KANSAS STATE (8-7, 0-4 Big 12) vs. 19/19 TEXAS TECH (13-3, 3-1 Big 12)
Saturday, January 15, 2022 >> 11:02 a.m. CT >> Bramlage Coliseum (11,643) >> Manhattan, Kan.
ESPN2 / ESPN App (Link)
- Ted Emrich (play-by-play)
- Tim Welsh (analyst)
- Steve Kurtenbach (producer)
K-State Sports Network
Flagships: // KMAN 1350 & WIBW 580
Satellite Radio: XM 380
Online: Varsity Network [free] / SXM 970 / www.kstatesports.com/watch [free]
(800) 221.CATS 
Single Game: $10, $15, $25
Kansas State: Bruce Weber [Wisconsin-Milwaukee ’78]
Record at K-State: 178-137/10th Year
Career Record: 491-292/24th Year
vs. Texas Tech: 8-10 [6-3 at home]
Texas Tech: Mark Adams [Texas Tech ’79]
Record at Texas Tech: 13-3/1st Year
Career Record: 567-247/24th Year
vs. K-State: 0-0 [0-0 on the road]
Overall: K-State leads 24-20
Current Streak: Texas Tech, 4
In Manhattan: K-State leads 16-5
At Bramlage Coliseum: K-State leads 12-5
Last Meeting: L, 62-73 [2/6/21 in Manhattan, Kan.]
Weber vs. Adams: 0-0 [0-0 at home]
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (8-7, 0-4 Big 12)
G: #1 Markquis Nowell
G: #3 Selton Miguel
G: #13 Mark Smith
G: #24 Nijel Pack
C: #21 Davion Bradford
Texas Tech (13-3, 3-1 Big 12)
G: #2 Davion Warren
G: #15 Kevin McCullar
G: #25 Adonis Arms
F: #0 Kevin Obanor
F: #11 Bryson Williams
K-STATE CONCLUDES HOMESTAND SATURDAY VS. 19/19 TEXAS TECH
- Kansas State (8-7, 0-4 Big 12) concludes a brief 2-game homestand with a Saturday morning tipoff against No. 19/19 Texas Tech (13-3, 3-1 Big 12) at 11 a.m., CT on ESPN2. The matchup will begin a gauntlet of 4 consecutive games against probable Top 25 opponents (at 21/22 Texas, 9/10 Kansas and at 1/1 Baylor) to finish off the first half of Big 12 play.
- K-State dropped another heartbreaker on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats surrendered a 5-point lead with 1:48 to play in a 60-57 loss to TCU. The Horned Frogs scored the last 8 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer from junior Damion Baugh with 11 seconds to play. It was the Wildcats’ fourth loss by 3 points or less this season.
- K-State is off to an 0-4 start in Big 12 play for the first time since 2019-20. The Wildcats are looking to snap a 12-game losing streak in the month of January with the last victory coming against Oklahoma on January 29, 2020.
- As the Wildcats wrap up their 2-game homestand on Saturday morning, they will again be attempting to win the 400th game in Bramlage Coliseum history. K-State is 399-140 (.740) all-time in the arena, including a 156-112 (.582) mark in conference games. The team is 6-3 at home this season.
- K-State once again endured a heartbreaking loss on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats fell to 0-4 this season in games decided by 3 or less, as they saw a 57-52 lead with 1:11 remaining vanish with TCU’s game-ending 8-0 run. The Wildcats seemed to be in control after junior Markquis Nowell’s layup with 1:48 to play. However, the Horned Frogs slowly chipped away at the deficit, getting a layup off of a miss from Emanuel Miller before Damion Baugh’s game-winning 3-pointer with 11 seconds. Mike Miles, Jr., finished it off with 2 free throws.
- Six of the Wildcats’ 7 losses have come by 25 points, including 8 points to both No. 13/12 Arkansas (64-72), No. 14/15 Illinois (64-72), 1 point to Marquette (63-64), 2 points to Oklahoma (69-71) and 3 points to both West Virginia (68-71) and TCU. The team is 0-5 when allowing 70 or more points.
