Keyontae Johnson (left) and Jalen Wilson hosted a show on Tuesday. (AP/Charlie Riedel)
Keyontae Johnson of Kansas State competed with Jalen Wilson on Tuesday. He then sealed the deal with an emphatic alley-oop in the closing seconds of the game to secure an 83-82 thriller in overtime against No. 2 Kansas.
The 13th-ranked Wildcats survived a career night from Wilson and sent the defending champion Jayhawks to their second loss of the season. Both teams exit the game 16-2 and 5-1 in Big 12 play.
Kansas State controlled the game early on en route to a 44-39 first-half lead, then ran a 9-2 run in the second half to regain control, 66-61. The rivals then traded shots on the stretch before two Wilson free throws ended the game and 72-72, ultimately forcing overtime. But Johnson had the last word.
The game stayed tight in the extra session before a Johnson alley-oop dunk by Markquis Nowell with 24 seconds left gave Kansas State the ultimate lead and sent Bramlage Coliseum into a frenzy.
The Wildcats executed the game-winning game in a half-court set after putting the ball in with 30.3 seconds after a timeout. The Jayhawks had no answer on the other end after the call timed out with 11.7 seconds remaining. Kansas State forced a turnover from Dajuan Harris Jr. for subsequent possession, prompting Kansas State’s undergraduate department to flood the ground.
Johnson had 24 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the win. Senior guard Desi Sills added 24 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals from Kansas State bench. The Wildcats overcame a career performance by All-Big 12 Kansas forward Wilson, who had a career-high 38 points as well as 9 rebounds in the loss while hitting multiple big shots on the stretch.
Johnson is thriving after life-threatening illness
The performance was the last major effort for Johnson, who switched from basketball this season from Florida after nearly two full seasons. Johnson collapsed during a 2020 Florida-Florida State game. He was given emergency treatment on the ground and taken off the field on a stretcher. He was hospitalized with a reported heart condition and placed in a medically induced coma. He recovered but was not expected to play basketball again before announcing he was planning a move last May. Now the former SEC preseason player of the year is enjoying a career resurgence after a life-threatening ordeal.
“It was amazing, it’s just a blessing from God,” Johnson told ESPN after the game while surrounded by Wildcats fans. “He gave me the opportunity to have a second chance in life. I will take it every time I come here.”
Johnson started Tuesday averaging 18.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He had 28 points and 9 rebounds in a win over No. 6 Texas on Jan. 3. Four days later, he had 24 points and 9 rebounds in a win over No. 19 Baylor. Now his Wildcats are tied with Kansas at the top of the big 12 rating. They announced themselves as legitimate Final Four contenders.