Game Preview // K-State Travels to 10/13 West Virginia Saturday


GAME 26
KANSAS STATE (7-18, 3-13 Big 12) vs. 10/13 WEST VIRGINIA (16-6, 9-4 Big 12)
Saturday, February 27, 2021 >> 3:05 p.m. CT >> WVU Coliseum (14,000) >> Morgantown, W.Va.
 
TELEVISION
ESPN2 / WatchESPN

  • Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play)
  • Fran Fraschilla (analyst)
  • Jeff Graham (producer)

 
RADIO
K-State Sports Network

Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
XM 388 // Internet 978
Online: TuneIn.com [free] / www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]

 
LIVE STATS
www.WVUSports.com
wvu.statbroadcast.com [media only]
 
TICKETS
WVU Coliseum is open to approximately 20 percent capacity (2,800). Anyone entering the arena must wear face coverings over their mouths and noses and continue wearing them inside the arena at all times.
 
COACHES
Kansas State: Bruce Weber (Wis.-Milwaukee ’78)
Overall: 481-283/23rd season
At K-State: 168-128/9th season
vs. West Virginia: 7-11 (2-6 on the road)
 
West Virginia: Bob Huggins (West Virginia ’77)
Overall: 897-378/39th season
Record at WVU: 307-167/14th season
vs. K-State: 12-7 (6-2 at home)
 
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (7-18)
G: #21 Nijel Pack
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #2 Selton Miguel
F: #11 Antonio Gordon
F: #21 Davion Bradford
 
West Virginia (16-6)
G: #4 Miles McBride
G: #22 Sean McNeil
F: #11 Emmitt Matthews, Jr.
F: #2 Jalen Bridges
F: #1 Derek Culver
 
SERIES HISTORY
Overall: West Virginia leads 12-8
Current Streak: West Virginia, 2
In Big 12 Play: West Virginia leads 11-7
In Morgantown: West Virginia leads 6-3
At WVU Coliseum: West Virginia leads 6-2
Last Meeting: L, 47-69 [1/23/21 at Manhattan, Kan.]
Weber vs. Huggins: 9-11 [2-6 on the road]
 
OPENING TIP

  • Kansas State (7-18, 3-13 Big 12) plays its last road game this weekend, 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 at WVU Coliseum. Saturday’s game continues a challenging stretch for the Wildcats, as the Mountaineers will represent the 12th ranked opponent, including the 10th in the last 12 games. WVU will be looking to sweep the series for the first time since 2018 after posting a 69-47 win in Manhattan on Jan. 23, while the Wildcats have just one win in their last 7 visits. Saturday’s game will air on ESPN2 with Rich Hollenberg (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) on the call.
  • The 12 games against Top 25 foes represent the third-most in a single-season and only trail the 14 in 2015-16 and 13 in 2014-15. The stretch includes a school-record 5 consecutive Top 25 opponents (No. 23/22 Kansas, No. 13/11 Texas Tech, No. 13/13 Texas, No. 23/22 Oklahoma State and No. 23/24 Kansas) from Feb. 2-17. The Wildcats snapped a pair of losing streaks in Tuesday’s win over No. 7/8 Oklahoma, halting a 15-game skid against ranked foes and a 7-game drought against ranked teams at home. K-State is 120-272 all-time vs. ranked opponents, which includes a 2-9 mark vs. the AP’s No. 10 ranked squad. Head coach Bruce Weber has a school-record 27 wins vs. Top 25 opponents, including a school-best 10 vs. Top 10 foes.
  • K-State collected its most impressive win of the season, as the Wildcats grinded out a 62-57 win over No. 7/8 Oklahoma on Tuesday night at home. It gave the squad consecutive wins for the first time since December, while snapping a 7-game skid at home. Mike McGuirl played arguably his most impactful game of the season on his Senior Night, rattling off 3 consecutive 3-pointers, starting at the 3:33 mark, to flip a 6-point deficit into a 3-point advantage with 2:14 to play. He finished with a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting with a career-best 5 triples.
  • Since scoring a season-low 2 points on 1-of-11 shooting in the 59-41 loss to No. 23/24 Kansas on Feb. 17, McGuirl has rebounded to average 17.5 points in the last 2 games on 48.1 percent shooting (13-of-27), including 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range, to go with 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He led the team in points (16), rebounds (9) and assists (5) in the win over TCU on Feb. 20.
  • Defense has played a pivotal role in the Wildcats’ recent success, as the team has held 3 straight opponents to less than 60 points, including 54 by TCU and 57 by No. 7/8 Oklahoma in the last 2 wins. During this 3-game span, K-State is holding foes to 56.7 points on 39.1 percent shooting, including 22.2 percent from 3-point range, while holding a +4.0 rebounding margin. The Wildcats have now held 101 opponents to 60 points or less during head coach Bruce Weber‘s tenure, boasting a 91-10 (.900) record in those contests, including 6 this season with a 5-1 mark.
  • Due to various issues this season, including injuries and COVID-related protocols, K-State has had to start 3 true freshmen (Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack) 14 games, including 11 of 16 Big 12 contests. The team has started at least 2 true freshmen in each of the last 19 games with Bradford and Pack each starting 21 games and Miguel starting 18. The Wildcats are one of 10 teams nationally to start at least 3 true freshmen in at least one game, while the 60 combined starts by true freshmen rank second nationally behind Kentucky’s 63 and just ahead of Washington State’s 58.

