Wildcats freshman Nigel Johnson breaks out for 17 points

03/13/2014 6:34 PM

03/13/2014 6:34 PM

First half

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Key play:

DeAndre Kane lost a turnover near midcourt and Marcus Foster hit a three at the buzzer that pulled K-State within 44-41.

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Key stat:

Iowa State made six three-pointers.

Second half

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Key play:

Shane Southwell lost control on a fastbreak with 24 seconds remaining and Iowa State closed things out by scoring four straight.

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Key stat:

Iowa State made 60.7 percent of its shots.

Johnson strong in loss

K-State freshman point guard Nigel Johnson scored a season-high 17 points on nine shots, coming off the bench to fill the scoring void left by Marcus Foster, who was on the bench most of the second half with foul trouble.

His big day was a surprise. He was averaging 3.8 points and hadn’t scored in his past two games.

“The coaches have been pulling me aside all week and asking me why I haven’t been shooting the ball,” Johnson said. “I have been passing up a lot of shots. They told me to be aggressive. Somebody was going to have to score today, so I just came out and took open shots.”

Johnson has shown the ability to score at times this season, hitting Charlotte with 14 points and Oklahoma with 11 points. But this was his finest game.

“Nigel is a very talented player,” Shane Southwell said. “People don’t like to give us credit, but we have really talented pieces on our team. We might not have the biggest names, but we have a lot of talent. Nigel is very talented. He just sometimes makes freshmen mistakes. Today was his game.”

Foster regrets fouls

Foster appeared on his way to a big game in the first half, scoring 16 points on eight shots. But he picked up his third foul early in the second half and went to the bench. When Bruce Weber got him back in, Foster immediately committed his fourth foul and went back to the bench.

“It was just frustration,” Foster said. “I was sitting on the bench itching to get back in the game. Then I come in and get a fourth foul so quick. It made me so mad.”

Sprint Center return

K-State is hoping to return to the Sprint Center for regular-season games in each of the next two seasons. The Wildcats are trying to schedule a nonconference game for next season, then in 2015-16 are scheduled to join three yet-to-be-determined teams in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

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