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Strong Defensive Effort Propels K-State Past Iowa State, 61-56

K-State Athletics ReleaseMarch 6, 2021

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State used its stingy defense to continue its momentum to end the season, as the Wildcats concluded their home schedule with a 61-56 win over Iowa State in front of a limited capacity crowd of 899 fans at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

K-State held Iowa State to just 35.8 percent (19-of-53) shooting, including 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from 3-point range, while forcing 16 turnovers. The Cyclones shot just 30.8 percent (8-of-26) in the second half, including 13.3 percent (2-of-15) from long range, with 13 of their 31 points coming from the free throw line.

The Wildcats (8-19, 4-14 Big 12) finished the regular season with 3 wins in their last 4 games, including a 62-57 win over No. 7/8 Oklahoma on February 23. In that span, the team has held all 4 teams to 65 points or less, including 60 or less in the 3 victories (TCU, Oklahoma and Iowa State).

K-State is now 92-10 under head coach Bruce Weber when holding an opponent to 60 points or less, including a 6-1 mark in 2020-21. The team has held 4 of their last 5 opponents under 60 points.

The defensive effort made up for a poor shooting night, as the Wildcats hit on just 38 percent (19-of-50) of their field goals, including 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from 3-point range. The team started off strong in the first half, scoring 33 points on 48.1 percent (13-of-27), including 36.4 percent (4-of-11) from long range. However, the team struggled in the second half, making just 26.1 percent (6-of-23) from the field, including 23.1 percent (3-of-13) from 3-point range.

K-State did score 15 points off the 16 turnovers by ISU and were efficient from the free throw line, knocking down 66.7 percent (16-of-24) of its attempts, including 81.3 percent (13-of-16) in the second half.

Senior Mike McGuirl was one of three Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 17 points on 3-of-9 field goals and 9-of-10 free throws in 38 minutes, while sophomore DaJuan Gordon and freshman Nijel Pack added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Freshman Selton Miguel had a solid night with 9 points, a team-tying 5 rebounds and season-best 7 assists in 36 minutes.

Two Cyclones – seniors Jalen Coleman-Lands (19) and Solomon Young (18) – combined for 37 of the team’s 56 points on 13-of-26 field goals and 8-of-10 free throws, while the other 7 players managed just 19 points on 6-of-27 shooting and 5-of-8 free throws. Junior Javan Johnson grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

With the win, K-State swept the regular-season series with Iowa State for the first time since 2017-18.

KEY STRETCH(ES)

After back-to-back 3-pointers gave Iowa State an early lead, K-State used a 13-4 run to take a 22-14 advantage and force a timeout by head coach Steve Prohm. Four different Wildcats recorded field goals in the run, including 4 points each by sophomore DaJuan Gordon and freshman Selton Miguel.

K-State finished off the first half by scoring 8 of the last 12 points to earn its first halftime lead of 2021 at 33-25.

A 3-pointer from freshman Nijel Pack gave the Wildcats a 37-25 lead just minutes into the second half, but the Cyclones responded with a 10-1 run, most of it coming from the free throw line (6-of-7), to cut the lead to 38-35 with 13:34 to play.

Senior Mike McGuirl knocked down a pair of free throws to snap the scoreless streak and ignite a 7-0 run that extended K-State’s lead to 45-35 and force another ISU timeout with 9:44 remaining. Miguel ended a field goal drought with a big 3-pointer following the McGuirl free throws.

Back-to-back baskets by ISU cut the deficit to 46-41 with 6:31 to play, causing a timeout by head coach Bruce Weber. McGuirl responded with a pair of free throws followed by a layup by sophomore Kaosi Ezeagu to push the Wildcats back ahead 50-41 with just over 5 minutes remaining.

McGuirl hit a big 3-pointer to extend the lead to 57-47 with 1:41 to play then combined with Gordon to salt away the victory with 4 consecutive free throws in the last 52 seconds.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME

Senior Mike McGuirl scored a team-high 17 points on 3-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range, and 9-of-10 free throws in nearly 38 minutes. He has a team-leading 19 double-digit scoring game.

Sophomore DaJuan Gordon scored 12 points on 3-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-4 from long range, and 4-of-6 free throws to go with a team-tying 5 rebounds and a team-high 2 steals in 21 minutes.

Freshman Selton Miguel enjoyed solid all-around game with 9 points on 4-of-9 field goals, including a big 3-pointer in the second half, to go with a team-leading 7 assists and a team-tying 5 rebounds in 36 minutes.

STAT OF THE GAME

35.8 – K-State held Iowa State to 35.8 percent (19-of-53) shooting, including 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from 3-point range in the game. In the second half alone, the Cyclones shot just 30.8 percent (8-of-26) from the field, including 13.3 percent (2-of-15) from long range.

