STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State seized the momentum with a 10-0 run with just under 9 minutes to play, as the Cowboys won their fifth in a row at Gallagher-Iba Arena with a come-from-behind 69-63 victory over Kansas State on Wednesday night.
With the win, Oklahoma State (16-14, 6-11 Big 12) snapped a 3-game losing streak to K-State (9-21, 2-15 Big 12) at home and swept the season series for the first time in the Big 12 round-robin era.
With the Wildcats leading 49-46 after a free throw by freshman Antonio Gordon, OSU head coach Mike Boynton, Jr., called what became a pivotal timeout with 8:59 to play. Out of the timeout, Boynton called a play that allowed senior Cameron McGriff an easy dunk and ignited the 10-0 run, flipping the 3-point deficit into a 56-49 lead with 6:36 remaining. Following the McGriff dunk, senior Thomas Dziagwa connected on back-to-back 3-pointers and sophomore Isaac Likekele hit a pair of free throws.
Two free throws by senior Makol Mawien broke up the run and closed the gap to 56-51 on the next possession, but the Cowboys followed with 6 straight points to extend the lead to double digits at 62-51 with just under 4 minutes to play. All told, OSU scored 16 of the next 18 points after the timeout with 8:59 to play.
K-State continued to fight all the way until the end, closing to within 64-58 on a 3-point play by junior Mike McGuirl with 2:27 to play and then again at 67-63 on a 3-pointer by senior Xavier Sneed with 40 seconds, but each time OSU answered from the free throw line to stay ahead.
The Cowboys were efficient on offense, connecting on 45.7 percent (21-of-46) from the field, including 35 percent (7-of-20) from 3-point range, and knocking down 20 of 27 attempts (74.1 percent) from the free throw line. Seven players had at least 7 points in the game, including 14 by McGriff and 11 from Dziagwa. Likekele finished with an impressive stat line of 9 points, a game-high 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
The Wildcats were led by junior Cartier Diarra’s game-high 16 points, while McGuirl and Sneed added 11 and 10 points, respectively. The team connected on 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the field, including just 19 percent (4-of-21) from 3-point range, and made 17 of 21 attempts (81 percent) from the line.
With the loss, K-State saw its losing streak hit 10 games, which is the longest in more than 20 years since dropping 11 in a row from Jan. 12 to Feb. 19, 2000. The Wildcats also finished winless on the road (0-9) in Big 12 play for the first time since 2002-03.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Neither team was particularly sharp to start the game, as the two combined to go 4-of-13 from the field with 5 turnovers in the early going. Oklahoma State grabbed the early lead with a 3-pointer from graduate transfer Jonathan Laurent on the game’s first possession, but K-State battled back to within 5-4 at the 15:37 mark.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from freshman DaJuan Gordon and senior Xavier Sneed gave the Wildcats a 10-5 lead at the 14:06 mark, which was the largest lead for the team in more than a month.
However, the lead was short lived, as the Cowboys used a quick 5-0 run to tie the game at 12-all at the second media timeout of the half at the 11:12 mark. The two teams slugged through three more ties before they swapped 3-point plays with senior Cameron McGriff knocking down a deep 3-pointer and junior Cartier Diarra hitting all 3 free throws on a foul by sophomore Isaac Likekele for a 23-21 Wildcat lead with 3:58 left in the first half.
OSU regained the lead at the free throw line, as freshman Kalib Boone connected on 3 of 4 attempts to take a 24-23 lead then Likekele extended it to 26-23 on a layup, which is where it stood at the break.
The Cowboys connected on 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from the field, including 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from 3-point range, while the Wildcats hit on 34.6 percent (9-of-26), including 22.2 percent (2-of-9) from long range. McGriff and Kalib Boone led OSU with 5 points each, while Diarra and DaJuan Gordon also scored 5 points each.
OSU came out hot from 3-point range, as Laurent and senior Lindy Waters III nailed back-to-back triples to extend the lead to 32-25 and force head coach Bruce Weber to call a timeout less than 90 seconds into the second half.
K-State slowly chipped away at the deficit, using a 6-1 spurt to close to within 33-31 on a layup by senior Makol Mawien with 15:43 to play. However, OSU responded with a 3-point play from sophomore Yor Anei to extend it back out to 36-31 on the next possession.
With the Cowboys leading 39-33 after a McGriff 3-point play, the Wildcats used an 8-2 run to tie the game at 41-all with 11:42 remaining. During the span, the squad went a combined 6 of 8 from the free throw line, including a 3 of 4 effort from Diarra, to go with a jumper from Sneed.
K-State grabbed the lead on the next possession on a drive and layup by junior Mike McGuirl then pushed it to 48-44 on a 3-pointer by junior David Sloan with 10:17 to play. However, an OSU timeout at the 8:59 mark proved to be pivotal, as the team scored 10 in a row to retake the lead at 56-49, which included back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Thomas Dziagwa and was capped by 2 free throws from Likekele.
The run continued after a pair of free throws by Mawien, as Boone and Likekele hit on back-to-back buckets to force Weber to call a timeout with the Wildcats trailing 60-51 at the 4:17 mark. The timeout didn’t help, as turnover and a dunk by McGriff on the next possession made the lead 11 (62-51).
K-State responded with a 7-2 run to close the gap to 64-58 on a 3-point play by McGuirl with 2:27 remaining. A Sneed 3-pointer from the corner gave the Wildcats one last chance at 67-63 with 40 seconds to play, but the Cowboys closed it out from the free throw line.
OSU connected on 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from the field in the second half, including 33.3 percent (4-of-12) from 3-point range, while K-State hit on 37.5 percent (12-of-32) after halftime, including 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from long range. Both teams were stellar from the line with the Wildcats connecting on 14 of 18 attempts (77.8 percent) and the Cowboys making 17 of 22 attempts (77.3 percent).
