored 31 points off 26 UTRGV (11/7/22) turnovers in the opener then followed by scoring 19 points off 22 California (11/11/22) turnovers. The Wildcats had 26 points off 22 Kansas City turnovers in their last outing.
- K-State is getting solid production from its bench through the first 3 games, as the Wildcats are averaging 24.7 points per game. Three reserves (Desi Sills, Tykei Greene and Ish Massoud) are averaging better than 6.3 points per game on a collective 40 percent (19-of-48) shooting.
- The Wildcats got 41 points from its bench in the opener vs. UTRGV (11/7/22) with 3 reserves (Iyiola (12), Massoud (10) and Sills (10) all posting double-digit points. As a group, the bench connected on 14-of-29 from the field, including a collective 11-of-17 effort by Iyiola, Massoud and Sills.
- K-State got 17 points from its bench in the win at Cal (11/11/22), including 8 points in 20 minutes of action from Greene. The team followed with 16 points in the win over Kansas City (11/17/22) with Sills scoring 11 points.
- K-State is one of 13 schools to have at least three 1,000-point scorers on its roster, as Wildcats Tykei Greene (1,131 points), Markquis Nowell (1,344 points), Desi Sills (1,135 points) all have eclipsed the milestone in their careers at the Division I level. Only Nowell has reached the mark while at K-State.
- K-State has 5 1,000-point scorers if you count senior walk-on Nate Awbrey, who scored 1,032 points in his 4-year career at Manhattan Christian College, and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin, who scored more than 1,000 points in his junior college career at Monroe College (2019-20) and Chipola College (2020-22).
- That total could increase this season, as two other Wildcats (Abayomi Iyiola and Keyontae Johnson) have more than 800 points in their career.
- UAB leads the country with five 1,000-point scorers followed by Notre Dame (4), while K-State is one of 11 other schools to have 3 such scorers, including Drake, Gonzaga, Indiana, Iowa State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Southern Utah, Texas and Virginia.
MAKING THE MOST FROM THE LINE
- K-State has been making the most of its opportunities from the free throw line, knocking down a Big 12-best 79.7 percent (51-of-64). The Wildcats have a pair of players in the Big 12’s top-10, including seniors Desi Sills (6th; 90%, 9-of-10) and Markquis Nowell (9th; 83.3%, 15-of-18). Nowell has a career 84.9 free throw percentage after hitting on 82.9 percent in his first year at K-State.
- After hitting on 72.4 percent (21-of-29) in the opener vs. UTRGV (11/7/22), the Wildcats have been even better from the line in the last 2 games, combining to make 85.7 percent (30-of-35) in wins vs.?Cal (11/11/22) and Kansas City (11/17/22). Those numbers were equally as solid in crunch time, as the squad went a combined 82.4 percent (14-of-17) in the second half when both the Golden Bears and Roos attempted to make comebacks.
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
- K-State has taken 15 charges through 3 games with 5 in each game. Eight players have taken at least 1 charge with 3 by seniors Desi?Sills and Abayomi Iyiola while senior Tykei?Greene and junior David N’Guessan have 2 each.
JOHNSON MAKES RETURN TO COURT
- Junior Keyontae Johnson made his triumphant return to basketball court on Nov. 7 in the season opener with UTRGV after a 2-year absence after suffering a medical emergency against Florida State on Dec. 12, 2020. He finished the night with 13 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in a team-high 26 minutes.
- Johnson looked at his best during a key stretch in the first half, scoring his first points as a Wildcat on a 3-pointer at the 14-minute mark then following with a second triple less than a minute later. He finished the first half with a team-high 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, to go with 3 assists and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
- Johnson continued his impressive play with a near double-double in the win at Cal, scoring a team-high 16 points while grabbing a game-high 9 rebounds to go with 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 block in a game-high 33 minutes.
- For his efforts, Johnson was named the March Madness National Player of the Week and the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, as he averaged 14.5 points on 47.6 percent (10-of-21) shooting, including 57.1 percent (4-of-7) from 3-point range, to go with 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the Wildcats’ 2 wins.
- Johnson is the first Wildcat to earn a weekly honor after the first week of the season since Wes Iwundu shared Big 12 Player of the Week accolades on Nov. 16, 2015. It was Johnson’s second weekly award honor, as he was the SEC?Player of the Week on Nov. 25, 2019, while playing at Florida.
- Johnson was again impressive in his latest outing vs. Kansas City (11/17/22), turning in a season-best 19 points to go with 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.
NOWELL STILL RUNNING THE SHOW
- On a team with 13 new players and a new coaching staff, fifth-year senior Markquis Nowell once again demonstrated he is still the guy running the show for the Wildcats, as he leads the team in both assists (6.7 apg.) and steals (3.3 spg.) while averaging the second-most points (12.0 ppg.).
- In the opener vs. UTRGV (11/7/22), Nowell poured in a team-tying 14 points on 3-of-5 field goals, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, to go with a team-high 7 assists (just 1 turnover and 4 steals). It marked the fourth time that he has led the Wildcats in all 3 categories, following games against North?Dakota (18 points, 5 assists and 5 steals), TCU (18 points, 4 assists and 7 steals) and at Oklahoma State (16 points, 5 assists and 3 steals) last season.