 
NOTES ON 10/13 WEST VIRGINIA (16-6, 9-4 Big 12)

  • No. 10/13 West Virginia (16-6, 9-4 Big 12) has been one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 5 of the last 6 games, including a recent 2-game road sweep of No. 14/16 Texas (84-82) and TCU (74-66).  
  • West Virginia is averaging 77.6 points on 43.2 percent shooting, including 36.8 percent from 3-point range, to go with 39.0 rebounds, 14.1 assists, 6.9 steals and 2.5 blocks per game, while allowing 72.1 points on 44 percent shooting, including 32.7 percent from 3-point range. They are connecting on 69.4 percent from the free throw line. The team is averaging 78.2 points on 43.9 percent shooting in Big 12 play, including 40.9 percent from 3-point, while is allowing 74.6 points on 45.9 percent shooting.
  • The Mountaineers are one of more balanced teams in the Big 12 with four players averaging in double figures led by Miles McBride’s 16.0 points per game. McBride is connecting on 43 percent from the field, including 42.7 percent from 3-point range, to go with team-highs in assists (4.7 apg.) and steals (1.7 spg.). Big man Derek Culver averages a double-double with 15.1 points and a Big 12-best 10.3 rebounds per game.
  • West Virginia is led by Hall of Fame head coach Bob Huggins, who has posted an 897-378 (.704) record in 39 years of coaching. His 897 victories rank fourth among all active Division I head coaches and sixth all-time. He has a 307-167 (.648) mark in his 14th season with the Mountaineers.

 
SERIES HISTORY

  • K-State and West Virginia will meet for the 21st time in their histories on Saturday with the Mountaineers owning a 12-8 advantage, including an 11-7 mark since the start of the Big 12.  
  • WVU has won 11 of the last 15 meetings with K-State, as the Mountaineers took advantage of a season-high 28 turnovers by the Wildcats to post a 69-47 in Manhattan on Jan. 23.
  • West Virginia leads the series at home, 6-3, which includes a 66-57 win over K-State on Feb. 1, 2020 in the last meeting at the WVU Coliseum.
  • Head coach Bruce Weber is 7-11 all-time against West Virginia, including a 2-6 mark on the road, while Weber is 9-11 vs. head coach Bob Huggins. Huggins is 12-7 all-time against K-State, including 6-2 mark at home.

 
LAST TIME OUT: K-STATE 62, 7/8 OKLAHOMA 57

  • 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 K-State rallied to knock off No. 7/8 Oklahoma, 62-57, at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.
  • 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.
  • However, K-State’s defense was locked in, forcing Reaves to take an off-balanced 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 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.
  • 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, while scoring 15 points off 12 Sooner turnovers.

