Nothing in this season’s recap indicated that Kansas State was poised for a record-breaking performance.
The Wildcats arrived in Austin, finishing in the middle of the Big 12 in several offensive categories, including second-to-last in three-point shooting.
Then came Tuesday evening.
Senior Markkis Nowell scored a season-high 36 points as Kansas State eliminated No. 6 Texas 116–103 at the Moody Center as the Longhorns passed several defense futility benchmarks.
An announced sold-out crowd of 10,763 saw the Wildcats (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) win their seventh game in a row and snap the Longhorns’ winning streak of six.
Kansas State’s 116 points set a school record. Senior Keyonte Johnson completed Nowell with 28 points, matching his own career high, while Cam Carter completed 17 points. The 5-foot-8 Nowell finished with nine assists, one short of his third double-double in a row.
“I think people who complain about college basketball scores should have seen a whole bunch of scores tonight,” said Kansas State freshman coach Jerome Tang, a longtime Baylor aide. “For those of us who consider ourselves defensive coaches, it was a headache, but it was a lot of fun to be a part of it.”
Gold: Expect Texas decision on Chris Beard to be later, not sooner
Kansas State made 13 of 24 three-point attempts, doubling their season average. Nowell made six of them when he wasn’t setting up teammates with sharp shots or getting to the free throw line, where he went 12 of 12. Kansas State scored 31 of 33 points and Texas scored 22 of 26.
The Wildcats took advantage of Texas’ pass-failing strategy by hitting the basket from the back door.
“We’re a really dangerous team when we go down,” Nowell said.
Sophomore Tyrese Hunter led Texas (12-2, 1-1) with a career-best 29 points, with Marcus Carr scoring 27 and Jabari Rice leading a 16-point deficit to seven.
Not that it mattered. Texas just couldn’t stop the state of Kansas.
“I thought we were faster in several positions than they were entering,” Tan said.
The 116 points scored by the Wildcats is the most points Texas has allowed in a Big 12 game and the most points total since a 128–125 Southwest Conference loss at Texas Tech on February 20, 1994.
“Our defense is under development,” said interim coach Rodney Terry, who has been coaching his sixth game since head coach Chris Beard was arrested and suspended on Dec. 12. “We have to take on a little more responsibility in trying to get better. ”
Gold: Texas men’s basketball is in the hands of the stable Rodney Terry.
Under the leadership of Terry, the Longhorns showed better results in attack than in defense. Earlier this season, Texas ranked #1 or near #1 in kenpom.com’s defensive performance rankings. On Tuesday night, they dropped from 13th to 38th in the ever-changing rankings.
“We can score,” Terry said. “We have a few guys who can score. We just have to keep trying to invest and understand that defense will travel and defense will help us win games and that’s where we really need to get better.”
Notes: Longhorns forward Christian Bishop missed the second half with a back injury. Terry said they hope to get him back to play in Oklahoma State on Saturday. … According to ESPN Stats & Info, Kansas State’s 116 points is the most points scored by an unranked team in a road win over an AP top 10 team in the poll era (since 1948–49).