K-State reflects on Elite Eight, looks back on historic season

Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 12:00 PM CDT
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NEW YORK, NY. (WIBW) - Kansas State’s historic season under first year head coach Jerome Tang came to a close at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, falling to FAU in the Elite Eight 79-76.

After the game, the message was clear across the locker room. These guys have nothing to hang their heads about.

“We were picked to finish last in the Big 12, and made a historic run in March. I couldn’t be more grateful and thankful,” said Markquis Nowell.

For the third straight game, the Wildcats found themselves in a back and forth affair, but the rebounding was a problem. FAU outrebounded them 44-22.

“FAU did a good job of just rebounding. They came out the toughest team,” said Keyontae Johnson. “Coach told us rebounding was gonna be the biggest spot of the game. He said if we lose today it’s gonna be because of rebounding, and it showed.”

The All-American forward only played 18 minutes after getting into foul trouble very early on, and fouling out with under 3:00 to go.

“I just tried to play aggressive as much as I could. Tried to match their intensity, but it backfired on me,” Johnson said.

“Our All-American played 18 minutes,” said Coach Tang. “They did a really good job playing defense on him.”

This one came down to the final six seconds. Down by three, K-State needed a game tier, but couldn’t get a shot off before the final buzzer.”

“We were just trying to get the ball up the court, we didn’t have any more time outs. And I was just trying to space, and Markquis said be ready to shoot. When I got the ball I felt like I didn’t really have a shot, so I tried to create room, and I didn’t really know where I was. But I probably should’ve just tried to get a shot up so. It’s something I’m gonna have to live with,” said Ismael Massoud about the final seconds.

From a preseason last place prediction, to 3-seed and Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, this team took pride in their crazy faith all year.

“I just think about all the times that we had, all the good memories that we had throughout the season. But God’s plan is not our plan,” said Nowell.

K-State ends their historic campaign at 26-10, and with lots of hope for what’s to come with Jerome Tang in the future.