MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Desi Sills flirted with a triple-double in his Bramlage Coliseum farewell, Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell also had big senior send-offs, and No. 11 Kansas State University (K-State) held on to beat Oklahoma 85-69 on Wednesday night.
Sills finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while Johnson had 16 points, and Nowell added 11 points and 10 assists, helping the Wildcats (23-7, 11-6 Big 12) snap a three-game skid against the Sooners.
Nae’Qwan Tomlin also scored 19 points for K-State, which led by as many as 20 early in the second half before the Sooners (14-16, 4-13) made a late run to get within 75-65 with just under 2 minutes to go.
That’s when the Sooners’ Tanner Groves was ejected for clocking Sills with a flying elbow. The transfer from Arkansas State proceeded to make both of his foul shots, allowing the Wildcats to put the game away.
Milos Uzan had 20 points to lead the Sooners. Otega Oweh finished with 18.
Oklahoma spent most of the first half mired in foul trouble. Groves and Oweh took a seat with two apiece 5 minutes into the game, and K-State spent the last 15 minutes parading to the line in the bonus.
Yet it wasn’t until the closing stretch that the Wildcats established some breathing room.
The game was tied 25-all when Tomlin began a 9-0 run to carry K-State into the locker room. David N’Guessan added a bucket a couple of minutes later, Johnson drilled a 3-pointer off a nifty behind-the-back pass from Sills, and N’Guessan added a punctuating dunk off Nowell’s feed for a 34-25 advantage.
The Sooners couldn’t hang around in the second half.
After a bucket by Groves, the Wildcats ripped off seven straight points — dunks by Tomlin bookending Nowell’s 3-pointer. And after Nowell hit another 3 from well beyond the arc, the pint-sized guard saved a steal as he tumbled out of bounds, starting a fastbreak that ended with Sills’ reverse layup for a 48-31 lead with 16 minutes to go.
The lead stretched to 53-33 before Oklahoma began to mount its failed comeback bid.
Oklahoma is the only Big 12 team that must win next week’s conference tournament to earn an NCAA tourney berth, though three others are teetering on the brink. But the Sooners proved in wins over the Wildcats, Iowa State and No. 2 Alabama that they are capable, and they showed glimpses of it again Wednesday night.
K-State remains in the mix for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which would match the 2010 team for its best since seeding began in 1979. But the Wildcats likely have to beat West Virginia on Saturday and win a couple of Big 12 tourney games to make that happen.
The regular season wraps Saturday when Oklahoma plays No. 22 TCU, and K-State visits West Virginia.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.