#5 Wildcats, Johnson roll past Florida in emotional day
MANHATTAN, Kan. (KWCH) - The Big 12-SEC challenge has brought all kinds of fun matchups throughout the years. This year included a battle of blue bloods in Kansas and Kentucky, a ranked matchup of the Longhorns vs. Volunteers and probably the largest upset of the season in Norman. But Saturday in Bramlage Colliseum, Kansas State vs. Florida meant a lot more than just a fun matchup.
Keyontae Johnson’s story has been arguably the biggest and best storyline nationwide. From potentially facing a life-ending injury after a collapse on the court while playing for Florida in 2020, to now finding a home in K-State’s “Octagon of Doom” and returning to prominence and then some.
Johnson said in his lone season with the now #5 Wildcats he has been embraced with open arms for his new opportunity at the game.
“It just shows how much respect K-State has for me. And the love [they have for me]: to know I came back to the game because I love the game of basketball.”
Saturday, Johnson got the chance to compete against his former team in an emotional day for both sides.
“It was special just seeing my old teammates,” Johnson said. “It was fun out there playing against them. I just felt like I was at practice joking around during the game, but still being competitive. I feel like it was a great experience”
In true Keyontae Johnson fashion, he found a way to finish with another double-double on the season (13 points, 11 rebounds) to help the ‘Cats stay undefeated in his new home.
“It was really cool,” said K-State head coach Jerome Tang. “I wanted to see him have a good game. I wanted him to get the win. I think our team wanted him to get the win. We knew it was important to him, even though he didn’t make a big deal out of it.”
Johnson and the Wildcats now have a big one ahead of them Tuesday as they travel to Allen Fieldhouse to attempt a season sweep over their in-state rival Jayhawks.
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