 
INJURIES, YOUTH DEFINE SEASON SO FAR FOR K-STATE 

  • Very few teams in the country have had to deal with the mixture of injuries, COVID-19 protocols and youth quite like K-State has in 2020-21. Already one of the country’s most inexperienced teams with just 4 returning lettermen (only 4 schools have fewer) and 11 underclassmen (only 6 schools have more), the Wildcats have seen 9 different players combined to miss 65 games this season, while senior Mike McGuirl is the only player to start all 25 games with 8 different starting lineups.

 
GAMES MISSED IN 2020-21 [65]

 

  • K-State is one of just 10 schools (Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, James Madison, Marist, Montana North Carolina, Sacred Heart and Washington State) to start at least 3 true freshmen in one game, while the 60 combined starts by Wildcat true freshmen rank second nationally to Kentucky’s 63 and just ahead of Washington State’s 58.

 
A SPECIAL FRESHMAN

  • Freshman Nijel Pack is off to an impressive start to his K-State career, as he ranks among team leaders in several categories, including scoring (12.1 ppg./1st), double-digit scoring games (13/2nd), field goals (93/2nd), 3-point field goals made (47/2nd), assists (82/2nd), steals (25/1st) and minutes per game (33.5/2nd). He is attempting to become the first true freshman to lead the Wildcats in scoring since Marcus Foster averaged 15.5 points during the 2013-14 season.
  • Before missing the Oklahoma State game on Jan. 9, Pack had started to hit his scoring groove, scoring in double figures in 3 of 4 games, including a then season-high 17 points at No. 18/19 Texas Tech (1/5/21). He returned to the court against No. 2/2 Baylor on Jan. 27 and has continued his stellar play, rattling off double-digit scoring games in 7 of the last 9 games.
  • It was during this stretch that Pack came up  with a special performance in K-State’s 68-61 loss to Texas A&M in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge Jan. 30, as the rookie scored a season-high 26 points on 9-of-16 field goals, including  8-of-14 from 3-point range, to go with 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in just his second game back from missing 4 games due to COVID-19 protocols. 
  • Dating back to the Big 12 opener with TCU on Jan. 2, Pack has scored in double figures 9 of the last 11 games. In this 11-game span, he is averaging 14.1 points on 40.3 percent (54-of-134) shooting, including 37.7 percent (29-of-77) from 3-point range, with 3.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals.
  • The 26-point effort was the most by a Wildcat true freshman since Marcus Foster scored 34 points vs. Texas on Feb. 8, 2014. The 8 3-pointers tie for the second-most in a game in school history and are the most-ever by a Wildcat freshman. His 8 treys are only surpassed by Askia Jones’ school-record 14 against Fresno State on March 24, 1994, while Steve Henson (vs. Iowa State on Feb. 17, 1990) and Cortez Groves (vs. Texas A&M on March 23, 2000) also had 8 treys in a game.
  • Pack ranks fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made per game (2.24), as he has knocked down at least 3 triples in 9 games with a season-high 8 vs. Texas A&M (1/30/21). His 47 makes are the second-most by a true freshman in school history, while connecting on 37.3 percent from long range.
  • Pack has dished out 5 or more assists in 11 games, including a season-best 9 in the win over No. 7/8 Oklahoma on Tuesday. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 with a 2.05 assist/turnover ratio and is ninth in assists (9th/3.90).

