Understaffed Wildcat basketball loses to Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State competes against K-State at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas, on Jan. 9, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Scott Weaver)

The Kansas State basketball team did not have the firepower it needed to outscore Oklahoma State Saturday evening. The Cowboys routed the Wildcats 70-54 in Manhattan.

The Wildcats shot only 36 percent for the contest and were an abysmal 6-24 from three-point range. They did themselves no favors from the free-throw line either, making only 6-of-12.

For K-State’s part, they were down to only six scholarship players. Freshmen Nijel Pack and Seryee Lewis were held out to join four Wildcats that missed significant minutes due to injuries.

“I feel for Nijel. If I’ve had one guy that’s been diligent and disciplined about his mask … I think he’s done a great job with that,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “To lose him makes it really tough. I feel for Seryee, this is his second or third contact tracing.”

That opened the door for freshman guard Rudi Williams to make his first career start. He and senior guard Mike McGuirl played all 40 minutes, freshman Selton Miguel and sophomore DaJuan Gordon played 39 a piece as well.

“I knew I was going to have to step up. Other guys had to step up as well. We tried our best,” Williams said.

It also let walk-on sophomore forward Joe Petrakis to score his first basket of his K-State career. The Wichita native put down six points and grabbed a pair of rebounds in 15 minutes.

“That’s a dream come true right there. I grew up a K-State fan,” Petrakis said. “I wish we would have won the game. We were shorthanded, but we really fought out there.”

The undermanned Wildcats came out of the gate hot and hung with Oklahoma State through most of the first half before their lack of depth started to show up. OSU finished the half on an 8-0 run.

“Our mentality was like ‘Why not us?’ We’re shorthanded, whatever.’ They’re a young team. We had opportunities, they went on that run, we didn’t come back from it,” Petrakis said. “We had opportunities to win that game shorthanded. The score at the end doesn’t really show how hard we fought the whole game.”

Part of that depth problem was foul trouble. True freshman forward Davion Bradford was the only starter who played fewer than 39 minutes. He finished the night with 4 points, one rebound and four fouls in only 12 minutes.

When Bradford came out of the game, the Cowboys fed the post on offense and the back-ups were outmanned. The Wildcats were outscored in the paint 42-28.

“He’s a young big guy, he’s still figuring it out. To their credit: Go at him, get him in foul trouble. Obviously, it put us in a bind.”

The Big 12 Conference’s leading scorer from OSU, freshman Cade Cunningham, only scored five points on 1-3 shooting from the field. He added five assists and six rebounds in 31 minutes of play.

“We made [Cunningham] be a passer. That was our whole thing, and he’s a great passer,” Weber said. “Cade’s a very, very good player. Our guys did a great job.”

K-State’s leading scorer was McGuirl with 15 points. Gordon added his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

K-State will be shorthanded again for a Wednesday night date with Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, an alumnus from Olathe, Kansas. I graduated in spring 2022 with a Masters in Mass Communication, and I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. I covered K-State sports for the Collegian for four years.