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K-State Travels to West Virginia Saturday

K-State Athletics ReleaseJanuary 7, 2022

GAME 14

KANSAS STATE (8-5, 0-2 Big 12) at rv/rv WEST VIRGINIA (11-2, 0-1 Big 12)

Saturday, January 8, 2022 >> 1:01 p.m. CT >> WVU Coliseum (14,000) >> Morgantown, W.Va.

TELEVISION

Big 12 Now on ESPN+ / ESPN App (Link)

  • Ted Emrich (play-by-play)
  • Bryndon Manzer (analyst)
  • Eric Lilly (producer)

RADIO

K-State Sports Network

Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580

Satellite Radio: XM 390

Online: Varsity Network [free] / SXM 980 / www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]

  • Brian Smoller (play-by-play)
  • Casey Scott (analyst)

LIVE STATS

www.kstatesports.com

wvu.statbroadcast.com

 

TICKETS

www.wvusports.com

(800) 988.4263

Single Game: $30, $35

 

COACHES

Kansas State: Bruce Weber [Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78]

Record at K-State: 178-135/10th Year

Career Record: 491-290/24th Year

  1. West Virginia: 7-12 [2-7 on the road]

West Virginia: Bob Huggins [West Virginia ‘77]

Record at WVU: 321-173/15th Year

Career Record: 911-384/40th Year

  1. K-State: 13-7 [7-2 at home]

SERIES HISTORY

Overall: West Virginia leads 13-8

Current Streak: West Virginia, 3

In Morgantown: West Virginia leads 7-3

At WVU Coliseum: West Virginia leads 7-2

Last Meeting: L, 65-43 [2/27/21 in Morgantown, W.Va.]

Weber vs. Huggins: 9-12 [2-7 on the road]

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Kansas State (8-5, 0-2 Big 12)

G: #3 Selton Miguel

G: #13 Mark Smith

G: #24 Nijel Pack

F: #25 Ismael [Ish] Massoud

F: #12 Carlton Linguard, Jr.

West Virginia (11-2, 0-1 Big 12)

G: #1 Kedrian Johnson

G #22 Sean McNeil

F: #1 Pauly Paulicap

F: #11 Jalen Bridges

F: #13 Isaiah Cottrell

 

K-STATE CONTINUES BIG 12 PLAY AT WEST VIRGINIA SATURDAY

  • Kansas State (8-5, 0-2 Big 12) continues Big 12 play this weekend, as the Wildcats travel to Morgantown, W.Va., to take on former head coach Bob Huggins and his West Virginia Mountaineers (11-2, 0-1 Big 12) on Saturday at 1 p.m., CT on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. The Mountaineers have won the last 3 in the series, including the last 2 at home.
  • K-State played with just 8 available players (7 scholarship) in Tuesday’s 70-57 loss to No. 14/16 Texas in the Big 12 home opener, as assistant coach Shane Southwell assumed head coaching responsibilities with head coach Bruce Weber and 7 players out due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. It is uncertain when they will return to the court.
  • K-State is off to an 0-2 start in Big 12 play for the third time in 4 seasons and the first time since 2019-20. The last time the Wildcats started 0-2 and met the Mountaineers, the team posted the largest comeback in school history (2019).

