MANHATTAN, Kan. – Despite sensation efforts from fifth-year seniors Mark Smith and Mike McGuirl who combined for 43 points in their final games at Bramlage Coliseum, Oklahoma got its own special performance from senior Umoja Gibson who led all scorers with 29 points as the Sooners completed a sweep of the season series for the first time since 2012 with a 78-71 victory on Saturday afternoon before 6,635 fans.
With the loss, K-State (14-16, 6-12 Big 12) dropped its season-high fifth straight game to fall to the No. 8 seed at next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship where the Wildcats will meet No. 9 seed West Virginia (15-16, 4-14 Big 12) in the opening round game on Wednesday at 6 p.m., CT.
The efforts by Smith and McGuirl were particularly special, as they kept K-State in the contest despite
being without its second-leading scorer Markquis Nowell, who missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury, and its leading scorer Nijel Pack being hampered by a stomach bug and foul trouble.
Smith scored 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, to go with a game-high 9 rebounds and 3 assists while playing all but 38 seconds, while McGuirl added 21 points on 8-of-16 field goals to go with game-highs in both assists (5) and steals (3) and 4 rebounds in nearly 39 minutes.
As Smith and McGuirl combined for their 43 points on 17-of-33 field goals to go with 13 rebounds and 8 assists, the rest of the Wildcats managed just 28 points on 11-of-26 shooting with 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Sophomore Ish Massoud and Pack joined the seniors in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Pack kept his streak of consecutive double-digit scoring games at alive at 21 games, which is the longest by a Wildcat since Jacob Pullen did it in 41 straight games from Nov. 13, 2019, until Nov. 22, 2010.
Oklahoma (17-14, 7-11 Big 12) broke its 9-game losing streak at Bramlage Coliseum, as Gibson was one shy of season-high with a game-high 29 points on 9-of-14 field goals, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range. He was joined in double figures by fellow senior Tanner Groves, who had 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-4 from long range. Another senior Marvin Johnson was big off the bench with 8 points and 7 rebounds.
Oklahoma got off to a fast start, knocking down 4 of 6 from 3-point range, including 3 by senior Umoja Gibson, to take a 12-5 advantage into the first media timeout at the 15:24 mark. K-State slowly chipped away at the deficit, using a 13-5 run capped by a 3-point play by fifth-year senior Mike McGuirl that gave the Wildcats their first lead at 20-19 with 10:31 before halftime. Five different players scored in the stretch.
The Sooners responded with 6 straight points to take a 25-20 lead and force head coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout at the 8:26 mark. Out of the timeout, McGuirl ignited a 7-0 run by the Wildcats with a 3-pointer that briefly gave them a 27-25 lead. After a 3-pointer by senior Tanner Groves that once again flipped the lead, K-State used a 7-2 run to earn its largest lead at 34-30 with 4:15 remaining.
Oklahoma followed the K-State run with 8 straight point to take a 38-34 advantage with just under 2 minutes before halftime. The Wildcats got a 3-pointer from senior Mark Smith to close to within 38-37 with 1:01 remaining but they could get no closer as the Sooners took that same lead into the halftime break.
The teams battled back and forth in early moments of the second half before a 9-2 run by Oklahoma extended the lead to 54-49 at the 11:04 mark. Every attempt by K-State to get back in the game seemed to be answered as Smith and McGuirl each had big baskets to close the gap to one possession over the next few minutes.
A 3-pointer by reserve Ethan Chargois right before the next to last media timeout became a big moment that gave the Sooners a 62-56 lead with 6:35 remaining. Another 3-pointer by Gibson a little over 2 minutes later made it double digits at 70-59 with 4:27 to play. The Wildcats were able to close to within 73-67 on a 3-pointer by sophomore Nijel Pack with 2:20 left, but they could get no closer in the 78-71 loss.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Fifth-year senior Mark Smith posted his 10th career 20-point game, including his fifth at K-State, as he led all Wildcats with 22 points on 9-of-17 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, to go with a game-high 9 rebounds and 3 assists in more than 39 minutes.
Fifth-year senior Mike McGuirl played perhaps his best game in his final game at Bramlage Coliseum, scoring 21 points on 8-of-16 field goals and 4-of-5 free throws to go with a game-high 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 39 minutes. It was his third career 20-point game and the first of the season.
STAT OF THE GAME
52.8/60.7 – Oklahoma connected on 52.8 percent (28-of-53) from the field, including 60.7 percent (17-of-28) from inside the 3-point arc. The 78 points tied for the most allowed at Bramlage Coliseum this season.