 
McGUIRL DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES

  • Mike McGuirl is making the most of his senior season, as he is among the leaders in a number of categories, including first in total points (295), double-digit scoring games (17), field goals made (99) and attempted (274), 3-point field goals made (54) and attempted (162), assists (86) and minutes (34.3). He is second in scoring (11.8 ppg.) and steals (24).
  • McGuirl had a Senior Night to remember in Tuesday’s win over No. 7/8 Oklahoma, as he knocked down a career-best 5 3-pointers, including 3 in a row to help flip a 6-point deficit into a 3-point lead with 2:14 to play. He had 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, with 7 rebounds in 39 minutes.
  • McGuirl has led the team in scoring a team-best 10 times, while he has led in rebounding 3 times, in assists 11 times and in steals on 8 occasions. For the first time in his career, he led the team in scoring (16), rebounding (9) and assists (5) in the win over TCU (2/20/21).
  • McGuirl’s 17 double-digit scoring games have already surpassed his entire career total (10) that he had entering the 2020-21 season. He opened the year with his first career 20-point game vs. Drake on Nov. 25 with 22 points then equaled it vs. Fort Hays State (12/8/20). He has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 17 games, where he is averaging 11.6 points per game.
  • In addition to his scoring, McGuirl has also set up his teammates, dishing out a team-best 86 assists (to 65 turnovers). He has 9 games at least 5 assists this season, including a career-best 8 vs. Milwaukee (12/11/20).

 
MR. DO-EVERYTHING

  • Sophomore DaJuan Gordon has proved to be K-State’s Mr. Do Everything, as he is third on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game, while averaging 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He returned to the court against No. 23/24 Kansas on Feb. 17 after missing the last 4 games due to injury, scoring a team-high 12 points on 6-of-13 field goals.
  • Gordon is 1 of 4 guards to rank in the Big 12’s Top 15 in rebounding, as he is 13th with 5.6 per game, while he is 14th in defensive rebounds (4.2).
  • Gordon’s 4 double-doubles are the most by Big 12 guard and rank fifth among all Big 12 players. Gordon’s 4 career double-doubles have all come in the last 15 games played, including 3 in Big 12 play. He posted his first career double-double at Iowa State (12/15/20), scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He followed that with a 14-point, 11-rebound effort vs. Oklahoma State (1/9/21) before his latest in the win over No. 7/8 Oklahoma (2/23/21) with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He has grabbed double-digit rebounds in 5 games, including in back-to-back contests vs. Jacksonville (12/21/20) and Omaha (12/29/20). He is the first Wildcat to post double-digit rebounds in back-to-back games since Wesley Iwundu in March 2017.
  • Gordon has scored in double figures in 11 games this season, including a career-best 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting vs. TCU (1/2/21). Eight of those 11 double-digit scoring games have come in the last 15 games.

 
AGORDON LEARNING HIS ROLE

  • Despite an up-and-down season, sophomore Antonio Gordon is starting to settle into his role. He is averaging 5.8 points on 44.2 percent shooting with a team-best 5.7 rebounds, including 6.9 points on 49.3 percent shooting with a team-best 6.3 rebounds in Big 12 play.
  • Gordon came off the bench with a big game against No. 2/2 Baylor (12/19/20) by collecting a career-high 23 points on 9-of-9 field goals. The 23 points tie for the eighth-most by reserve in a conference game.
  • Before missing Tuesday’s game with No. 7/8 Oklahoma, Gordon had started each of the previous 6 games, averaging 7.3 points on 43.9 percent shooting with 8.7 rebounds in 32 minutes per game. He collected his first double-double at No. 23/22 Oklahoma State on Feb. 13, posting a team-high 15 points to go with a career-best 14 rebounds.

 
MIGUEL ANOTHER ROOKIE HAVING A SOLID YEAR

  • A starter in 18 of the last 20 games, freshman Selton Miguel is having a solid freshman campaign, averaging 7.2 points on 33.1 percent shooting, including 7.3 points on 32.2 percent shooting in Big 12 play. He is third on the team in 3-pointers (19), fourth in steals (21) and fifth in scoring.
  • Miguel’s 7 double-digit scoring games have come in the last 21 outings, including a team-tying 17 points vs. Milwaukee (12/11/20) and No. 18/19 Texas Tech (1/5/21). He broke out of a recent slump in the win at TCU (2/20/21), scoring 9 points with 7 of the team’s last 11 points.
  • Miguel connected on a 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds left to lift K-State to a 60-58 win over Omaha on Dec. 29.  It was the rookie’s first game-winner, as he capped his 11-point effort with his third trey of the game.