OPENING TIP

  • As K-State approaches its second road game in Big 12, the Wildcats have been solid in true road venues so far this season. The squad opened the year with road victories at Wichita State (65-59) and Nebraska (67-58) before dropping its Big 12 opener at Oklahoma (71-69) on New Year’s Day. The victories over the Shockers and Cornhuskers marked the first time since 2017-18 that the Wildcats have won their first 2 road games and equaled their road win total from 2020-21.
  • Before losing to No. 14/16 Texas by 13 points on Tuesday night, the Wildcats’ previous 4 losses to No. 13/12 Arkansas (64-72), No. 14/15 Illinois (64-72), Marquette (63-64) and at Oklahoma (69-71) had come by a combined 18 points. The team’s 8 wins have come by an average of 17.9 points per game.
  • K-State played short-handed on Tuesday night with just 8 available players, but still managed to compete against one of the nation’s most talented teams, leading for more than 22 minutes before eventually falling in the second half, 70-57 to No. 14/16 Texas. The Wildcats scored the game’s first 7 points, led by as many as 9 and held a 35-29 lead at the half after connecting on 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field, including 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from 3-point range.
  • However, it was a different story in the second half, as the nation’s top-ranked defense (51.9 ppg.) put the clamps on K-State’s offense, holding the Wildcats to a season-low 22 points after halftime on 22.2 percent (6-of-27) shooting.
  • Texas used an 18-2 run to open the second half to flip a 6-point halftime deficit into a double-digit lead (47-37) with just over 12 minutes to play. Four times K-State closed to within 6 points, including 63-57 with 2:42 to play, but the stingy defense did not allow the Wildcats another point the rest of the way while scoring the final 7 points. K-State lost for the first time when leading at the half.
  • Sophomore Nijel Pack led all scorers with his fourth career 20-point effort, as he scored a season-high 21 points on 6-of-12 field goals, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and a perfect 6-of-6 effort from the free throw line to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He has now scored 15 or more points in 9 of his 11 games played this season. Pack was joined in double figures by Miguel, who nearly posted a double-double with 13 points and a team-high 8 rebounds.
  • Despite an off-night shooting the ball in the loss to No. 14/16 Texas, fifth-year senior Mark Smith continues to impress, averaging a near double-double with 10.3 points and a Big 12-best 8.5 rebounds per game. He was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Monday after becoming the first Wildcat to ever post a game of at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists at Oklahoma.
  • Smith, along with fellow transfers, junior Markquis Nowell and sophomore Ish Massoud, have played a major role in the Wildcats’ improved play. The trio is averaging 29.4 points, 15.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game, including 33.2 points, 18.4 rebounds and 9.4 assists in 5 games starting together.
  • K-State continue to excel on defense, where the team ranks in the top-40 in 3 categories, including eighth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.1), 34th in field goal percentage defense (39.0) and 36th in scoring defense (61.2).

NOTES ON WEST VIRGINIA

  • West Virginia (11-2, 0-0 Big 12) have not played since a New Year’s Day 74-59 loss to Texas, in which, the Mountaineers played short-handed due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The loss snapped an 8-game winning streak, in which, they posted notable wins over Clemson (66-59), UConn (56-53) and at UAB (65-59). The Mountainers are a perfect 8-0 at home this season, winning those 8 games by an average of 13.3 points per game.
  • The Mountaineers are averaging 69.5 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting, including 32.5 percent from 3-point range, while allowing opponents to average 60.9 points on 42.1 percent shooting, including 29.5 percent from long range. The team ranks among the best a number of categories, including 15th in turnover margin (+5.5) and 18th in turnovers forced (17.92). They are also among the leaders in blocked shots at 5.5 per game.
  • West Virginia is led by fifth-year senior guard Taz Sherman, who leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.9 points per game. He is connecting on 44.2 percent from the field, including 35.4 percent from 3-point range, while he is the team leader in assists (2.8 apg.) and is second in steals (1.6 spg.). Fellow senior Sean McNeil also averages double figures at 13.8 points per game, connecting 44.2 percent from the field, including 39 percent from long range. Sophomore Jalen Bridges paces the team in rebounding at 5.2 per game, while averaging 8.1 points on 48.8 percent shooting. Four players have double-digit blocks led by senior Dimon Carrigan, who has a team-leading 16 blocked shots.
  • West Virginia returned 8 lettermen, including 2 starters, from a team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 19-10 overall record, including a tie for third place in the Big 12 with an 11-7 mark.
  • West Virginia is led by Hall of Fame head coach Bob Huggins, who has posted a 911-384 (.704) record in 40 years of coaching. His 911 victories rank fourth among all active Division I head coaches and sixth all-time. He has a 321-173 (.648) mark in his 15th season with the Mountaineers.
  • Huggins spent one season as head coach at K-State, guiding the Wildcats to a 23-12 overall record, including a fourth-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6. He helped the team to the Postseason NIT, where they went 1-1.

SERIES HISTORY

  • K-State and West Virginia will meet for the 22nd time in their histories on Saturday with the Mountaineers owning a 13-8 advantage, including an 12-7 mark since the start of the Big 12.
  • West Virginia has won 12 of the last 16 meetings with K-State, as the Mountaineers swept the season series in 2020-21, as they took advantage of a season-high 28 turnovers by the Wildcats to post a 69-47 in Manhattan on Jan. 23 before they used a strong start to the second half to blow open a tight game at home on Feb. 27 en route to a 65-43 victory.
  • West Virginia leads the series at home, 7-3, which includes consecutive wins in 2020 (66-57) and 2021 (65-43). The Wildcats’ last win at the WVU Coliseum came on Feb. 18, 2019, in a 65-51 victory. The team has just that one win in their last 7 visits to Morgantown.
  • Head coach Bruce Weber is 7-12 all-time against West Virginia, including a 2-7 mark on the road, while Weber is 9-12 vs. head coach Bob Huggins. Huggins is 13-7 all-time against K-State, including 7-2 mark at home.

