Men’s basketball closes out tight game against the Cowboys

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Junior guard Markquis Nowell drives the ball against Oklahoma State during K-State's 71-68 victory on Feb. 2, 2022. (Kendall Spencer | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: A tip-in basket by Mark Smith was incorrectly attributed to Davion Bradford at the time of this post’s original release. The stats have been changed to correctly fit the stat line. The Collegian apologizes for this error.

In an electric atmosphere in Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday, Feb. 2, the Kansas State men’s basketball team (11-10, 3-6) was clutch down the stretch, defeating Oklahoma State 71-68.

The game was tied 62-62 with 6:30 to play after super-senior Mark Smith drew an intentional foul, hit a pair of free throws, then completed an “and-one” on the next possession. This was part of a stretch where Smith scored nine-straight points for the Wildcats.

Both teams’ defenses defended well over the last six minutes. With a minute to go, junior Markquis Nowell hit two free throws, tying the game at 68 apiece.

The Cowboys’ Bryce Thompson — who finished with 22 points on the night — was fouled with 38.4 seconds remaining, sending him to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. Thompson, who is shooting 70 percent from the line on the season, missed the front-end shot, giving K-State the ball back with the game tied.

The Wildcats took the shot clock all the way down on offense, ending with a missed Markquis Nowell three-pointer. Sophomore guard Nijel Pack was able to get a jump-ball on the rebound, giving K-State the ball with 6.1 seconds remaining.

After a busted inbounds play under the offensive basket, K-State threw the ball over the defense to Pack. Pack took a couple of dribbles forward, put up a deep three and hit nothing but net.

The Wildcats defended the Cowboys in the full court with 2.2 seconds remaining, securing the 71-68 victory. Pack finished the game with 22 points on 9-17 shooting.

“I knew I had to get something up: we didn’t want to go to overtime,” Pack said about his last shot. “I was confident in the shot … I knew I got the separation I wanted.”

Alongside Pack’s game-leading 22 points, Smith finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, Nowell finished with 12 points and super-senior Mike McGuirl finished with six points and ten rebounds. The four staters all played 33+ minutes in the game.

“That’s the guys you depend on,” head coach Bruce Weber said about the playing time. “Guys you trust and are playing well — we had to go with them.”

Sophomores Davion Bradford, Luke Kasubke and Ish Massoud provided five, three and two points, respectively.

The win pushes K-State’s record to 2-4 in Big 12 play in games decided by three points or less.

“It’s just going to be more happy for our guys,” Weber said. “We’ve lost some heartbreakers, and we got one back tonight.”

Looking ahead, K-State travels to TCU on Saturday, Feb. 5, in a revenge match-up after K-State gave up a late lead to the Horned Frogs on Jan. 12 at home. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPNU, with a recap on the Collegian after the game.

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