Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell led a balanced scoring attack with 13 points apiece as No. 5 Kansas State defeated Florida 64-50 Saturday evening in their SEC/Big 12 Challenge game in Manhattan, Kan.
Johnson is in his first season at Kansas State after spending four playing for the Gators. His third season was cut short when he experienced a medical emergency with his heart on Dec. 12, 2020, during Florida’s game at Florida State. His health concerns sidelined him for the remainder of that season and all but one game the next season.
The Wildcats (18-3) also got 11 points from Nae’Qwan Tomlin and nine apiece from David N’Guessan and Cam Carter. Johnson had 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double, and Nowell finished with nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
Colin Castleton scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Florida (12-9), and Myreon Jones and Will Richard each tallied 11 points.
Florida, which had just six field goals and shot 20.7 percent in the first half, had five buckets before the first media timeout in the second half, cutting the deficit to 37-26 with a 10-0 run.
The Gators matched their first-half scoring total of 16 points at the 11:50 mark, but they never got within single digits in the second half. When Ismael Massoud hit a 3-pointer with 6:03 left in the game, the lead was back to 21, as it was at halftime.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 22-8 lead behind a 7-0 run with 8:11 left in the first half. They did it without a lot to that point from Nowell or Johnson. N’Guessan and Carter had seven apiece for the Wildcats. The lead stretched to 33-16 when Nowell hit a 3-pointer from well beyond NBA range.
Kansas State, which entered the game third in the Big 12 in scoring but near the bottom in scoring defense, then turned up the heat on the Gators. The Wildcats used an 11-0 run to take a 37-16 lead at the half.
The Wildcats were led by N’Guessan and Tomlin with nine points each. Nowell had eight to go with eight assists and six rebounds. Florida got nine from Jones, but nobody else scored more than three.
–Field Level Media