MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – K-State men’s basketball took a break from Big 12 play to host Florida in part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, where every Big 12 school matched up with an SEC school Saturday.
A big halftime lead helped the Wildcats keep the game out of reach for the Gators’ strong start to the second half, as K-State went on to win 64-50.
K-State started with a 1-0 lead from a Nae’Qwon Tomlin free throw and never turned back. The Wildcats started the game great on both ends of the floor – up 26-11 fifteen minutes into the first half.
Three minutes into the game, K-State forward Keyontae Johnson scored a layup to put the Wildcats up 9-3. Normally an insignificant bucket, the layup held weight as it was the first points Johnson scored against his former team.
The Wildcats’ defense held strong the rest of the first half, holding the Gators scoreless for the final five minutes. K-State sat pretty with a big 37-16 lead heading into the locker room.
Florida came out of the break firing on all cylinders – starting on a 10-0 run and cutting K-State’s lead to 11. Despite the scare, the two teams traded buckets for the next few minutes.
The Wildcats followed with a 16-6 run to push the lead back over 20 points with less than four minutes to play. From there, K-State took care of business, finishing with a win and final score of 64-50.
Johnson led K-State in his reunion against Florida with a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double. Markquis Nowell also put up an impressive stat line with 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Tomlin added 11 points.
The K-State win puts the Wildcats back in the win column after a road loss to No. 12 Iowa State. K-State now sits at 18-3, 6-2 in Big 12 play.
The Wildcats get back to Big 12 games starting Tuesday, with a Sunflower Showdown rematch at No. 9 Kansas. In the first meeting, K-State beat its in-state rival 83-82 in overtime.