IN THEIR WORDS

K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber

On the game…

“I’m just happy for our guys. They’ve endured, persevered. They’ve been resilient. We shot the ball pretty well in the first half. I was hoping that would continue in the second half. Obviously, it didn’t. The thing they’ve done is that they haven’t quit. They’ve gotten way better on defense. This is the fourth time in the last five games that we’ve held a team in the 50s. The defense is playing hard. I thought we moved the ball pretty well. This is what I expect. You’ve gotta play hard, defend at a high level and then share the basketball. I thought we moved it pretty well. I thought we had a little sticky fingers second half and tried to make some plays. Credit to Steve (Prohm) and their team, because they’ve had a long week. They’re missing probably their best player, and they battled. Defensively, that’s as good as they’ve been, especially in the second half with (Tyler) Harris’ pressure and (Tre) Jackson’s pressure. It really bothered us. Mike (McGuirl) was big time. He got the ball against the press. He made the free throws and hit a big three. Selton (Miguel) swung it finally. He had a great line with nine points, seven assists and five rebounds. DaJuan (Gordon), after a good start, had some little fouls and has foul trouble, but he comes back with a big steal down the stretch and then makes that one free throw. It’s just a good team win.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE

  • K-State is now 8-19 on the season, including 4-14 in Big 12 play… The Wildcats finish in ninth place in the league standings… The team has won 3 of their last 4 after a 13-game losing streak.
  • K-State is now 143-90 all-time against Iowa State, including 83-28 at home… The Wildcats sweep the season series from the Cyclones for the first time since 2017-18.
  • The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of freshman Nijel Pack, senior Mike McGuirl, sophomore DaJuan Gordon, freshman Selton Miguel, and freshman Davion Bradford… This is the most used starting lineup, having been used in 9 games… This is the 15th time this season that the Wildcats have started 3 true freshmen… McGuirl has now started all 27 games this season and has the longest current active start streak at 32 games… He is the only player to start all 27 games.
  • Freshman Nijel Pack returned to the lineup after missing the West Virginia (2/27/21

Team Notes

  • K-State scored its 61 points on 38 percent (19-of-50) shooting, including 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from 3-point range, while connecting on 66.7 percent (16-of-24) from the free throw line.
  • Iowa State scored its 56 points on 35.8 percent (19-of-53) shooting, including 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from 3-point range, while knocking down 72.2 percent (13-of-18) from the free throw line.
  • K-State is now 92-10 under head coach Bruce Weber when holding an opponent to 60 points or less, including 6-1 in 2020-21… The Wildcats have held 4 of the 5 opponents under 60 points.
  • K-State led for 37 minutes and 59 seconds… It marked the largest time in the lead since leading for 39 minutes and 16 seconds vs. Jacksonville (12/21/20).
  • K-State scored 15 points off 16 Iowa State turnovers, including 5 steals.
  • Iowa State held a 41-28 advantage on the boards, including 10 offensive rebounds… The Wildcats held the Cyclones to just 5 second-chance points… The 3 offensive rebounds by K-State tied for the fewest.
  • K-State led 33-25 at the half as the Wildcats hit on 48.1 percent (13-of-27) from the field.
  • K-State is now 6-1 when leading at the half… It marked the first time the Wildcats led at halftime since the Omaha game (12/29/20).

Player Notes

  • Senior Mike McGuirl scored a team-high 17 points on 3-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range, and 9-of-10 free throws to go with a team-tying 5 rebounds in nearly 38 minutes… He has now led the team in scoring in 13 career games, including a team-leading 11 this season… He has now scored in double figures in 29 career games, including a team-leading 19 this season.
  • Sophomore DaJuan Gordon scored 12 points on 3-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and 4-of-6 free throws to go with a team-tying 5 rebounds and a team-high 2 steals in just 21 minutes due to foul problem… He has now scored in double figures in 18 career games, including 12 this season.
  • Freshman Nijel Pack scored 10 points on 4-of-12 field goals, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range, to go with 2 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal in 36 minutes… He has now scored in double figures in 14 games.
  • Freshman Selton Miguel enjoyed a solid line with 9 points on 4-of-9 field goals with a team-high 7 assists and a team-tying 5 rebounds in 36 minutes… His 7 assists tied a season-high, while it marked the seventh time leading the team in assists.

WHAT’S NEXT

K-State has locked up the No. 9 seed in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will play in the first game against No. 8 seed TCU (12-12, 5-10 Big 12) on Wednesday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m., CT on ESPN. The teams split their 2 regular-season meetings with the Horned Frogs winning 67-60 in Manhattan on Jan. 2 and the Wildcats winning 62-54 in Fort Worth on Feb. 20.

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

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