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Late Run Helps K-State End Skid at TCU, 62-54

KSU Athletics ReleaseFebruary 20, 2021

FORT WORTH, Texas – Kansas State ended the game on a 16-3 run, including a pivotal 10-0 run down by 5 points with 5 minutes to play, as the Wildcats snapped a 13-game losing streak with a 62-54 win over TCU in front of a limited capacity crowd of 2,145 fans at Schollmaier Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The win was the first for K-State (6-18, 2-13 Big 12) in the calendar year 2021 and the first since a 60-58 victory over Omaha on December 29, 2020. It also ended a 12-game skid in Big 12 action and was the first since earning a 74-65 win at Iowa State in the Big 12 opener on December 15, 2020.

Down 51-46 with just 5 minutes to play after a 3-point play by freshman Mike Miles, the Wildcats erupted for 10 consecutive points over a more than 2 minute stretch that was capped by a 3-pointer from freshman Selton Miguel with 2:34 remaining. After Miles added a pair of free throws to again close the deficit to one possession at 56-53, freshman Nijel Pack knocked down a pull-up jumper to push it back out to 58-53 with 1:22 to play.

Senior Mike McGuirl, who led all scorers with 16 points, and Miguel then finished it off at the free throw line.

Although the offense provided the lift at the right moment, it was the defense that was key to victory. K-State held TCU to an opponent-low 31.9 percent (15-of-47) shooting, including 26.9 percent (7-of-26) in the second half. In all, the Wildcats held the Horned Frogs to opponent season-lows in 5 categories, including field goals made (15) and attempted (47), field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage (22.2) and assists (6).

The Miles’ layup with 5:01 left was the Horned Frogs’ last made field goal in the game.

Offensively, K-State connected on 40.4 percent (23-of-57) from the field, including 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from 3-point range, and hit on 73.3 percent (11-of-15) from the free throw line.

McGuirl was impressive all-around in helping the Wildcats halt the skid, scoring his game-high 16 points on 6-of-14 field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers, to go with a career-high 9 rebounds and game-high 5 assists. He now has a team-leading 16 double-digit scoring games, while it marked the first time in his career that he led the team in points, rebounds and assists.

Pack (12) and fellow freshman Davion Bradford (10) also registered double figures, while Miguel chipped in 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and team-high 2 steals. Miguel was stellar on the defensive end, holding TCU’s leading scorer and the Big 12’s fourth-leading scorer — junior R.J. Nembhard — to 14 points on 3-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-4 from 3-point range, with half (7) coming from the free throw line.

Nembhard led the Horned Frogs (11-9, 4-7 Big 12) with his 14 points, while freshman Mike Miles added 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range. Junior Kevin Samuel narrowly missed a double-double with 9 points, a game-tying 9 rebounds and a game-high 5 blocks in 28 minutes.

In addition to snapping the losing streak, the Wildcats won for the first time in the month of February since an 85-46 victory over Oklahoma State at home on February 23, 2019, halting a 15-game skid, while it was the first win on a Saturday in 2020-21, ending a 9-game streak.

KEY STRETCH(ES)
Down 21-18 after a 3-pointer by senior Kevin Easley with 5:44 to play, K-State finished off the first half by scoring 11 of the last 19 points. During this stretch, the Wildcats got buckets from five different players, including a 3-pointer from freshman Nijel Pack. The 29-all tie broke a streak of 13 consecutive games trailing at the half.

The Wildcats rattled off 10 straight points after trailing 51-46 with 5:01 to play that was capped by a 3-pointer from freshman Selton Miguel with 2:34 remaining. Three different players scored in the stretch, including a layup by sophomore Kaosi Ezeagu, a 3-pointer from freshman Nijel Pack and 5 straight points from Miguel.

After TCU hit a pair of free throws to close the deficit to one possession at 56-53, Pack connected on a pull-up jumper to push it back out to 58-53 with 1:22 to play. Senior Mike McGuirl and Miguel then finished it off at the free throw line with 4 consecutive makes.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Mike McGuirl nearly tallied his first career double-double with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, to go with a career-high 9 rebounds and 5 assists in 36 minutes. He led all players in points, rebounds and assists.

Freshman Nijel Pack scored in double figures for the ninth time in 10 games with 12 points on 4-of-15 field goals to go with a team-tying 5 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal in 39 minutes.

STAT OF THE GAME
31.9 – K-State was stellar on defense against TCU, holding the Horned Frogs to an opponent-low 31.9 percent (15-of-47) shooting, including 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from 3-point range, while forcing 14 turnovers. The Frogs shot just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from the field in the second half, including 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from beyond the arc.

IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“I’m just thrilled for our guys. Obviously, it’s been a long stretch. I begged and pleaded for them not to quit. I know we’ve made improvement. It hasn’t shown in wins and losses. We’ve become a competitive team. Probably at times earlier we weren’t. My whole thing was the preparation, the scout by Coach (Shane) Southwell, they were locked into it. I called Shane after the Kansas game. I said, ‘What do we need to do?’ He said, ‘We need to score, Coach’. To be honest, we need to stop them. If they score, we haven’t scored all year, so we’re not going to have a chance to win. We did shoot a lot the next day and did work on offense, but I made sure I talked to them about really being prepared. We did a lot of good things the first time we played them. We just didn’t make enough plays and enough shots, especially when we got it close. Then just being consistent, focus on being self-disciplined and selfless. Our guys really bought into trying to win the game. Selton (Miguel) just kind of made a decision. I’ve kind of begged him. You can guard, Selton. ‘You’re big time.’ He took the challenge. He did a great job on (RJ) Nembhard. He still got 14, but he made him earn it. That focus just on that, then guess what happens? He gets a layup and hits a three, big plays. Mike McGuirl got a couple of threes down early, a great line, 16 and nine which is a career high, and five assists. He guarded (Mike) Miles and did a really good job on Nembhard, too. He was 3-for-13 and Nembhard was 3-for-11. Those two guys stepped up defensively, but it was a team win, because we had to have everybody make plays. We got some fast breaks in the second half. We haven’t had a lot of those. Those were important. We didn’t get to the line much, none in the first half. Down the stretch, we definitely made the free throws. I’m not sure they scored a field goal in the last five or six minutes, so we did a lot of good things. The players win games. They found a way to win it. Happy for them and proud of them. Now we have to worry about Oklahoma and see if we can come and have that same consistent effort and focus.”

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE

  • K-State is now 6-18 on the season, including 2-13 in Big 12 play… The win snapped a 13-game losing streak, including 12 in Big 12 play, which was the longest such streak in a single season and the second-longest in school history behind a 14-game skid between the 1921-22 and 1922-23 season.
  • The win also snapped a 15-game losing streak in the month of February dating back to 2019.
  • Saturday’s game marked the Wildcats’ first unranked opponent since January 30 vs. Texas A&M.
  • K-State is now 18-9 all-time against TCU, including a 7-3 mark on the road… The teams split the season series with a win on the other’s home court… The Wildcats now lead the series, 15-7, in the Big 12 era.
  • 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 sixth time using this lineup and the eighth lineup employed this season… This is the 13th time this season that the Wildcats have started 3 true freshmen… McGuirl has now started all 24 games this season and has the longest current active start streak at 29 games… Pack has started all 20 games in which he has played.
  • Junior Rudi Williams missed the game due to a hand injury… He is the ninth different Wildcat to miss at least one game this season.

Team Notes

  • K-State scored its 62 points on 40.4 percent (23-of-57) shooting, including 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from 3-point range, while connecting on 73.3 percent (11-of-15) from the free throw line.
  • TCU scored its 54 points on an opponent-low 31.9 percent (15-of-47) shooting, including 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from 3-point range, while knocking down 87 percent (20-of-23) from the free throw line.
  • K-State tied or held TCU to opponent-lows in a number categories, including field goals made (15) and attempted (47), field goal percentage (31.9), 3-point field goal percentage (22.2) and assists (6).
  • K-State outscored TCU, 30-16, in the paint… It marked the 11th time this season that the Wildcats scored 30 or more points in the paint… It was the largest margin in paint points this season.
  • K-State held a 38-32 advantage on the boards, including 13 offensive rebounds… The Wildcats has held the rebounding advantage in 12 games, including 4 times in the last 5 games.
  • K-State scored 10 points off 14 TCU turnovers.
  • The teams were tied 29-all at the half as K-State held an 18-6 advantage in the paint.
  • The tie score at half snapped a streak of 13 consecutive games trailing at the half.

Player Notes

  • Senior Mike McGuirl scored 16 points on 6-of-14 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with a career-high 9 rebounds and 5 assists in 36 minutes… It marked the first time in his career that he led the team in points, rebounds and assists… He has now led the team in scoring in 11 career games, including a team-leading 9 this season… He has now scored in double figures in 26 career games, including a team-leading 16 this season… It marked his ninth game this season with 5 or more assists.
  • Freshman Nijel Pack scored 12 points on 4-of-15 field goals, including 2-of-6 from 3-point range, to go with a team-tying 5 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal in 39 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 13 games this season, including 8 times in Big 12 play… It marked his team-leading 10th time leading the team in assists… He has now posted at least 5 assists in 10 games.
  • Freshman Davion Bradford scored 10 points on 4-of-7 field goals to go with 2 rebounds in 13 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 7 games this season, including 6 times in Big 12 play.
  • Freshman Selton Miguel nearly reached double figures scoring 9 points on 3-of-7 shooting, including 1-of-2 from 3-point range to go with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a team-leading 2 steals in 36 minutes.

WHAT’S NEXT
K-State starts the final week of the regular season with a pair of Top 15 matchups, beginning with a home game with No. 9/10 Oklahoma (14-5, 9-4 Big 12) on Tuesday at 8 p.m., CT on ESPNU. It will be Senior Night, as the Wildcats will honor its lone senior Mike McGuirl in a pregame ceremony. The Sooners are looking to sweep the regular-season series for the second straight season after posting a 76-50 win at home on Jan. 19.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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