The Kansas State Wildcats rewrote their offensive record books on Tuesday night in Austin, Texas, shooting the lights out nonstop en route to a 116-103 win over the Texas Longhorns to improve to 2-0 in Big 12 play.
That’s a new K-State program record for points in a single game. The Wildcats also set their record for points in a single half with 58 in the first half against the Longhorns, a mark they then tied in the second half.
“Those of us who consider ourselves to be defensive coaches, it was a headache,” K-State coach Jerome Tang said. “But it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
All five K-State starters scored in double figures in the win, but it was senior guard Markquis Nowell who led the way for the Wildcats with a career night.
Nowell set a new career high with 36 points on Tuesday, going 9-of-15 from the floor, 6-of-10 from three-point range and a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line.
His 36 points is seven more than his previous season high, 29 points in a win over Nevada on Nov. 11, and it beats his previous career high of 34 points, set in the first game of his college career for Little Rock against Southeastern Oklahoma State on Nov. 8, 2018.
“He’s getting better every single day, every day and I’m so proud of him,” Tang said about Nowell.
Senior guard Keyontae Johnson also had a huge offensive night for the Wildcats, tying his career high with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting. His previous career-scoring performance also came in the aforementioned win for K-State over Nevada.
Johnson was also perfect at the free throw line, going 7-of-7 at the charity stripe. As a team, the Wildcats were 31-of-33 on free throws.
Sophomore guard Cam Carter had 17 points in the win, junior forward Nae’qwan Tomlin scored 11 and senior center Baybe Iyiola added 10 in the K-State win.
“Every time the crowd got into it, our guys were able to silence it and calm it back down, so that was huge,” Tang said.
The Wildcats shot 60% from the field as a team and 54.2% from three in their best offensive game of the year. The Longhorns had an explosive offense night of their own despite losing by 13 points at home. Texas had five double-digit scorers, too, and shot 51.% overall and 40.7% from beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter, a transfer from Iowa State, led Texas in scoring with 29 points in the losing effort.
Tuesday’s win was the latest example of the steps forward K-State’s offense has taken in its first year under Tang. In their conference-opening win on Saturday against the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Wildcats’ 82 points were a season-best against a major conference opponent. Just days later, they have a new record for points in a Big 12 game.
This also marks consecutive wins over ranked teams for Kansas State, with Texas sitting at No. 6 in the latest AP Top 25 basketball poll, and seven wins in a row overall.
K-State will try to keep its momentum going on Saturday when takes on another top-25 team, the 19th-ranked Baylor Bears. That game is set for a 5:00 p.m. central time start in Waco, Texas.