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.