ANALYSIS: McGuirl dominated on both sides of the ball in 64-59 loss to Oklahoma State

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Junior guard Mike McGuirl passes the ball during K-State’s men’s basketball game against Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2020. The Cowboys took the Wildcats 64-59. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

In a battle for crucial leverage in the Big 12 tournament, the Wildcats dropped the first matchup against Oklahoma State in a 64-59 loss on Tuesday night. Despite the loss, K-State managed to lock down the Cowboy’s leading scorers thanks to a standout performance from junior guard Mike McGuirl.

The Wildcats contained the Cowboy’s sophomore guard Isaac Likekele and senior guard Lindy Waters exceptionally well. Likekele was held to only six points, which is well-below his season average and his lowest scoring night this month. Waters was held to 12 points, most of which came in the second half.

McGuirl defended Likekele for most of the game. Even though the stats said otherwise, McGuirl was able to keep the Wildcats’ head in the game.

McGuirl was a lifeline offensively and provided life for K-State amid the foul trouble that they faced in the first half. Mike McGuirl had the highest floor percentage of the team, at 56 percent.

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“It was good for Mike to come back, and he gave us good minutes and gave us a chance,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said.

McGuirl played 31 minutes off the bench for the Wildcats, which was the most minutes since returning from a concussion received playing against Alabama.

It has been a tough, frustrating stretch for the Wildcats who are starting the second half of the season on a four-game skid — especially frustrating for the team leaders like McGuirl.

“This was a game that we sort of expected and hoped to win. We didn’t do so, it’s very, very frustrating,” McGuirl said.

The frustration was evident among K-State coaches and players who are now six games below .500 and now have hit the bottom of the conference.

The Wildcats will try to gain some much need momentum as they travel to Fort Worth to face TCU on Saturday, which will be the final Saturday on the road. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. on ESPN+.

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