On an emotionally charged Senior Night inside of Bramlage Coliseum the Kansas State Wildcats were able to secure an 85-69 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners on Wednesday night. The Wildcats honored six seniors on the night. Keyontae Johnson, Markquis Nowell, Desi Sills, Tykei Greene, Abayomi “Bebe” Iyiola, and walk-on Nate Awbrey.
Kansas State began the night struggling from the field as they made just two of their first 10 shots on the night in seven and a half minutes of action. The Wildcats locked on offensively from that moment forward and proceeded to shoot 60% from the field for the rest of the game, including shooting 70% from the field in the second half.
The offense was led by numerous players, but the leading scorer on the night was junior forward Nae’Qwon Tomlin who chipped in 19 points on the night to go along with his five rebounds.
The three-point shot has been something Tomlin has tried to add to his game as the year has gone along and tonight he was able to use it effectively as he nailed a pair of three-pointers, something he knows helps his overall game.
“I think it opens it up a lot because I started making threes and you know people adjust,” Tomlin said. “[They] try to like fly out and give me opportunities to get to the basket or make the play.”
In addition to Tomlin, Desi Sills also had a tremendous game as he flirted with a triple-double. Sills finished the night with 15 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists as he was all over the floor for the Wildcats.
Flirting with a triple-double wasn’t the exact plan for Sills on his senior night, but he did know he wanted to make an impact for his final home game.
“Just coming out, I just want to leave a legacy, you know me, my dog mentality, all on the floor,” Sills said. “If this is my last game at Bram I just want to give my all, I just appreciate the fans.”
Per usual Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell were also contributors on the offensive end. Johnson scored 16 points on the night and added five rebounds, while Markquis Nowell notched seventh double-double of the season as he scored 11 points to go along with 10 assists.
He may have played just one year at Kansas State, but Keyontae Johnson knows how important the fans at home were this season and how much they impacted him while on the court.
“They brought a different side to me, I never used to showboat during games so it was just fun,” Johnson said, “It feels like you’re playing back at home with your friends and just relieved the coaches tell you to go out there with freedom. Definitely going to miss it.”
Senior night can often be a chance for the walk-ons, who often get very little playing time, to have their own moment in the sun. Manhattan native Nate Awbrey certainly had his as he was able to get in the game in the final minute and even hit a pair of free throws.
The moment was made even more special for Awbrey as the students were chanting his name as the game neared its close, hoping that the senior walk-on would get an opportunity.
“Yeah, it was really cool. I mean, I just wanted to get the win tonight but obviously these guys did their job,” Awbrey said. “So we got in the position where I got to go in the game and so that was a really cool experience, something I’ll never forget.”
The win was a great way for K-State to finish off a home season in which they went 16-1, with the only loss coming by three points against Texas.
Head coach Jerome Tang knows how important it is to have a great home atmosphere, and is blown away with how quickly Bramlage has brought back that atmosphere.
“Before the game I just was looking around and just, what God has been able to do here and with the hard work of our staff and our players, you know, it’s just incredible man,” Tang said. “I kind of thought I knew what it would be like but it’s just surpassed anything that I would have imagined.”
Kansas State will head off to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers to finish off the regular season. That matchup will be on Saturday with a 1pm scheduled tip-off. The game can be seen on ESPN+ and heard on the air on 580AM WIBW.
Click below to hear from Jerome Tang and the Wildcats following K-State’s 85-69 win over Oklahoma.
For more reaction to the Kansas State Wildcats’ 85-69 win over the Oklahoma Sooners, tune into Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3:00 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-6:00 p.m. Thursday on 580 WIBW.