- After playing short-handed in losses to No. 14/16 Texas (8 players) and West Virginia (9 players) and without head coach Bruce Weber, the Wildcats were nearly complete against TCU, playing without only fifth-year senior Mike McGuirl, who is expected back on Saturday after missing the last 2 games.
- K-State struggled offensively against TCU, matching its season-low with 57 points on 39.2 percent shooting, including 30 percent, while hitting on just 11 of 22 free throw attempts. The Wildcats entered the game, as one of the best free throw shooting teams in the Big 12 at more than 75 percent. The team also got zero points in transition, as the Horned Frogs had an 11-0 edge in fast-break points.
- The loss overshadowed an impressive effort by junior Markquis Nowell, who led the Wildcats in scoring (18), steals (7) and assists (4) in playing 34 minutes. Playing in just his second Big 12 game (after missing the first 2 due to health and safety protocols) Nowell scored in double figures for the 10th with his team-high 18 points on 7-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. His 7 steals tied for the most by a Wildcat in a conference game and were the most since LaKeith Humphrey nabbed 7 against Nebraska on Feb. 11, 1989. Overall, his 7 steals tied for the third-most in any game in school history and were the most since Dominique Sutton had 8 vs. Idaho State on Jan. 3, 2009.
- Nowell was joined in double figures by 10-point efforts by sophomore Nijel Pack and fifth-year senior Mark Smith. The 10 points were the second fewest by Pack this season, as he went 4-of-14 from the field, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range, while Smith shot just 3-of-11, including 0-of-5 from long range. Smith still managed a near double-double with a team-high 9 rebounds.
- The 3 transfers (Massoud, Nowell and Smith) have played a major role in the Wildcats’ improved play this season. The trio is averaging 29.9 points, 15.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 4.1 steals per game this season, including 33.8 points, 18.0 rebounds and 10.5 assists in 7 games starting together.
NOTES ON 19/19 TEXAS TECH
- No. 19/19 Texas Tech (13-3, 3-1 Big 12) arguably playing the best basketball of any team in the country at the moment, winning 3 in a row, including back-to-back top-10 wins over No. 6/7 Kansas (75-67) and No. 1/1 Baylor (65-62). The win over the top-ranked Bears ended the nation’s longest winning streak at 21 games. The Red Raiders continued their winning ways with a 78-57 victory at home over Oklahoma State in a rescheduled game on Thursday night. The team is 1-2 on the road this season, dropping games at Providence (68-72) and Iowa State (47-51) before the huge road victory over Baylor.
- The Red Raiders are averaging 75.2 points per game on 48 percent shooting, including 33.6 percent from 3-point range, while allowing opponents to average 58.4 points on 37.4 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from long range. Demonstrating their all-around strength as a team, they are among the best in a variety of areas, including ninth in rebounding margin (+9.4), 11th in field goal percentage defense, 12th in both scoring defense and scoring margin (+16.8), 28th in turnovers forced (16.7) and 39th in total steals (133).
- Texas Tech has 6 players averaging better than 8 points per game, including 4 in double figures, led by preseason All-Big 12 selection Terrence Shannon, Jr., who has a team-best 14.3 points per game scoring average. He is connecting on 47.5 percent from the field, including 35.5 percent from 3-point range, and is hitting on 85 percent from the line. Junior Kevin McCullar is averaging 12.8 points on 43.6 percent shooting, including 36.5 percent from long range, and is the leader in rebounding (5.9 rpg.) and assists (3.7 apg.). Senior transfer Bryson Williams also averages in double figures at 11.9 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting to go with 4.9 rebounds per game, while fellow transfer Davion Warren averages 10.5 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting to go with team-best 23 steals. Senior Kevin Obanor has a team-best 24 3-pointers.
- Texas Tech returned 5 lettermen and 3 starters from the 2020-21 season, in which, the Red Raiders posted a 18-11 overall record, including a 9-8 mark in Big 12 play, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. They welcomed 9 transfers, including Williams (UTEP), Warren (Hampton), Obanor (Oral Roberts) and Adonis Arms (Winthrop).
