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MANHATTAN, Kan. – No. 13/15 Kansas State used a 14-2 run late in the second half to pull away from Texas Tech, 68-58, on Saturday afternoon before a sold-out crowd of 11,000 at Bramlage Coliseum.
Senior Markquis Nowell led all scorers with a game-high 23 points to go with a season-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, as K-State continued its strong start to the season. The Wildcats are off to their best start (17-2) in more than 60 years, while they moved to 6-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2007-08.
With the score knotted at 50-all, K-State took control of the game with its late 14-2 run. Senior Abayomi Iyiola started a run of 10 straight points with a free throw just after the third media timeout with 7:27 to play, which was followed by a 3-pointer from senior Keyontae Johnson, layups by senior Desi Sills and junior Ismael Massoud and a pair of free throws from Johnson that gave the Wildcats a 60-50 lead with just under 3 to play.
Although Texas Tech (10-9, 0-7 Big 12) broke the run with a bucket from senior Fardaws Aimaq with under 2 minutes remaining, the Red Raiders could get no closer than the rest of the way, as Nowell sealed it with 6 consecutive free throws to end the game.
Nowell was joined in double figures by Johnson, who collected his third double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and Massoud, who added 12 points on 5-of-6 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Iyiola added 7 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Red Raiders, who entered the game 30th nationally in field goal percentage at 48.1 percent shooting, were held to a season-low 32.4 percent (23-of-71) shooting from the field, including 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from 3-point range. Freshman Pop Isaacs and senior De’Vion Harmon led the way with 13 points each.
Texas Tech led 33-28 at the half on the strength of a 14-2 run, which was highlighted by a 3-pointer by Isaacs at the buzzer. The Red Raiders extended their lead to 45-37 with just over 13 minutes to play on a 10-2 run, but the Wildcats were able to answer with an 11-0 run to regain the lead at 48-45 near the midway point of the half.
After shooting just 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from the field in the first half, K-State connected on 52.4 percent (11-of-21) after halftime. For the game, the Wildcats shot 42.6 percent (20-of-47) from the field, including 32 percent (8-of-25) from 3-point range, while making 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from the free throw line.
K-State wore its two-tone lavender uniforms, which harken back to the days of legendary coach Jack Hartman.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The two teams went back and forth in the early going before K-State used a 13-3 run to take a 19-13 lead just before the third media timeout with 7:59 before halftime. Four different Wildcats scored in the run, including a pair of 3-pointers by senior Markquis Nowell.
K-State led 26-19 after Nowell’s fourth 3-pointer of the half before Texas Tech started its half-ending 14-2 run that gave the Red Raiders a 33-28 lead at the break. Tech grabbed its first lead at 28-26 on a pair of free throws by freshman Pop Isaacs that extended the run to 9-0. He then capped off the half with a 3-pointer from the right side of the key at the buzzer. Nowell led all scorers at the break with 12 points.
The Wildcats scored 7 of the first 9 points out of halftime to knot the game at 35-all just before the first media timeout with 15:52 to play. However, the Red Raiders responded out of the break, using a 10-2 run to take a 45-37 lead and force head coach Jerome Tang to call his first timeout at the 13:11 mark.
K-State was able to gain momentum of the timeout, rattling off 11 straight points to take a 48-45 lead near the midway point off the second half. Junior Ismael Massoud proved important in the run with 5 points, including a big 3-pointer, that pulled the Wildcats to within 45-44. Senior Keyontae Johnson capped off the run with a dunk and layup that gave K-State a 48-45 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
With game tied at 50-all with just under 9 minutes to play, the Wildcats used a 14-2 run over the next 6 minutes to take control of the game at 64-52 with just over 1 minute remaining. Senior Abayomi Iyiola started a run of 10 straight points with a free throw, which was followed by a 3-pointer by Johnson, layups by senior Desi Sills and Massoud and a pair of free throws from Johnson that gave K-State a 60-50 lead with 2:57 to play.
After Tech broke the run with a basket, Massoud followed with a jumper and Nowell knocked down a pair of free throws to complete the 14-2 run. Nowell finished off the game with 4 more free throws.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Markquis Nowell posted his sixth 20-point game of the season, scoring a game-high 23 points on 5-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-11 from 3-point range, and 9-of-10 free throws. He added a season-high 8 rebounds to go with 5 assists and 2 steals in 37 minutes.
Senior Keyontae Johnson collected his third double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go with 3 assists and a steal in 36 minutes. He has now scored in double figures in all 19 games.
STAT OF THE GAME
14-2 – K-State broke a 50-all tie with a 14-2 run over a more than 6 minute span late in the second half to lift itself to victory. Five different Wildcats scored in the run, including 5 from senior Keyontae Johnson.
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