STILLWATER, Okla. – Kansas State tried to make yet another second-half rally, using a 16-0 run to close to within 4 points, however, No. 23/22 Oklahoma State responded with a decisive run of its own to maintain the lead in a 67-60 win on Saturday afternoon in front of a limited capacity crowd of 3,350 fans at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Down by 20 in the early moments of the second half, K-State (5-17, 1-12 Big 12) attempted to rally from a big deficit for the second straight game, using a 16-0 run over a near 4-minute stretch to close to within 41-37 to play. Five different Wildcats scored during the stretch, including a pair of 3-pointers by freshman Nijel Pack, who scored 12 of his 14 points after halftime and has now scored in double figures in 8 consecutive games.
However, just as quick, Oklahoma State (13-6, 6-6 Big 12) rattled off a 10-2 run, keyed by National Freshman of the Year candidate Cade Cunningham, who like Pack had a terrific second half, scoring 12 of his game-tying 15 points after halftime. After pushing the lead back out to 51-39 with 12:38 to play, the Cowboys maintained a double-digit lead for much of the rest of the way.
For the second straight game, it was the 3-pointer that hurt the Wildcats the most, as OSU connected on 10 triples on 28 attempts (35.7 percent) compared to K-State’s 5 on 19 attempts (26.3 percent). The shooting percentages were nearly identical with the Cowboys hitting on 40.7 percent (24-of-59), while the Wildcats were at 39.3 percent (24-of-61). K-State shot 55.2 percent (16-of-29) in the second half, including 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from long range, after shooting a season-low 25 percent (8-of-32) in the first half, including 0-of-8 from long range.
The loss spoiled an impressive day from sophomore Antonio Gordon, who posted his first career double-double with a game-tying 15 points on 7-of-13 field goals and a career-best 14 rebounds. It continued a solid stretch for Gordon, who is averaging 8.4 points and 9 rebounds in the last 5 games. Aside from Gordon and Pack, freshman Davion Bradford also registered double figures with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Cunningham was joined in double figures by freshman Rondel Walker and senior Bryce Williams, who each added 10 points. Sophomore Kalib Boone had a team-high 9 rebounds and a game-high 3 blocks.
The win gave the Cowboys a sweep of the season series for the second consecutive season.
The Wildcats have now lost 12 in a row, including 11 in Big 12 play. The 12-game losing streak is the longest in a single season and the second-longest in school history.
In a sluggish first half where the teams combined for 17 turnovers and 52 missed shots, it was the 3-pointer that provided Oklahoma State the early lift. The Cowboys knocked down 3 in a key span, while the Wildcats went 0-of-5 from long range, expanding a narrow 7-6 lead into a 22-14 advantage with 7:00 to play before halftime. OSU would push the lead to 35-19 at the break after scoring 10 of the last 13 points.
Down by 20 in the early moments of the second half, K-State tried to make a game of it with a 16-0 run over a near 4-minute span to close to within 41-37 with 14:27 to play. Five different Wildcats scored during the stretch, including a pair of 3-pointers by freshman Nijel Pack.
However, just as quick, OSU rattled off a 10-2 run, keyed by a Cade Cunningham 3-pointer to push the game back to 12 points with 12:38 remaining. The Cowboys maintained a double-digit lead for much of the second half.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Sophomore Antonio Gordon collected his first career double-double with 15 points on 7-of-13 field goals with a career-high 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. It marked his second double-digit scoring game of the season and the first since his career-high 23-point effort vs. No. 2/2 Baylor on December 19.
Freshman Nijel Pack scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, as he registered double-digit points for the eighth consecutive game. He finished 5-of-16 from the field, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, but was 4-of-8 in the second half, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
STAT OF THE GAME
10 – In a game where the shooting percentages were nearly identical (40.7 to 39.3 percent), it was the 3-point line that hurt the Wildcats the most, as Oklahoma State connected on 10 triples on 28 attempts (35.7 percent) compared to K-State’s 5 on 19 attempts (26.3 percent).
