The Kansas State Wildcats are headed into their holiday break on a high note after holding off the Radford Highlanders on Wednesday afternoon for 73-65 victory.
With the win, K-State is now 11-1 so far this season, the Wildcats’ best start to a season since opening with a 12-1 in the 2016-17 season, a year in which the program made it to the NCAA tournament.
Despite ranking in the 200s by the latest KenPom numbers, the Highlanders gave the Wildcats a fight throughout Wednesday’s tilt at Bramlage Coliseum, especially in the first half. K-State led by just three points at the break.
The majority of the second half was dominated by Kansas State, though, with the Wildcats extending their lead to as many as 17 points with just 4:04 left in the game. In the 16-minute stretch between the start of the second half and the Keyontae Johnson field goal that maxed out the lead, K-State outscored Radford 38-24.
Radford made one final push in the final four minutes, putting together a 13-2 run of its own to slice the K-State lead down to six points with under a minute to play.
The Wildcats did just enough to hang on in the game’s waning moments, getting a pair of Johnson free throws to score the final points of the game while making a pair of late defensive stops.
Junior forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin set a new career high in scoring in the victory, leading all scorers with 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting, also grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. That’s also Tomlin’s first 20-point game of the season overall.
Three other Wildcats broke double figures against the Highlanders, including Johnson with 16 points, and 10 apiece for senior guards Markquis Nowell and Desi Sills.
As a team, K-State shot 49.2% from the floor and 29.4% from three-point range in the victory. Radford shot just 40.7% overall but was more efficient from three, hitting 35% of its shots from beyond the arc.
The Wildcats will now take the next nine days off from competition, with their next game coming up on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, against the West Virginia Mountaineers in their Big 12 opener.