- Texas Tech is led by first-year head coach and alum Mark Adams, who was an assistant for many years under Chris Beard before assuming the head coach position in 2021. He has been a head coach for 24 seasons, including stops at NAIA Wayland Baptist (1983-87), Division II West Texas A&M (1987-92) and NJCAA Howard College (2004-13), winning 567 games.
- K-State and Texas Tech will meet for the 45th time in their histories with the Wildcats holding a 24-20 advantage in the series, while the Wildcats are 16-5 at home, including 12-5 in the Big 12 era. The Red Raiders own a 19-17 lead since the start of Big 12 play in 1997, including 18-16 in the regular season.
- Texas Tech has won 10 of the last 13 meetings, including splitting the last 6 meetings in Manhattan. Overall, the Red Raiders have won the last 4 games, including a sweep of the series in 2021. The team won 82-71 at home on Jan. 5 before a 73-62 victory at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 6. The last time K-State won a game in the series came in a 58-45 victory at home on Jan. 22, 2019.
- Head coach Bruce Weber is 8-10 all-time against Texas Tech, including a 6-3 mark at home. This will be the first meeting with Mark Adams as a head coach. Adams was an assistant for Chris Beard, who went 8-2 versus the Wildcats.
LAST TIME OUT:
TCU 60, K-STATE 57
- Junior Damion Baugh’s 3-point field goal with 11 seconds put the exclamation point on TCU’s 8-0 run to end the game, as the Horned Frogs kept Kansas State winless in Big 12 play with a 60-57 come-from-behind victory on Wednesday night before 5,623 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
- Trailing 57-52 after junior Markquis Nowell’s layup with 1:48 to play, TCU put together an improbable comeback to earn its third straight win at Bramlage Coliseum. Baugh started the run by making his second of 2 free throws with 1:11 to play. Junior Emanuel Miller corralled an offensive rebound off a 3-point miss by sophomore Mike Miles, Jr., and scored on a layup to close the gap to 57-55 with 24 seconds.
- After timeouts by both teams, sophomore Nijel Pack was whistled for a travel as he received the in-bound pass with 18 seconds, allowing the Horned Frogs to setup Baugh’s game-winning 3-pointer that came off an assist from Miles for a 58-57 lead with 11 seconds to play. K-State had one more chance, but sophomore Davion Bradford could not connect on a layup and Miles was able secure the rebounds before being fouled with 1.4 seconds.
- Miles, who led all scorers with 19 points, knocked down both free throw attempts to finish off the victory. Baugh was the only other Horned Frog in double figures, finishing with 12 points. Miller led all players with 10 rebounds.
- The loss was the fourth in a row for K-State to start Big 12 play, as the Wildcats dropped their third straight game when leading in the second half.
- The team has lost 4 games by 3 points or less, while 6 of the 7 losses this season have come by a grand total of 25 points.
- The loss overshadowed a stellar performance by Nowell, who led 3 Wildcats in double figures with 18 points on 7-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, to go with a career-high 7 steals, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 34 minutes. His 7 steals tied for the most by a Wildcat in a conference game and were the most since LaKeith Humphrey had 7 against Nebraska on Feb. 11, 1989. Overall, Nowell’s 7 steals tied for the third-most in all games and were the most since Dominique Sutton had 8 vs. Idaho State on January 3, 2009.
- Pack and fifth-year senior Mark Smith each chipped in 10 points, as Smith had a near double-double with a team-high 9 rebounds.
LEADING WITH DEFENSE
- K-State has developed a strong reputation as defensive team under head coach Bruce Weber, ranking among the top-60 nationally in opponent points per game 6 times in the 9 seasons. The Wildcats ranked fourth in scoring defense (59.6 ppg.) during its Big 12 Championship season in 2018-19, while they placed 36th (60.4 ppg.) in 2012-13 and 46th (67.0 ppg.) in 2017-18.
- K-State has held 218 opponents (out of 315 total) under 70 points during Bruce Weber‘s tenure, including a program-best 31 in 2012-13. The Wildcats have also held 109 opponents under 60 points in that span, while 29 have scored less than 50 points in his tenure.