- Nowell continued his impressive play in the win at Cal (11/11/22), as his 4-point play late in the second half helped start an 8-0 run that lifted that Wildcats to victory. He was responsible for nearly all the points in the run, including a layup after his 4-point play and a steal and assist on a dunk to junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin. He finished with 13 points and game-highs of 7 assists and 3 steals.
- Nowell is approaching a number of milestones in his career, as he has already eclipsed 1,300 points and 200 steals, which includes a stint at Little Rock, while he is close to a milestone of 500 assists (needs 13). He currently ranks second in steals among active Division I players with 202, trailing Junior Clay (207) of Tennessee State. Clay and Nowell are the only active players with at least 1,300 points and 200 steals, while both are nearing the 500-assist plateau.
AN INSTANT IMPACT
- Junior transfer Nae’Qwan?Tomlin has given K-State another scoring threat in the post, as the junior college All-American ranks third on the team in scoring (11.3 ppg.) while connecting 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from the field to go with 5.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 23.8 minutes per game.
- Tomlin had a near double-double in his first career Division I game vs. UTRGV (11/7/22) in the opener, as he finished with a team-tying 14 points on 6-of-12 field goals to go with a game-high 8 rebounds in just 20 minutes.
- Tomlin continued his progress in the road win at Cal (11/11/22), scoring 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting with 2 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal in just under 26 minutes of action. Although he didn’t register double figures for the first time this season, he had a solid stat line in the win over Kansas City (11/17/22) with 9 points, a team-tying 7 rebounds and 3 steals in 26 minutes.
- Tomlin scored more than 1,000 points in his junior college career at both Monroe College (2019-20) and Chipola College (2020-21) while connecting on 54.2 percent from the field. He averaged a team-leading 13.8 points on 52.4 percent shooting with 5.9 rebounds during his All-American season at Chipola, as he guided the school to the semifinals of the NJCAA National?Tournament.
CARTER FROM 3
- Sophomore Cam Carter has given K-State another threat from beyond the arc after a career night in the win over Kansas City (11/17/22). He had a career-best 4 triples on 7 attempts to finish with a career-best 16 points.
- Carter’s 5 makes from 3-point range are tied with?senior Markquis Nowell for second on the team behind the 6 made by senior Keyontae Johnson. The Wildcats are connecting on 36.4 percent (24-of-66) from beyond the arc for an average of 8 makes per game. Seven players have at least 1 triple.
THREE SET FOR REDSHIRT
- Head coach?Jerome Tang announced after the season opener with UTRGV (11/7/22) that he intends to redshirt sophomores Jerrell Colbert and Anthony?Thomas and true freshman Taj Manning. Colbert (LSU) and Thomas (Tallahassee Community College) are both transfers with 3 years of eligibility remaining, while was Manning has the full 4 years of eligibility.
A QUICK LOOK AT K-STATE
- K-State returns just 2 lettermen – senior Markquis Nowell and junior Ismael [Ish] Massoud – for head coach Jerome Tang‘s first season in 2022-23, as the Wildcats lost 10 lettermen (including 8 to transfer) following the 2021-22 season in which the team posted a 14-17 overall record, including a 6-12 mark in Big 12 play. Nowell and Massoud were both significant contributors a year ago, as the pair started in 21 and 18 games, respectively.
- The biggest headliner from these returners would be Nowell, who earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and All-Defensive Team accolades in his first season with the Wildcats after transferring from Little Rock. He led the Big 12 in steals (2.2 spg.) and was second in assists (5.0 apg.), assist/turnover ratio (1.97) and free throw percentage (82.9), ninth in 3-point field goals/game (1.59) and 12th in scoring (12.4 ppg.). He was one of two Big 12 players (along with Baylor’s James Akinjo) to rank in the top-15 in scoring and top-5 in assists, steals and assist/turnover ratio. In addition to leading the team in assists and steals, he was second in double-doubles (3) and 3-point field goals (43), third in scoring, double-digit scoring games (19) and 20-point games (3).
- K-State lost 10 lettermen from the 2021-22 season, including a pair of super seniors in Mike McGuirl and Mark Smith as well as eight to the transfer portal.
- The Wildcats welcome 13 newcomes in 2022-23, including 7 Division I transfers (Cam Carter (Mississippi State), Jerrell Colbert (LSU), Tykei Greene (Manhattan/Stony Brook), Abayomi Iyiola (Stetson/ Arkansas/Hofstra), Keyontae Johnson (Florida), David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech), Desi Sills (Arkansas/Arkansas State), two community college transfers (Anthony Thomas and Nae’Qwan Tomlin) and three true freshmen.
- The 7 Division I transfers have combined to play in nearly 500 games (491) with 287 starts, including four players (Greene, Johnson, Sills and Iyiola) who will be entering their fourth or fifth year of college. This quartet have accounted for 3,803 points and 776 rebounds in 403 games played with 283 starts. Greene (1,112) and Sills (1,110) are already 1,000-point scorers in college, while Tomlin had more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in junior college.