 

LAST TIME OUT:

14/16 TEXAS 70, K-STATE 57

  • A short-handed Kansas State fought one of the nation’s top-ranked teams down to the end, but No. 14/16 Texas exerted its control with a big 18-2 run to start the second half en route to a 70-57 win in the Wildcats’ Big 12 home opener before 6,833 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday.
  • Down head coach Bruce Weber and 7 players due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the pesky Wildcats with their 8 players, including 7 on scholarship, looked primed to spark the upset, scoring the game’s first 7 points and leading 35-29 at the half after connecting on 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field, including 44.4 percent (4-of-9) from 3-point range.
  • However, it was a different story in the second half, as the nation’s top-ranked defense (51.9 ppg.) held the Wildcats to just 22 points on 22.2 percent (6-of-27) shooting, including 0-of-9 from 3-point range, while the Longhorn offense scored the first 8 points out of halftime en route to an 18-2 run that built a double-digit lead (47-37) with just over 12 minutes to play.
  • K-State got to within 6 points on 4 occasions down the stretch, including 63-57 after a layup by sophomore Selton Miguel with 2:42 to play. However, the stingy defense wouldn’t allow any further rally as Texas scored the game’s final 7 points en route to the double-digit victory.
  • It marked the first time this season that the Wildcats lost when leading at the half (8-1).
  • Sophomore Nijel Pack collected his fourth career 20-point game with a game-high 21 points, including 15 in the opening half where the Wildcats built as much as a 9-point lead. He finished 6-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line to go with 5 rebounds and a team-high 3 assists.
  • Miguel added a near double-double with 13 points on 6-of-13 field goals and a game-high 8 rebounds, while fellow sophomore Ish Massoud chipped in 9 points. Fifth-year senior Mark Smith finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals before fouling out late in the second half.
  • K-State had 8 available players (Miguel, Pack, Massoud, Smith, senior Mike McGuirl, junior Carlton Linguard, Jr., sophomore Luke Kasubke and senior walk-on Drew Honas), including 7 scholarship players, for Tuesday’s game.

LEADING WITH DEFENSE

  • K-State has developed a strong reputation as defensive team under head coach Bruce Weber, ranking among the top-60 nationally in opponent points per game 6 times in the 9 seasons.
  • The Wildcats ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense (59.6 ppg.) during its Big 12 Championship season in 2018-19, while they placed 36th (60.4 ppg.) in 2012-13 and 46th (67.0 ppg.) in 2017-18.
  • K-State has held 217 opponents (out of 313 total) under 70 points during Bruce Weber’s tenure, including a program-best 31 in 2012-13. The Wildcats have also held 109 opponents under 60 points in that span, while 29 have scored less than 50 points in his tenure.
  • In addition to its scoring defense, K-State has ranked among the top-40 in opponent 3-point field goal percentage 3 times (2013-14, 2015-16 and 2018-19) and among the top-50 in steals on 5 occasions (every season from 2015-16 to 2019-20) in the Bruce Weber era. Twice (2016-17 and 2019-20) the school has ranked the top-45 in opponent turnovers.
  • The Wildcats have held opponents to under 40 percent shooting in 106 games in the Bruce Weber era, including under 35 percent in 51 games.
  • K-State struggled mightily across the board during the 2020-21 season, but no more than on defensive end, allowing 80 or more points 7 times in the first 21 games, including allowing 100 or more points in both regular-season games with eventual national champion Baylor. However, the Wildcats were able to win 4 of their last 7 games due to their improved defense, as they held 5 of those 7 opponents under 60 points.
  • During the last 7 games of the season, the team held their opponents to 59.3 points on 40.6 percent shooting (146-360), including 26.1 percent (36-of-138) from 3-point range.
  • K-State has started the season off where they left off at the end of the 2020-21 season, as the defense is allowing 61.2 points on 39 percent shooting, including 26.1 percent from 3-point range. The Wildcats rank among the top-40 in 3 defensive categories, including eighth in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 34th in field goal percentage defense and 36th in scoring defense.
  • Before allowing 71 to Oklahoma (1/1/22) and 70 to Texas (1/4/22) to open Big 12, the Wildcats allowed just 55.6 points in a 7-game span from Nov. 28 to Dec. 21. That stretch included allowing the fewest points (85) in consecutive games to North Dakota (11/28/21) and UAlbany (12/1/21) since 2012-13. Four of the team’s 5 losses have come when allowing 70 or more points.
  • K-State has been able to score points off its opponent turnovers (16.5 ppg.) while forcing an average of 13.4 turnovers per game. The Wildcats has scored 20 or more points off turnovers 3 times, including 22 vs. Nebraska (12/19/21).