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“I was hoping that we would continue moving forward after a good two weeks. I know we didn’t get wins but we played against really good teams and battled them and played them until the end. We came back and Thursday and Friday, we didn’t have very good practices. It was the first time since way back early that we didn’t have the energy we needed and the emotion needed to prepare. You practice how you play. We came out kind of listless. I’m sure some guys are tired. I thought it was the first time where Nijel (Pack), who is the Energizer Bunny, hit a little bit of a wall. To his credit, he came back in the second half and brought some energy. To our guys’ credit, they got it to 20 and we cut it back to four. Now, Cade Cunningham hits a big three then he gets going. We kept hanging in there and battling. I thought our offense in the second half was what it’s been in the past few weeks. Obviously in the first half, it was not a thing of perfection. Some of those were wide open. We just didn’t make enough plays that would’ve kept us in there. We just didn’t have anything in that tank and just didn’t make the plays that we needed. You have to give Antonio (Gordon) a lot of credit. He’s taking on that role and is playing his butt off. I can’t say enough about his effort.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State is now 5-17 on the season, including 1-12 in Big 12 play… The 12-game losing streak is the longest for a single season and the longest since losing 14 in a row between the 1921-22 and 1922-23 seasons.
- K-State is now 119-271 all-time against Top 25 opponents, including a 5-7 mark vs. the AP’s No. 23 ranked team… The Wildcats have 14 consecutive losses against ranked teams, including 0-9 this season.
- K-State played its fourth consecutive Top 25 opponent, which is first in school history.
- K-State has lost 14 consecutive games in the month of February dating back to 2019.
- K-State is now 82-57 all-time against Oklahoma State, including a 27-35 mark in Stillwater… The Cowboys swept the season series for the second consecutive season… The team have split the last 10 meetings.
- The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of senior Mike McGuirl, freshman Nijel Pack, freshman Selton Miguel, sophomore Antonio Gordon and freshman Davion Bradford… This is the fourth time using this lineup and the eighth lineup employed this season… This is the 11th time this season that the Wildcats have started 3 true freshmen… McGuirl has now started all 22 games this season and has the longest current active start streak at 27 games… Pack has started all 18 games in which he has played.
- Sophomore DaJuan Gordon missed his fourth career game after leaving with an injury against Texas A&M (1/30/21)… He had seen action in all 50 games in his career with 28 starts before missing the game at Kansas (2/2/21).
- K-State scored its 60 points on 39.3 percent (24-of-61) shooting, including 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from 3-point range, while connecting on 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the free throw line.
- K-State scored 41 points in the second half on 55.2 percent (16-of-29), including 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from 3-point range, after scoring 19 points in the first half on a season-low 25 percent (8-of-32) shooting, including 0-of-8 from long range.
- Oklahoma State scored its 67 points on 40.7 percent (24-of-59), including 35.7 percent (10-of-28) from 3-point range, and went a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line.
- It marked the seventh time this season that the Wildcats have allowed double-digit 3-pointers.
- K-State scored a season-high 27 points off 17 Oklahoma State turnovers.
- K-State held a 30-24 advantage in the paint, marking the 10th time scoring 30 or more points in the paint.
- OSU held a 14-7 advantage on fast-break points and an 18-13 edge in bench points.
- K-State held a slim 37-36 advantage on the boards, including 11 offensive rebounds.
- OSU held a 35-19 lead at halftime after holding K-State to a season-low 25 percent (8-of-32) shooting from the field in the first half… The Wildcats missed 24 shots and were forced into 8 turnovers.
- K-State had not held a halftime lead in 12 consecutive games.
- K-State is now 0-16 on the season when trailing at the half.
- Sophomore Antonio Gordon posted his first career double-double with 15 points on 7-of-13 field goals, including 1-of-2 from 3-point range, to go with a career-best 14 rebounds and a steal in 37 minutes… It marked his fourth career double-digit scoring game, including his second this season… It was his second time leading the team in scoring… He now has double-digit rebounds in 2 career games… He has now led the team in rebounding 15 times in his career, including 8 this season.
- Freshman Nijel Pack scored 14 points on 5-of-16 field goals, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range, to go with 3 assists and 2 steals in 36 minutes… He now has scored in double figures in 12 games, including 7 in Big 12 play, and in 8 consecutive games… He has knocked at least 3 triples in 9 games this season.
- Freshman Davion Bradford scored 10 points on 5-of-9 field goals with 6 rebounds and a block in 29 minutes… It marked his sixth double-digit scoring game.
- Sophomore Kaosi Ezeagu added 8 points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting to go with 3 rebounds in 11 minutes… He has 22 points in the last 3 games after just 2 in the previous 3 games.
K-State returns home on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats play host to Kansas (15-7, 9-5 Big 12) in the 295th edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown at 7 p.m., CT on Big 12 Now. It will be the second meeting between the schools in 2 weeks after the Jayhawks posted a 74-51 win over the Wildcats at home on Feb. 2. Kansas will attempt to sweep the series for the second year in a row and earn its second straight win at Bramlage Coliseum.