MANHATTAN, Kan. – Senior Mike McGuirl scored 16 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, including a string of 3 consecutive 3-pointers with under 4 minutes to play, as Kansas State rallied to knock off No. 7/8 Oklahoma, 62-57, in front of a limited capacity crowd of 896 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Playing his Senior Night in a usually-festive, but sparce Bramlage Coliseum due to fan restrictions in the COVID-19 era, McGuirl played arguably his most impactful game of the season when it mattered most, helping K-State (7-18, 3-13 Big 12) overcome a 6-point deficit with less 4 minutes to play.
With the Sooners leading 53-47 with 3:57 to play after sophomore De’Vion Harmon made 1 of 2 free throws, McGuirl went on a memorable run of 3 straight possessions with a 3-pointer, starting at the 3:33 mark to close to within 3. He tied it with his second triple 42 seconds later then gave the Wildcats the lead for good with his third with 2:14 to play. He finished the night 7-of-13 from the field, including a career-best 5 3-pointers.
Sophomore DaJuan Gordon gave K-State a 58-53 advantage with a nifty layup around a defender with 1:15 to play before senior Austin Reaves converted on back-to-back layups to close the gap to 58-57 with 16 seconds to play. With only 3 team fouls, the Wildcats had to inbound the ball on 3 consecutive possessions before freshman Nijel Pack was sent to the free throw line for a 1-and-1 with 13 seconds remaining. Pack nailed both free throws for a 60-57 lead, giving Oklahoma one last chance to send the game to overtime.
However, K-State’s defense was locked in, forcing Reaves to take a contested 3-pointer that was eventual knocked out of bounds by the Sooners to give the possession to the Wildcats. Gordon was fouled with less than 2 seconds and calmly hit both free throws to close out the game, 62-57.
K-State, which posted consecutive wins for the first time since December, has now beaten at least one Top 25 opponent in each of the last 15 seasons, including each of the nine seasons under head coach Bruce Weber. Weber now has 27 wins against Top 25 opponents in his tenure with seven coming against ranked Oklahoma teams. The victory was also the 10th by Weber against a Top 10 foe, enabling him to tie Hall of Fame head coach Fred “Tex” Winter for the most by any head coach in school history.
The loss snapped Oklahoma’s 3-game winning streak, as the Sooners (14-6, 9-5 Big 12) lost to the Wildcats for the ninth consecutive season at Bramlage Coliseum. They have not won in Manhattan since a 63-60 win in 2012.
McGuirl was joined in double figures by freshman Davion Bradford (13) and Gordon, who collected his team-leading fourth double-double with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Freshman Nijel Pack added 9 points and dished out a career-high 9 assists in 38 minutes. It was the most assists by a true freshman since Marcus Foster had 10 against Baylor in 2014.
Reaves led all scorers with 25 points but had to do it on 18 attempts in 32 minutes, while Harmon added 13 points on 6-of-13 field goals. The rest of the team combined for 19 points on 7-of-25 shooting.
K-State finished at 38.6 percent (22-of-57) from the field, including 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from 3-point range, but knock down 11 of 13 attempts from the free throw line.
Defense was once again key for the Wildcats, which held Oklahoma to 39.3 percent shooting (22-of-56), including 20.0 percent (4-of-20) from 3-point range.
Down by as many as 7 points in the first half, K-State clawed its way into a 29-all tie at the half by scoring 18 of the last 29 points. The Wildcats converted on 4 free throws on a shooting foul and technical on Reaves then got 3-pointers from senior Mike McGuirl and sophomore DaJuan Gordon down the stretch.
K-State used a 9-0 run moments into the second half to take its largest lead at 38-31 with just under 15 minutes to play but Oklahoma responded with an 11-2 run of its own to regain the lead at 44-40 and force a timeout by head coach Bruce Weber with 8:05 to play.
The Wildcats were able to tie it up at 47-all, but the Sooners scored 6 straight to make it 53-47 with under 4 minutes to play. It was at this point that McGuirl caught fire, converting on 3 consecutive 3-pointers that gave K-State the lead for good at 56-53 with 2:14 remaining. A Gordon layup and 2 free throws each from freshman Nijel Pack and Gordon finished off the 15-4 run to end the game.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Mike McGuirl scored a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 field goals, including a career-best 5-of-9 from 3-point range, to go with 7 rebounds and 2 steals in nearly 39 minutes. He scored 16 of 19 points in the second half on 6-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Sophomore DaJuan Gordon collected his team-leading fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and game-tying 10 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Freshman Davion Bradford posted his 13 points on 6-of-7 field goals to go with 8 rebounds in 32 minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME
57 – K-State held Oklahoma to 18 points under its scoring average (75.8 ppg.) on 39.3 percent shooting (22-of-56), including 20 percent (4-of-20) from 3-point range. The Sooners were held to just 32.3 percent (10-of-31) in the second half, including 20 percent (2-of-10) from long range.
IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“Obviously just thrilled for Mike McGuirl. A week ago when we played Kansas, he was devastated. You work your way in your career to get opportunities to play top-level teams. You play Kansas here in the Sunflower Showdown, and he didn’t play very well and he knew it. Now to come back in back-to-back games and be a big difference maker. I couldn’t be happier for him and proud of him. I hope this isn’t truly his Senior Day. It’s obviously going to be one he’s going to remember. The last thing I told the guys today after shootaround was, ‘I want you guys to be the leadoff on SportsCenter’. They’ve have to be one of the first stories. Our defense has been unbelievable. Three games in a row, we’ve held teams in the 50s. That’s given us a chance, and we were almost in the same position as we were at TCU, down 5 with about five minutes left. In that huddle, I just told them to look at me. ‘All it takes is a score and two stops and we can get back into this thing.’ They only scored one field goal down the stretch and Mike with the big 3-pointers. Then to get the ball in-bounds, pretty amazing. You have one freshman getting the ball into another freshman, and you’ve gotta get it in four times. Nijel (Pack) makes those two free throws, and DaJuan (Gordon) makes them. We did a great job on defense to give us a chance down the stretch. I thought Davion (Bradford) was exceptional, 13 and 8 and a plus-15 overall when he was in there. I’ll be honest, Sunday Antonio (Gordon) came in and said his foot was messed up. Rudi’s (Williams) hand is messed up. Carlton’s (Linguard) knee was messed up. DaJuan couldn’t even get his shoe on. We didn’t know if we’d even have enough players. You have to give DaJuan some credit, 11 and 10, double-double. Nijel, not his best scoring night, but nine assists and made those two big free throws. Then Selton (Miguel), he’s grabbed that niche. I know (Austin) Reaves scored, but he made it tough on him the whole time.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State is now 7-18 on the season, including 3-13 in Big 12 play… The Wildcats won back-to-back games for the first time in the calendar year 2021 and the first time since December 21 and 29.
- K-State is now 120-272 all-time against Top 25 opponents, including an 9-11 mark vs. the AP’s No. 7 ranked team… The win snapped a 15-game losing streak against ranked teams, including 0-10 in 2020-21.
- K-State now has at least one Top 25 win every season since 2006-07.
- Head coach Bruce Weber is now 60-112 all-time against Top 25 opponents, including 27-61 at K-State… The 27 wins against Top 25 opponents are the most by any head coach in school history… He now has 10 career Top 10 wins at K-State, tying Fred “Tex” Winter for the most by any head coach in school history… Seven of his 27 Top 25 wins are against ranked Oklahoma teams.
- K-State played its 11th Top 25 opponent of the season, which ties for the third-most by a team in school history and the most since the 2015-16 team played a school-record 14.
- K-State is now 103-110 all-time against Oklahoma, including a 64-36 mark at home… The Wildcats have now won 9 straight over the Sooners at Bramlage Coliseum… The series is tied 18-all in the Big 12 era.
- The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of senior Mike McGuirl, freshman Nijel Pack, freshman Selton Miguel, sophomore DaJuan Gordon and freshman Davion Bradford… This is the eighth time using this lineup and the eighth lineup employed this season… This is the 14th time this season that the Wildcats have started 3 true freshmen… McGuirl has now started all 25 games this season and has the longest current active start streak at 30 games… Pack has started all 21 games in which he has played.
- Three Wildcats – Antonio Gordon, Carlton Linguard, Jr., and Rudi Williams – missed the game due to injury… It was the fifth game missed by Gordon and Linguard and the second straight by Williams.
- K-State scored its 62 points on 38.6 percent (22-of-57) shooting, including 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from 3-point range, while connecting on 84.6 percent (11-of-13) from the free throw line.
- Oklahoma scored its 57 points on 39.3 percent (22-of-56) shooting, including 20 percent (4-of-20) from 3-point range, while knocking down 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from the free throw line… The Sooners were held to 28 points on 32.3 percent (10-of-31) shooting in the second half, including 20 percent (2-of-10) from 3.
- K-State is now 91-10 under head coach Bruce Weber when holding an opponent to 60 points or less, including 5-1 in 2020-21… The Wildcats have held 3 straight opponents under 60 points.
- K-State held a 38-33 advantage on the boards, including 11 offensive rebounds… The Wildcats have held the rebounding advantage in 13 games, including 5 times in the last 6 games.
- K-State held a 16-9 advantage on second-chance points, which came via 11 offensive rebounds.
- K-State scored 15 points off 12 Oklahoma turnovers, including 5 steals.
- The teams were tied 29-all at the half as 6 different Wildcats had at least one made field goal.
- K-State was tied at the half for the second straight game after trailing in 13 consecutive games.
- Senior Mike McGuirl scored 19 points on 7-of-13 field goals, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, to go with 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in 39 minutes… He has now led the team in scoring in 12 career games, including a team-leading 10 this season… He has now scored in double figures in 27 career games, including a team-leading 17 this season… His 5 3-point field goals are a career-high.
- Freshman Davion Bradford scored 13 points on 6-of-7 field goals to go with 8 rebounds in a career-best 32 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 8 games this season, including 7 times in Big 12 play.
- Sophomore DaJuan Gordon collected his team-leading fourth double-double with 11 points on 3-of-10 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws to go with 10 rebounds in 37 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 17 career games, including 11 this season… He posted double-digit rebounds for the fifth time this season, including the third time in Big 12 play.
- Freshman Nijel Pack nearly posted a double-double with 9 points on 2-of-12 shooting, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range, but dished out a season-high 9 assists to go with 4 rebounds in 38 minutes… The 9 assists tie for the third-most by a freshman in a game and the most since Marcus Foster had 10 against Baylor on Feb. 15, 2014.
K-State plays its last road game of the season on Saturday with yet another Top 10 matchup, as the Wildcats travel to Morgantown, W.Va., to take on No. 10/13 West Virginia (16-6, 9-4 Big 12) at 3 p.m., CT on ESPN2. The Mountaineers are looking to sweep the regular-season series for the first time since the 2017-18 season after posting a 69-47 win over the Wildcats in Manhattan on Jan. 23.