IMPROVED OFFENSE, BUT WORK CONTINUES FROM 3

  • The Wildcats are averaging 69.7 points on 43.6 percent shooting, including 33.9 percent from 3-point range, while connecting on 75.3 percent from the free throw line through the first 13 games. The team is averaging 29.2 points in the paint, 20.1 points off the bench, 16.5 points off turnovers, 9.6 fast-break points and 8.9 points on second-chance opportunities.
  • K-State’s offense shines when the Wildcats share the ball, as the team is averaging 73.6 points and 15.8 assists in their 8 wins compared to just 63.4 points and 10.2 assists in their 5 losses. The squad also scored 246 combined points (30.8 ppg.) in the paint in their 8 victories, including 46 vs. North Dakota, which were the most since scoring 50 against Eastern Kentucky in Nov. 16, 2018.
  • The Wildcats’ 3-point shooting strives for consistency, as they made just 22.6 percent (31-of-137) vs. Arkansas, Illinois, Wichita State, Marquette, Nebraska and Texas while hitting on 43.6 percent (58-of-133) in games vs. Florida A&M, Omaha, North Dakota, UAlbany, Green Bay and McNeese.
  • The Wildcats were really clicking offensively in the 79-64 win over Omaha (11/17/21), as the team connected on 52.8 percent (28-of-53) from the field, including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the 3-point line, and hit on 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the free throw line. The squad hit 50 percent or better from the field in each half for the first time since the Milwaukee game (12/21/20).
  • K-State played even better offensively against North Dakota (11/28/21), hitting on 60.3 percent (35-of-58) from the field, including 69 percent (20-of-29) in the second half, to post their first 80-point game since January 2020. It marked the first time that the Wildcats had shot better than 60 percent since hitting on 62.5 percent (35-of-56) against Alabama State on Dec. 11, 2019.

IMPROVED DEPTH/EXPERIENCE

  • It has been well chronicled how young the Wildcats were during the 2020-21 season, as only 11 Division I schools were less experienced than K-State with only Auburn and Duke less experienced among teams in the Power 6. The 11 underclassmen were the third-most of any Power 6 school, while the 3 upperclassmen were the fourth-fewest. In addition, K-State was one of 10 schools to start at least 3 true freshmen in one game with trio of Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack starting in 17 of the team’s 29 games.
  • K-State is hoping that the return of 9 of 14 lettermen, including senior Mike McGuirl and sophomores Bradford, Miguel and Pack, as well as the influx of 7 newcomers, including 3 transfers in Ish Massoud (Wake Forest), Markquis Nowell (Little Rock) and Mark Smith (Missouri) will lead to improved play.
  • The Wildcats have used at least 7 players in each of the first 13 games with all 7 those players totaling double-digit field goals made and 7 averaging nearly 6 points per game, including a pair of double-digit scorers (Pack and Nowell).
  • K-State is averaging nearly 20.1 points per game from its bench this season, including 28-point efforts against No. 13/12 Arkansas and No. 14/15 Illinois. The team has scored 20 or more bench points in 9 of 13 games. The 261 bench points are the most through the first 13 games since the 2012-12 season.
  • Before joining the starting lineup, Nowell had provided a spark off the bench, averaging 11.7 points in the first 6 games, while Miguel has been that spark of late with 4 of his 6 double-digit scoring games coming off the bench, including tying his career-high with 17 points vs. McNeese.

IMPROVED FREE THROW SHOOTING

  • Again, it’s a small sample size with just 13 games, but so far, K-State has taken care of its opportunities from the free throw line, connecting on 75.3 percent (165-of-219) from the charity stripe, which ranks second in the Big 12.
  • That percentage was even better in its 3-game stretch vs. Omaha, No. 13/12 Arkansas and No. 14/15 Illinois, as the Wildcats hit on 81.3 percent (39-of-48) during that stretch, including 78.1 percent (25-of-32) in the games against the Razorbacks and Fighting Illini.
  • Five players (Nijel Pack, Markquis Nowell, Ish Massoud, Selton Miguel and Mike McGuirl) are hitting on better than 70 percent from the free throw line, as Massoud (18-of-18) has been perfect so far.
  • The Wildcats shot just 66.4 percent from the free throw line in 2020-21, while they haven’t connected on better than 70 percent from the line since hitting on 73.4 percent as a team in 2017-18.