- In addition to its scoring defense, K-State has ranked among the top-40 in opponent 3-point field goal percentage 3 times (2013-14, 2015-16 and 2018-19) and among the top-50 in steals on 5 occasions (every season from 2015-16 to 2019-20) in the Bruce Weber era. Twice (2016-17 and 2019-20) the school has ranked the top-45 in opponent turnovers.
- K-State struggled mightily across the board during the 2020-21 season, but no more than on defensive end, allowing 80 or more points 7 times in the first 21 games, including allowing 100 or more points in both regular-season games with eventual national champion Baylor.
- The Wildcats were able to win 4 of their last 7 games due to their improved defense, as they held 5 of those 7 opponents under 60 points. During the last 7 games of the season, the team held their foes to 59.3 points on 40.6 percent shooting (146-360), including 26.1 percent (36-of-138) from 3-point range.
- K-State has started the season off where they left off at the end of the 2020-21 season, as the defense is allowing 61.7 points on 39.2 percent shooting, including 26.7 percent from 3-point range. The Wildcats rank among the top-35 in 3 defensive categories, including eighth in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 31st in scoring defense and 32nd in field goal percentage defense.
- Before allowing 70 or more points in the first 3 Big 12 games, the Wildcats allowed just 55.6 points in a 7-game span from Nov. 28 to Dec. 21. That stretch included allowing the fewest points (85) in consecutive games to North Dakota (11/28/21) and UAlbany (12/1/21) since 2012-13. Five of the team’s 7 losses have come when allowing 70 or more points.
- K-State has been able to score points off its opponent turnovers (16.3 ppg.) while forcing an average of 13.4 turnovers per game. The Wildcats has scored 20 or more points off turnovers 3 times, including 22 vs. Nebraska (12/19/21).
IMPROVED OFFENSE, BUT WORK CONTINUES FROM 3
- The Wildcats are averaging 68.7 points on 42.8 percent shooting, including 34.1 percent from 3-point range, while connecting on 73 percent from the free throw line through the first 15 games. The team is averaging 28.6 points in the paint, 18.3 points off the bench, 16.3 points off turnovers, 9.0 fast-break points and 8.7 points on second-chance opportunities.
- K-State’s offense shines when the Wildcats share the ball, as the team is averaging 73.6 points and 15.8 assists in their 8 wins compared to just 63.7 points and 11.8 assists in their 7 losses. The squad has scored 246 combined points (30.8 ppg.) in the paint in their 8 victories, including 46 vs. North Dakota, which were the most since scoring 50 against Eastern Kentucky in Nov. 16, 2018.
- After ranking among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country in 2020-21, those numbers have improved in 2021-22. The Wildcats are tied with Kansas for second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals per game (7.9), while they are fifth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (34.1).
- The Wildcats’ 3-point shooting needs consistency, as they made 23.6 percent (37-of-157) vs. Arkansas, Illinois, Wichita State, Marquette, Nebraska Texas and TCU while hitting on 42.9 percent (81-of-189) vs. Florida A&M, Omaha, North Dakota, UAlbany, Green Bay, McNeese, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
- It has been well chronicled how young the Wildcats were during the 2020-21 season, as only 11 Division I schools were less experienced than K-State with only Auburn and Duke less experienced among the Power 6. The Wildcats were one of 10 teams to start at least 3 true freshmen in one game with Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack starting in 17 of the 29 games.
- The Wildcats have used at least 7 players in each of the first 15 games with all 7 those players totaling double-digit field goals made and 7 averaging nearly 6 points per game, including 3 double-digit scorers (Pack, Nowell and Smith).
- K-State is averaging nearly 18.3 points per game from its bench this season, including 28-point efforts against No. 13/12 Arkansas and No. 14/15 Illinois. The team has scored 20 or more bench points in 9 of 15 games.
- Before joining the starting lineup, Nowell had provided a spark off the bench, averaging 11.7 points in the first 6 games, while Miguel had been that spark of late with 4 of his 6 double-digit scoring games coming off the bench, including tying his career-high with 17 points vs. McNeese.
