Keyontae Johnson alley-oop drives Kansas State behind Kansas No. 2 Jalen Wilson in OT thriller

Keyontae Johnson alley-oop drives Kansas State behind Kansas No. 2 Jalen Wilson in OT thriller

Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson, left, tries to steal the ball from Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, January 17, 2023 in Manhattan, Kansas (AP Photo/Charlie reed )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.