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BREAKING NEWS

Defense Carries K-State Past Oklahoma, 61-53

KSU Athletics ReleaseJanuary 30, 2020

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State forced Oklahoma into a season-tying 19 turnovers, which included 12 steals, as the Wildcats snapped a 2-game losing streak with a 61-53 win over the Sooners on Wednesday night before 8,472 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State (9-11, 2-5 Big 12) converted those 19 turnovers into 18 points, as the Wildcats won their eighth consecutive game against Oklahoma (13-7, 3-4 Big 12) in Bramlage Coliseum. The Sooners entered the game ranked tops in the Big 12 and No. 4 in the NCAA in fewest turnovers per game (10.2).

It marked an overall stellar defensive night for K-State, which held Oklahoma to just 35.3 percent shooting (18-of-51), including 19 percent (4-of-21) from 3-point range. The team has now held an opponent to 60 points or less in 95 games under head coach Bruce Weber with the Wildcats boasting an 86-9 mark in those contests. Seven of the 9 wins this season have come when the opponent has been held to 60 points or less.

K-State got 28 points from its bench, as junior Mike McGuirl led all scorers with a game-high 16 points, including 11 in the second half, while fellow junior Cartier Diarra added 10 points. McGuirl, who led the Wildcats in scoring for the first time in his career, connected on 4-of-5 field goals, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, to go along with a 5-of-7 effort from the free throw line. Senior Xavier Sneed chipped in 12 points to go with his game-high 4 steals.

The defensive intensity started for the onset, as Oklahoma missed its first 7 field goal attempts to go with 3 turnovers before a dunk by junior Kur Kuath gave the Sooners their first successful make at the 11:21 mark. By that time, K-State had built a double-digit that the Wildcats nearly carried the entire first half before a 5-0 OU run cut the deficit to 28-22 at the half.

K-State opened the second half with 9 consecutive points to push the lead back into double figures at 37-22, as Oklahoma once again missed its first 7 field goal attempts to start the half before a jumper by junior Alondes Williams at the 14:26 mark. The lead stayed in double figures until the last minute when poor free throw shooting by the Wildcats and two 3-pointers drew the Sooners to within 57-53 with 10 seconds left. However, McGuirl ended any further comeback with 4 consecutive free throws to end the game.

The Sooner scoring trio of senior Kristian Doolittle (6) and juniors Brady Manek (5) and Austin Reaves (12), who entered tonight’s game averaging more than 45 points per game, were held to just 23 points on 6-of-24 shooting. Williams scored a team-high 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench.

HOW IT HAPPENED

It was K-State which jumped out to the early lead, as the Wildcats scored the game’s first 6 points, including consecutive jumpers by senior Xavier Sneed. After a pair of free throws by senior Kristian Doolittle just after the first media timeout, the Wildcats rattled off 6 more points to take a 14-4 lead at the 11:48 mark.

The defense put the clamps on the Sooners’ offense early, forcing them into 7 consecutive missed field goals to start the game before junior Kur Kuath’s dunk on a put back at the 11:21 mark. The Kuath dunk was the first of back-to-back baskets to close the gap to 14-8 near the midway point of the first half.

K-State responded with a 5-0 spurt, which was started by a 3-pointer from junior Mike McGuirl, to push the advantage to 19-8 and force Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger to call his first timeout at the 8:21 mark.

The teams traded points over the next few minutes before two free throws by freshman DaJuan Gordon and a layup by junior David Sloan extended the lead to 25-12 with 6:13 to play before halftime. It was at this point that the Sooners went to work, ending the half on a 10-3 run capped by a Doolittle jumper to close to within 28-22.

K-State connected on 36.4 percent (12-of-33) from the field in the first half, including 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from 3-point range, while Oklahoma hit on 31.6 percent (6-of-19), including 12.5 percent (1-of-8) from long range. However, the Sooners took advantage of the free throw line, knocking down 9 of 10 attempts.

Sneed and junior Cartier Diarra led all scorers with 6 points each in the first half, while junior Austin Reaves paced Oklahoma with 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

A pair of layups by senior Makol Mawien ignited a 9-0 run by K-State to start the second half, as the Wildcats took a 37-22 lead at the 15:20 mark after a 3-pointer by freshman Montavious Murphy.

The teams traded baskets in a stretch where neither had much offensive rhythm, as a Gordon layup gave K-State a 44-31 advantage at the 7:18 mark as head coach Bruce Weber called a timeout at the 7:18 mark.

After a layup by junior Alondes Williams, the Wildcats got a big 3-pointer from Sneed at the shot clock buzzer followed by a Sloan layup to extend the lead to 49-33 with 6:08 to play. However, the Sooners answered with a 5-0 run of their own, including a 3-pointer from Reaves, but McGuirl responded with a long 3-pointer at the top of the key to push the lead back out to 52-38 with 3:46 remaining.

K-State led 55-40 after a Diarra jumper with 2:30 to play, but the Wildcats inability to connect from the free throw line allowed Oklahoma to get back into single digits at 56-48 on a 3-pointer from Reaves from 46 seconds left. The lead was just 57-53 after another triple from freshman Victor Iwuakor with 10 seconds to play, but McGuirl was able to seal it from the line with 4 consecutive makes to end the game.

Both teams shot nearly identical in the second half with K-State connecting on 37.9 percent (11-of-29), including 40 percent (4-of-10) from 3-point range, while Oklahoma hit on 37.5 percent (12-of-32), including 23.1 percent (3-of-13) from long range. Williams led all scorers in the second half with 13 of his team-high 15 points for the Sooners, while McGuirl scored 11 of his game-high 16 after halftime.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Junior guard Mike McGuirl scored a game-high 16 points off the bench on 4-of-5 field goals, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, to go with a 5-of-7 effort from the free throw line.  It marked the first time in his K-State career that he led the team in scoring, while it was his sixth double-digit scoring of his career.

STAT OF THE GAME

95 – K-State has now held an opponent to 60 points or less in 95 games under head coach Bruce Weber with the Wildcats boasting an 86-9 mark in those contests. Seven of the 9 wins this season have been when the opponent has been held to 60 points or less.

Copyright © Rocking M Media, 2020. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Rocking M Media’s express consent.

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