K-State Advances to Round of 32 With 77-65 Victory Over Montana State

Kansas State’s star senior duo delivered their school their first March Madness victory in five years.

Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell combined for 35 points, and the latter handed out a game-high 14 assists, as the third-seeded Kansas State Wildcats defeated the number fourteen seed Montana State Bobcats 77-65 in first-round action in the East Regional in Greensboro, North Carolina on Friday night.

The last of Nowell’s 14 dimes led to a thunderous slam from Desi Sills that punctuated K-State’s first tournament win since they defeated Kentucky in the Sweet 16 in the 2018 tournament.

The underdog Bobcats traded baskets with the Wildcats for the game’s first ten minutes, but K-State took the lead for good on a David N’Guessan layup that put them in front 18-16 just past the halfway mark of the first half. K-State led by as many as 34-25 before Montana State closed the gap to six at 34-28 at the intermission.

The lead was trimmed to four early in the second half before the Wildcats started to create some distance. A hoop by Nae’Qwan Tomlin gave K-State their first double-digit lead at 42-32 with 16:39 to play. They pushed the lead up to 13 while holding Montana State scoreless for a five minute stretch. In a nearly seven-minute sequence, Nowell would either score or assist on seven of K-State’s nine field goals, with the Sills slam the last of those baskets. That made it 75-59 with 1:57 to play and represented the largest lead of the night.

In addition to his 14 assists, Nowell added 17 points. Johnson led the way for K-State with 18 points and eight rebounds. Tomlin and N’Guessan also scored in double figures, chipping in 13 and 10 points, respectively. Raequan Battle’s 27 points led the Bobcats in a losing effort.

The Wildcats improve to 24-9 on the season with the win. Next up is a matchup with sixth-seeded Kentucky, who topped eleventh-seeded Providence 61-53 on Friday. The game will tip off at 1:40 Central time on Sunday in Greensboro and be broadcast on CBS.