Mike McGuirl's big night lifts Kansas State over No. 7 Oklahoma, 62-57

Senior guard's three straight 3-pointers propel K-State to upset win

Arne Green
Salina Journal
Kansas State's DaJuan Gordon (3) and Mike McGuirl (00) celebrate their 62-57 victory over No. 7-ranked Oklahoma on Tuesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Mike McGuirl has never been shy about his shot, so he sure as heck wasn't going to hold back on senior night with a game on the line.

Good thing for the Kansas State Wildcats that he didn't.

McGuirl hit four second-half 3-pointers, including three straight in the last 3 1/2 minutes Tuesday night as the Wildcats came from behind to stun No. 7-ranked Oklahoma, 62-57, at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.

"I like to let it fly," said McGuirl, who pulled K-State within three at 53-50 with 3:31 left, then tied it at the 2:48 mark and put the Wildcats in front for good, 56-53, with 2:14 on the clock. "I was feeling good, and a lot of time in the gym.

"I trusted myself, trusted the work that I put in with my teammates and my coaches, and shots were able to fall. I just believed, that's it."

As K-State's lone senior, McGuirl was honored before what was the Wildcats' last scheduled home game. They have since picked up a makeup game with Iowa State, set for March 6 at Bramlage.

"I'm so happy. I'm so happy for me and my teammates (and) my coaches," McGuirl said after the Wildcats picked up their second straight victory on the heels of a 13-game losing streak. "It's a blessing to be able to have this happen.

"You wish it was the whole season, but man, this was special. It was a great, great game."

McGuirl finished with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, plus seven rebounds and two steals.

With the victory, K-State improved to 7-18 overall and 3-13 in the Big 12. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Oklahoma (14-6, 9-5), which had won eight of its previous nine.

K-State came back from a seven-point first-half deficit to get even at 29 at halftime and led by seven early in the second period, but faced a six-point deficit when OU's De'Vion Harmon's free throw made it 53-47 with 3:57 left.

That's when McGuirl went to work, scoring nine straight. DaJuan Gordon completed the 11-0 run by hopping over fallen teammate Davion Bradford in the lane and scoring underneath for a 58-53 cushion at the 1:15 mark.

Kansas State guard DaJuan Gordon (3) hops over teammate Davion Bradford (21) to score between Oklahoma's Elijah Harkless (24) and Kur Kuath (52) in the second half Tuesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

"When I caught it, I tried to go to the middle, but Davion fell and got hurt, so I didn't want to travel, so I did my hop-stepped over him," said Gordon, who later sealed the victory with a pair of free throws. "I (checked) to see if the big guy (OU's Kur Kuath) would jump, and he kind of jumped backwards and I laid it up.

"But if he would have jumped for it, I would have jumped into him."

Bradford tweaked his knee when slipping at the edge of the lane before Gordon made his move. He left the game, but K-State coach Bruce Weber said it did not appear to be serious.

Austin Reaves, who led all scorers with 25 points for Oklahoma, ended K-State's run with two straight baskets, the second one cutting the lead to 58-57 with 16.1 seconds left. But Nijel Pack made both ends of a one-and-one from the free throw line to push it back to three, and after Reaves missed a long 3-point try, Gordon iced it with two more foul shots.

Gordon, who had come off the bench the previous two games since returning from a foot injury, was back in the starting lineup against the Sooners and responded with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Bradford kept the Wildcats in the game in the first half, scoring nine of his 13 points before the break and finishing with eight rebounds.

But the night belonged to McGuirl, who was recognized before the game, even though under the NCAA's COVID-19 provision, he is eligible to return next year if he chooses.

"The past couple of days I've really reflected on my time here, and I'm truly blessed to be in this position that I am in," he said. "It's been a great four years.

"So tonight I wasn't even focused on me. I just wanted to win. That's what I told my teammates. Man, I've got the greatest teammates anybody could have, and they did their part — we all did our part."

The Wildcats needed all hands on deck with just seven scholarship players available. Antonio Gordon was out with a foot injury suffered in Saturday's victory over TCU, backup point guard Rudi Williams is sidelined with a hand injury and Carlton Linguard hurt his knee at TCU.

Pack was limited to nine points on 2 of 12 shooting, but had nine assists, and Selton Miguel drew the defensive assignment on Reaves.

In addition to Reaves, OU got 13 points from Harmon.

K-State next travels to West Virginia for a 3 p.m. Saturday, then has a week off before the makeup game with Iowa State, which was announced by the Big 12 on Tuesday. That game originally was scheduled for Jan. 13, but was postponed when K-State did not have enough players available because of injuries and COVID-19 protocols.