 
IMPRESSIVE YOUNG BIG MAN

  • When starting big man Kaosi Ezeagu went down early in the season, it gave freshman Davion Bradford an opportunity to display his skills and earn valuable experience. He is averaging 7.3 on a team-best 62.2 percent shooting (74-of-119) with 4.3 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game.
  • Bradford has scored in double figures in 8 games thus far, including scoring a season-high 18 points vs. Milwaukee (12/11/20). He also played a major role in the win at Iowa State (12/15/20) with 14 points on 5-of-7 field goals and a 4-of-4 effort from the line. He has scored in double figures 7 times in Big 12 play, including team-high 14 points at No. 4/4 Texas (1/16/21).
  • Bradford has already shown the ability to finish at the rim, totaling a team-high 31 dunks through 25 games, which is nearly double the team-high of 17 posted by Makol Mawien in 32 games played in 2019-20 season.

 
IRON ‘CATS

  • Due to low numbers caused by injuries and COVID-19 protocols, K-State had just 8 available players – including 6 on scholarship – for its outing against Oklahoma State at home on Saturday, Jan. 9. To make the situation worse, sophomore Carlton Linguard, Jr., was on a minutes’ limit due to a back injury (playing just over 14 minutes), while freshman Davion Bradford ended up playing just over 12 minutes due to foul issues.
  • This caused the remaining 6 to play the bulk of the minutes, including walk-on Joe Petrakis logging a career-high 15 minutes of action.  Senior Mike McGuirl and junior Rudi Williams each played all 40 minutes, setting career-highs, while two others – sophomore DaJuan Gordon and freshmen Selton Miguel – each registered 39 minutes, also career-highs. All told, those 4 players were responsible for 158 of K-State’s 200 total minutes.
  • McGuirl and Williams are the first Wildcats to play all 40 minutes of a regulation game since Barry Brown, Jr., played all 40 against Baylor on March 2, 2019. It marked the first time two teammates played all 40 minutes in a regulation game in more than 30 years since Steve Henson and LaKeith Humphrey accomplished the feat against Oklahoma State in a 69-62 win at home on Feb. 5, 1989.

 
PETRAKIS EARNS SCHOLARSHIP

  • Sophomore walk-on Joe Petrakis earned a scholarship for the rest of the 2020-21 season prior to the game with No. 14/15 West Virginia on Jan. 23.
  • After redshirting in 2019-20, Petrakis took advantage of his opportunity with the loss numbers against Oklahoma State on Jan. 9, outscoring freshman All-American candidate Cade Cunningham (6 points to 5 points), while logging a career-high 15 minutes of action.
  • Petrakis, who redshirt his first season in 2019-20 after playing one season at Dodge City College, scored his first career points with 6:13 left in the first half and finished with a career-high 6 points on 2-of-5 field goals, including his first 3-pointer, to go with 2 rebounds.

 
MURPHY EXPECTED TO MISS SEASON

  • Sophomore Montavious Murphy has elected to have what is expected to be season-ending surgery to fix his ailing knee, which has caused him to miss 21 games this season. Murphy, who was the opening day starter vs. Drake (11/25/20), saw action in 4 games, including the first 3.
  • Murphy, who became just the fourth true freshman to start an opener under Bruce Weber in 2019-20, has now missed 34 games in his career due to injury, including the last 6 games of his freshman season.
  • Murphy had a solid freshman season in 2019-20, averaging 5.2 points on 40.7 percent shooting with 3.7 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game.

 
UP NEXT: IOWA STATE (2-17, 0-14 Big 12)

  • K-State concludes the regular season with a rescheduled home game with Iowa State (2-17, 0-14 Big 12) on Saturday, March 6 at 4 p.m., CT on Big 12 Now. The game was suppose to be played on January 13 but was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The Wildcats won the first meeting, 74-65, in the Big 12 opener on Dec. 15, 2020 in Ames, Iowa.



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