IMPROVED FREE THROW SHOOTING
- Despite a dismal night from the line against TCU, K-State has still been solid from the free throw line this season, connecting on 73 percent (181-of-248) from the charity stripe, which ranks third in the Big 12.
- That percentage was even better in its 3-game stretch vs. Omaha, No. 13/12 Arkansas and No. 14/15 Illinois, as the Wildcats hit on 81.3 percent (39-of-48) during that stretch, including 78.1 percent (25-of-32) in the games against the Razorbacks and Fighting Illini.
- Four players (Nijel Pack, Markquis Nowell, Ish Massoud and Mike McGuirl) are hitting on better than 70 percent from the free throw line, as Massoud (18-of-18) has been perfect so far.
- The Wildcats shot just 66.4 percent from the free throw line in 2020-21, while they haven’t connected on better than 70 percent from the line since hitting on 73.4 percent as a team in 2017-18.
- K-State turned the ball over just 4 times in the loss to No. 14/15 Illinois, which tied 5 others for the third-fewest in a game in school history and fewest since also registered 4 turnovers in a win over Gonzaga on Dec. 21, 2013. It tied the 2013 Gonzaga contest for the fewest turnovers in the Bruce Weber era.
- The Wildcats have also had single digits turnovers 3 times in the last 7 games, including 7 vs. Wichita State (12/1/21) and 6 vs. Texas (1/4/22).
PACK OFF TO STRONG START
- Sophomore Nijel Pack is off to an impressive start to the 2021-22 season, as he has led or have been tied for the team lead in scoring in 8 of 13 games played, including posting consecutive 20-point outings against No. 14/16 Texas (21) and West Virginia (20) for the first time in his career.
- Pack is averaging a team-best 15.5 points on 44.3 percent (70-of-158) shooting, including 41.1 percent (39-of-95) from 3-point range, to go with 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 30.1 minutes per game. He is the leader in scoring, double-digit scoring games (12), field goals (70) and 3-point field goals (39).
- Pack ranks among the Big 12’s top-10 in 4 categories, including second in 3-point field goals per game (3.00), third in 3-point field goal percentage, sixth in scoring and seventh in field goal percentage. Through 4 Big 12 games, he is sixth in scoring (17.0 ppg.) and second in 3-point field goals per game (3.50).
- Coupled with his free throw percentage of 92 percent (23-of-25), Pack is the only regular starter in the Big 12 shooting at least 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line.
NOWELL PROVIDES SPARK
- Junior Markquis Nowell returned to the lineup against West Virginia and provided an immediate spark to the Wildcat, collecting his third points/assists double-double with 10 points and a game-high 10 assists in 32 minutes. He is believed to be the first Wildcat to accomplish the feat in his first league game.
- His 3 points/assists double-doubles are the most-ever by a Wildcat in both a single-season and career, as he also posted double-doubles against Marquette (11 points, 11 assists) and McNeese (18 points, 10 assists). He nearly tallied the school’s first recorded triple-double vs. Marquette, as he added 8 rebounds to his 11 points and 11 assists in 37 minutes. He now has 8 such double-doubles in his college career, posting 5 during his 3-year stint at Little Rock (2018-21).
- Nowell ranks second on the team in scoring (13.0 ppg.), while he is tops in assists (68) and steals (31), while connecting on 42.6 percent from the field and 86.5 percent from the free throw line. He ranks first in the Big 12 in steals (2.38), while he is second in assists (5.2) and 10th in scoring.
SMITH’S IMPRESSIVE NIGHT
- The loss at Oklahoma overshadowed a historic performance by senior Mark Smith, who became the first Wildcat in school history to post a game of at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists since assists became officially kept by the NCAA in 1976-77. He had career-highs in points (25), rebounds (16) and assists (5), while posting zero turnovers in 39 minutes. His 16 rebounds were the most since Michael Beasley registered 17 boards against Missouri on Feb. 16, 2008.
- For his efforts, Smith was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, becoming the first Wildcat to earn the honor since Dean Wade in 2016.
- Smith, who averaging a double-double in Big 12 play (13.8 ppg., 10.0 rpg.) has 4 double-doubles this season and is the conference leader in rebounding.