Diarra led all scorers with 11 points in the second half on 4-of-9 field goals.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Junior Cartier Diarra scored a game-high 16 points on 5-of-14 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws in 39 plus minutes. He has now led the team in scoring in 13 games this season, while he registered his 21st double-digit scoring game.
Junior Mike McGuirl posted double-digit points for the fourth time in Big 12 play with 11 points on 4-of-10 field goals and 3-of-3 free throws in 32 minutes of action.
STAT OF THE GAME
17 – Oklahoma State scored 17 second-chance points on just 10 offensive rebounds. It tied for the third-most second-chance points by an opponent and the most since Kansas scored an opponent-high 22 on Jan. 21.
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“We knew it would be a hard-fought game. Since Isaac (Likekele) has come back, they’ve played good basketball, and Cam McGriff has played at a high level to end his career. I thought our defense was good. We turned them over 21 times, and we’re still one of the best teams in the country at turning people over. We had some opportunities. They’re aggressive in the half court and they took us out of some things. Three key plays were off OSU airballs that they beat us to that ended up in points when you study a six-point loss that a big difference in the game. It was a hard-fought game, and we had a chance, but we couldn’t get over the hump.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- With the loss, K-State sets the school record with its 21st loss of the season, snapping a tie with the 1945-46 team which had the previous record of 20 losses.
- K-State’s 10-game losing streak is the longest of the Bruce Weber era and the longest for the Wildcats since dropping 11 in a row from Jan. 12 to Feb. 19, 2000.
- K-State finished winless on the road (0-9) in Big 12 play for the first time since 2002-03.
- K-State still leads the all-time series, 82-55, with Oklahoma State… OSU now leads 34-27 at home, including 31-25 at Gallagher-Iba Arena… With the win, OSU sweeps the regular season series for the first time in the Big 12 round-robin era.
- The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of junior Mike McGuirl, junior Cartier Diarra, freshman DaJuan Gordon, senior Xavier Sneed and senior Makol Mawien… This was the second time using this lineup and the ninth different lineup used this season, the most since 2014-15.
- Sneed has now played in 135 career games, including 102 starts (63 consecutive)… He is now tied with Jacob Pullen (135/2007-11) and Rodney McGruder (135/2009-13) for second place on the all-time games played list… He is now tied with McGruder (102/2009-13) for 10th place on the all-time starts list… He remains in fourth place on all-time minutes played list with 3,787.
- Mawien has played and started in every game in his career, which now stretches to 101… He is on track to become the first 3-or-more-year player to start every game his in his career… He is also 1 start shy of cracking the career starts list.
- Diarra has now appeared in 93 career games with 56 starts, including 25 of 30 games this season… DaJuan Gordon earned his 10th start and has now played in all 30 games this season.
- At least 1 of the 3 true freshmen (A. Gordon, DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy) have started each of the last 11 games.
- Junior Levi Stockard III was the first player off the bench.
- Freshman Montavious Murphy missed the game due to injury (knee) and has now missed 11 games.
- K-State connected on 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the field, including 19 percent (4-of-21) from 3-point range, and made 17 of 21 attempts (81 percent) from the free throw line… It marked the 17th time that the Wildcats have been held below 40 percent shooting this season.
- Oklahoma State hit on 45.7 percent (21-of-46) from the field, including 35 percent (7-of-20) from 3-point range, and made 20 of 27 attempts (74.1 percent) from the free throw line.
- Both teams hit on 21 field goals, but K-State took 12 more attempts (58-46).
- K-State forced OSU into 21 turnovers, including 9 steals, and scored 24 points off those miscues… It marked the 11th time this season that the Wildcats have scored 20 or more points off turnovers… The team has also now forced 6 opponents into 20 or more turnovers.
- The teams had 33 rebounds each, including 15 offensive rebounds by K-State.
- K-State held a 28-18 edge in the paint, which was the largest margin in a game since TCU (1/7/20).
- OSU led for just over 24 minutes (24:01) compared to 11:16 for K-State.
- K-State trailed at the half, 26-23, which marked the 18th time trailing at the half.
- Junior Cartier Diarra scored a game-high 16 points on 5-of-14 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws with 3 rebounds in a career-best 39 minutes… It marked the 14th time in his career leading the team in scoring, including the 13th this season… He has now scored in double figures in 38 career games, including 21 this season… His previous high for minutes (38) came against West Virginia on Jan. 18, 2020.
- Junior Mike McGuirl scored 11 points on 4-of-10 field goals and 3-of-3 free throws with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a season-high 2 steals in 32 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 9 career games, including 7 this season… He has now posted 2 steals in 7 different games this season.
- Senior Xavier Sneed scored 10 points on 3-of-14 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws with a team-tying 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 39 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 76 career games, including a team-leading 23 this season.
- Sneed is now tied for ninth in K-State history with 76 career double-digit scoring games.
- Senior Makol Mawien finished with a solid stat line of 8 points on 3-of-5 field goals and 2-of-3 free throws to go with a team-tying 7 rebounds and a career-best 3 steals in 17 minutes.
- Freshman DaJuan Gordon posted a season-high 38 minutes, scoring 8 points on 3-of-8 field goals to go with 6 rebounds and 2 steals.
K-State wraps up the regular season on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Iowa State (12-18, 5-12 Big 12) at 3 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum. There will be a pregame ceremony to honor four senior student managers as well as senior players Pierson McAtee, Makol Mawien and Xavier Sneed. The Cyclones won the first meeting, 73-63, on Feb. 8 and will be looking to sweep the regular season series for the first time since 2017.