TURNOVER LOW

  • K-State turned the ball over just 4 times in the loss to No. 14/15 Illinois, which tied 5 others for the third-fewest in a game in school history and fewest since also registered 4 turnovers in a win over Gonzaga on Dec. 21, 2013. It tied the 2013 Gonzaga contest for the fewest turnovers in the Bruce Weber era.
  • The Wildcats have also had single digits turnovers 3 times in the last 7 games, including 7 vs. Wichita State (12/1/21) and 6 vs. Texas (1/4/22).

PACK OFF TO STRONG START

  • Although he missed 2 games due to a concussion, sophomore Nijel Pack is still off to an impressive start to the 2021-22 season, as he has led or have been tied for the team lead in scoring in 7 of 11 games played, including an 18-point effort in the opener vs. Florida A&M, 15 vs. Omaha, 14 vs. No. 12/13 Arkansas, 17 vs. UAlbany, 15 vs. Nebraska, 18 vs. McNeese and 21 vs. 14/16 Texas.
  • Pack is averaging a team-best 15.6 points on 46.8 percent (59-of-126) shooting, including 42.5 percent (31-of-73) from 3-point range, to go with 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 29.1 minutes per game. He is the leader in scoring, double-digit scoring games (10) and 3-point field goals (31).
  • Pack ranks among the Big 12’s top-10 in 4 categories, including second in 3-point field goals per game (2.80), third in 3-point field goal percentage and sixth in scoring and seventh in field goal percentage.

MOVING TOWARDS 500

  • Head coach Bruce Weber is working towards a coaching milestone, as he is 9 wins away from earning 500 in his career. He enters Saturday’s game with a 491-290 (.629) record in 24 years as a head coach at Southern Illinois (1998-2003), Illinois (2003-12) and K-State (2012-21).
  • If Weber were to achieve the milestone in 2021-22, he would be among elite company as only 26 current Division I coaches have reached 500 wins in their career with Herb Sendek (Santa Clara) just ahead of him with 499 victories.

HOPING FOR BETTER INJURY LUCK

  • K-State is hoping for better luck on the injury front in 2021-22 after injuries were a major factor in the 2020-21 season, as 9 players combined to miss 75 games, which caused head coach Bruce Weber to start 3 true freshmen (Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack) a combined 71 times, which ranked second nationally to Kentucky.
  • Only one other Division I team (Long Beach State) had more players miss time due to injuries in 2020-21.
  • Although that luck has been tested early with big man Seryee Lewis going down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, along with injuries slowing down the progress made by junior Carlton Linguard, Jr., and freshman Maximus Edwards. Linguard returned to practice in late December.
  • The backcourt has been hit of late, as Pack missed 2 games against Wichita State and Marquette due to a concussion, while Markquis Nowell has missed the first 2 Big 12 games due to health and safety protocols.
  • Seven players (Bradford, Edwards, Nowell, junior Kaosi Ezeagu, freshman Logan Landers and walk-ons Jordan Brooks and Trey Harris) plus head coach Bruce Weber missed the game vs. No. 14/16 Texas (1/4/22) due to health and safety protocols.

McGUIRL UTILIZES EXTRA SEASON

  • K-State received some good news on March 23 when senior Mike McGuirl announced that he was utilizing his extra season and returning to the Wildcats for the 2021-22 season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced in October that they had agreed to grant players an additional year of eligibility.
  • An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, McGuirl is coming off solid senior season in 2020-21, in which, he either led or was tied for the team lead in 12 categories, including points, field goals, 3-pointers, assists and steals. He was second in scoring (11.8 ppg.) to freshman teammate Nijel Pack.
  • McGuirl’s 20 double-digit scoring games doubled his entire career total (10) that he had entering the 2020-21 season. He opened the season with his first career 20-point game vs. Drake on November 25 with 22 points then equaled it against Fort Hays State on December 8, while he had a team-high 19 points in the upset of No. 7/8 Oklahoma on February 23. Of his 705 career points, 542 have come in the last two seasons in 58 games played with 49 starts (9.3 ppg.).
  • The only player to start all 29 games, McGuirl showed his versatility by leading the Wildcats in scoring a team-best 11 times, while he also paced the team in rebounding 4 times, in assists 14 times and in steals on 10 occasions. He led the team in scoring (16), rebounding (9) and assists (5) in the win over TCU on February 20, a win which started the team’s late surge to end the season (four wins in the last 6 games).