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“For one, I applaud those two guys (Mark Smith and Mike McGuirl). Without Markquis (Nowell) and without Nijel (Pack) really being in the game, not only did he have foul trouble, but he also had a stomach virus. Those two wanted to win, and they gave it their all. Obviously, a great stat line for both. Still, they talked about it, our defense. I showed our guys our last five games last night. The stats in the league, we’re one of the worst if not the worst in almost every category. I’m not sure where it slipped, it just has, and tonight was our defense that bad or was it (Umoja) Gibson stepping up and making the shots and making the plays. It just never seemed like we could get control of the game. It didn’t go right for us, and it’s just hard to explain. The start of the second half, it was 14-2 rebound advantage on their end, but the crazy stat was the second-chance points were only 12-8, but it seemed like it was always a dagger to me, where they got that rebound at key times and never let us get the momentum. Without Markquis and without Nijel, your kind of out of rhythm with offense trying to figure stuff out. Oklahoma just made the right plays at the right time. Then we didn’t. Somebody said we were the unluckiest team in the country, and it has been like that all year. We’ve got good kids. They care. They want to win. They’re coachable, but we just don’t do the little things that make a difference.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State dropped just its fifth straight game to fall to 14-16 overall and 6-12 in Big 12 play.
- K-State will be the No. 8 seed at next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will play No. 9 seed West Virginia in the first round on Wednesday at 6 p.m., CT.
- Oklahoma now leads the all-time series, 112-103, including 20-18 in the Big 12 era… The Sooners sweep the season series for the first time since 2012.
- K-State has played 14 games decided by 7 points or less… Six of the Wildcats’ 12 Big 12 losses have been by one possession… The team has led or been tied in the second half in 8 of the 12 conference losses.
- Oklahoma’s 78 points tied for the most allowed by an opponent at Bramlage Coliseum… It marked the fifth time this season that the Wildcats have allowed an opponent shoot 50 percent or better.
- K-State fell to 1-13 this season when allowing an opponent to score 70 or more points… In contrast the team is 13-3 when holding its opponent below 70 points.
- K-State was out-rebounded 37-22, including 9 offensive rebounds by Oklahoma that resulted in a 12-8 edge in second-chance points… The Wildcats are now 3-13 when being out-rebounded.
- K-State had just 7 turnovers, which marked the ninth time with single digit turnovers this season and fifth time in Big 12 play… The Wildcats’ 341 turnovers this season are on track to be fewest since the stat began to be kept in 1982-83.
- Oklahoma got 15 points from its bench on 6-of-10 field goals compared to just 5 points for K-State.
- K-State is now 4-12 on the season when trailing at the half.
- K-State had just 7 players compete in the game, tying for the fewest this season.
- K-State had 4 players score in double figures for the ninth time this season.
- Fifth-year senior Mark Smith scored 22 points on 9-of-17 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and 2-of-4 free throws to go with a game-high 9 rebounds and 3 assists in more than 39 minutes… It was his 10th career 20-point game, including his fifth at K-State… He has now led the team in rebounding in 22 of 30 games… He has now scored in double figures in 62 career games, including 22 this season.
- Smith’s 256 rebounds this season are the most since Michael Beasley’s 408 in 2007-08.
- Fifth-year senior Mike McGuirl scored 21 points on 8-of-16 field goals, including 1-of-4 from 3-point range, and 4-of-5 free throws to go with game-highs in both assists (5) and steals (3) in nearly 39 minutes… It was his third career 20-point game, including his first this season… He has now scored in double figures in 39 career games, including 9 times this season.
- Sophomore Ish Massoud scored 11 points on 4-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 33 minutes… It marked his 21st double-digit scoring game, including his 10th this season.
- Sophomore Nijel Pack kept his streak of consecutive games in double figures at 21 with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, despite battling the stomach flu and foul trouble… He has double figures in 43 of 52 career games, including 27 of 28 this season.
- Pack has now hit a 3-pointer in 33 consecutive games dating back to last season, which extends his own school record that he broke at home vs. Baylor on Feb. 9, 2022, and was originally set by Steve Henson (25) between Jan. 5, 1989 and Dec. 2, 1989.
- Pack currently ranks fourth on the school’s single-season Top 10 list for 3-point field goals with 92… It is the most 3-pointers in a single season since the 2009-10 season when Jacob Pullen tied the school record with 110… He has already broken the sophomore record for 3-pointers (92).
- K-State used a starting lineup of sophomore Nijel Pack, fifth-year senior Mike McGuirl, sophomore Selton Miguel, fifth-year senior Mark Smith and sophomore Ish Massoud… This marked the second time using this lineup and the 11th different lineup this season… Smith is the only Wildcat to start all 30 games.
- Junior Markquis Nowell missed his second straight game due to injury (hamstring).
- McGuirl is now tied for ninth on the school’s Top 10 list for career games played with his 131st appearance, tying Thomas Gipson (2011-15).
K-State will be the No. 8 seed at next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will play No. 9 seed West Virginia (15-16, 4-14 Big 12) on Wednesday night at 6 p.m., in the opening round game.