Feb 18, 2023; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats guard Keyontae Johnson (11) dribbles past Iowa State Cyclones forward Aljaž Kunč (5) during the first half at Bramlage Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa State’s 61-55 loss to Kansas State on Saturday in Manhattan came down to a battle of the stars.
Kansas State’s stars thrived in the national television spotlight. Iowa State’s did not.
Markquis Nowell scored a game-high 20 points, knocking down four 3-pointers along with going 8-of-8 from the free throw line, with six rebounds, five assists and four turnovers in 37 minutes.
Keyontae Johnson added 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and six rebounds.
Meanwhile, Gabe Kalscheur and Jaren Holmes combined to go 6-of-30 from the field for Iowa State, including a 5-of-19 effort from 3-point range. The duo also combined for seven fouls and six turnovers.
Iowa State honestly had a great chance to win this game, which is as much as you can really ask for going on the road in the Big 12. That was especially astounding when you consider the Cyclones shot 31 percent from the field, 19 percent from 3-point range and were 12-of-17 from the free throw line.
Kansas State shot 38 percent from the field, 33 percent from 3-point range and 18-of-22 from the free throw line.
The Cyclones, who played with senior guard Caleb Grill, were led by senior forward Aljaz Kunc for the second straight game. He scored a team-high 15 points on 4-of-10 from the field, 2-of-7 from 3-point range and 5-of-6 from the free throw line with five rebounds.
Iowa State led 31-23 at the half then was outscored 38-24 after halftime as turnovers and misfires from deep mounted.
The Cyclones will be back in action on Tuesday when they visit Austin for an 8 p.m. tip against Texas.