THE ‘CATS INK 3 HIGH-PROFILE TRANSFERS

  • K-State got an infusion of experience with the addition of 3 high-profile Division I transfers in fifth-year Mark Smith (Missouri), junior Markquis Nowell and sophomore Ismael (Ish) Massoud (Wake Forest). All 3 took advantage of the new transfer rules and are immediately eligible in 2021-22.
  • Like McGuirl, Smith earned a second senior season due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and will bring 100 games of experience to the court after playing at Illinois (2017-18) and Missouri (2018-21). Nowell, who was a Lou Henson All-American at Little Rock, averaged double figures in each of his three seasons as a Trojan. Massoud played in all 53 games of his Wake Forest career, averaging 8.3 points per game as a sophomore in 2020-21.
  • The transfers presumably fill the Wildcats’ greatest need from the 2020-21 season, which was a lack of production from the 3-point line. The team ranked 319th (out of 340 teams) in 3-point field goal percentage (29.6), while they were 126th in total 3-point field goals made (191) and 243rd in 3-point field goals per game (6.6). The trio have combined for more than 400 triples (431) in their respective careers on 36.1 percent shooting.
  • The trio have made their impact in the first 13 games with Massoud and Smith each starting every game, while Nowell started in 5 straight before missing the last 2 games. They have combined for 382 points (29.4 ppg.) on 41 percent (129-of-315) shooting with 204 rebounds (15.7 rpg.) and 84 assists (6.5 apg.). Nowell has scored in double figures in 8 games, including 2 points/assists double-doubles, while Massoud has 6 double-digit scoring games. Smith has 4 double-doubles and is leading the Big 12 in rebounds (8.5 rpg.).

A QUICK LOOK AT K-STATE

  • K-State returns 9 lettermen, including 4 players (Davion Bradford, Mike McGuirl, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack) who registered starts during its COVID-19 challenging 2020-21 campaign, which resulted in the Wildcats’ second consecutive non-winning season at 9-20 overall and 4-14 in Big 12 play. In addition to these 4 players, the team will get back the services of several key lettermen, including juniors Kaosi Ezeagu and Carlton Linguard, Jr., sophomores Luke Kasubke and Seryee Lewis and walk-on Drew Honas.
  • The biggest headliner from the returners might be McGuirl, who opted to return for an extra season in 2021-22 after his senior season was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors in 2020-21 after leading the Wildcats in 12 categories, including points (342), double-digit scoring games (20), field goals (112), 3-point field goals (60), assists (103), steals (30) and minutes (34.3).
  • The freshmen trio of Bradford, Miguel and Pack had to grow up fast in their first season, starting together in 17 games with 12 of those coming in Big 12 play. The 71 combined starts by the three true freshmen in 2020-21 ranked second nationally only to Kentucky (72). The three combined to average 25.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals in 2020-21, as Pack (12.7 ppg.) became the first true freshman to lead the Wildcats in scoring since 2013-14. Bradford (7.7 ppg.) and Miguel (7.2 ppg.) were fourth and fifth in scoring.
  • Ezeagu started early on for K-State before an injury forced him to miss 10 games. He returned in mid-January as mostly a reserve, averaging 5.2 points on 67.7 percent (21-of-31) in his last 10 games. Linguard and Lewis each showed flashes in their first seasons, playing in 17 and 18 games, respectively, while Kasubke recovered from a preseason injury that forced him to miss the first 13 games to be a key contributor in the final 16 games.

UP NEXT: TCU (10-1)

  • K-State is scheduled to play host to TCU (10-1) on Wednesday, January 12 at 8 p.m., CT. The Horned Frogs have yet to play a Big 12 game, as they have been on pause since a 90-55 win over Grambling State on Dec. 21.
  • TCU had to cancel a Dec. 29 game against Texas Southern before postponing games with Kansas and West Virginia. They are expected to open league play on Saturday against top-ranked Baylor (14-0, 2-0 Big 12) at 4 p.m.
  • The Horned Frogs are led by sophomore Mike Miles, who ranked fourth in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.9 points per game.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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