MOVING TOWARDS 500
- Head coach Bruce Weber is working towards a coaching milestone, as he is 9 wins away from earning 500 in his career. He enters Saturday’s game with a 491-292 (.627) record in 24 years as a head coach at Southern Illinois (1998-2003), Illinois (2003-12) and K-State (2012-21).
- If Weber were to achieve the milestone in 2021-22, he would be among elite company as only 26 current Division I coaches have reached 500 wins in their career with Herb Sendek (Santa Clara) just ahead of him with 499 victories.
HOPING FOR BETTER INJURY LUCK
- K-State is hoping for better luck on the injury front in 2021-22 after injuries were a major factor in the 2020-21 season, as 9 players combined to miss 75 games, which caused head coach Bruce Weber to start 3 true freshmen (Davion Bradford, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack) a combined 71 times, which ranked second nationally to Kentucky.
- Only one other Division I team (Long Beach State) had more players miss time due to injuries in 2020-21.
- Although that luck has been tested early with big man Seryee Lewis going down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, along with injuries slowing down the progress made by junior Carlton Linguard, Jr., and freshman Maximus Edwards. Linguard returned to practice in late December.
- Although that luck has been tested early with big man Seryee Lewis going down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, along with injuries slowing down the progress made by junior Carlton Linguard, Jr., and freshman Maximus Edwards. Linguard returned to practice in late December.
- The backcourt has been hit of late, as Pack missed 2 games against Wichita State and Marquette due to a concussion, while Markquis Nowell missed the first 2 Big 12 games due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
- Seven players (Bradford, Edwards, Nowell, junior Kaosi Ezeagu, freshman Logan Landers and walk-ons Jordan Brooks and Trey Harris) plus head coach Bruce Weber missed the game vs. No. 14/16 Texas (1/4/22), while six players (Edwards, Ezeagu, Landers, Brooks, Harris and senior Mike McGuirl) and Weber missed the game at West Virginia (1/8/22) due to health protocols.
- K-State has not played one game with 10 healthy scholarship players.
McGUIRL UTILIZES EXTRA SEASON
- K-State received some good news on March 23 when senior Mike McGuirl announced that he was utilizing his extra season and returning to the Wildcats for the 2021-22 season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced in October that they had agreed to grant players an additional year of eligibility.
- An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, McGuirl is coming off solid senior season in 2020-21, in which, he either led or was tied for the team lead in 12 categories, including points, field goals, 3-pointers, assists and steals. He was second in scoring (11.8 ppg.) to freshman teammate Nijel Pack.
- McGuirl’s 20 double-digit scoring games doubled his entire career total (10) that he had entering the 2020-21 season. He opened the season with his first career 20-point game vs. Drake on November 25 with 22 points then equaled it against Fort Hays State on December 8, while he had a team-high 19 points in the upset of No. 7/8 Oklahoma on February 23. Of his 705 career points, 542 have come in the last two seasons in 58 games played with 49 starts (9.3 ppg.).
- The only player to start all 29 games, McGuirl showed his versatility by leading the Wildcats in scoring a team-best 11 times, while he also paced the team in rebounding 4 times, in assists 14 times and in steals on 10 occasions. He led the team in scoring (16), rebounding (9) and assists (5) in the win over TCU on February 20, a win which started the team’s late surge to end the season (four wins in the last 6 games).
THE ‘CATS INK 3 HIGH-PROFILE TRANSFERS
- K-State got an infusion of experience with the addition of 3 high-profile Division I transfers in fifth-year Mark Smith (Missouri), junior Markquis Nowell and sophomore Ismael (Ish) Massoud (Wake Forest). All 3 took advantage of the new transfer rules and are immediately eligible in 2021-22.
- Like McGuirl, Smith earned a second senior season due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and will bring 100 games of experience to the court after playing at Illinois (2017-18) and Missouri (2018-21). Nowell, who was a Lou Henson All-American at Little Rock, averaged double figures in each of his three seasons as a Trojan. Massoud played in all 53 games of his Wake Forest career, averaging 8.3 points per game as a sophomore in 2020-21.
- The transfers presumably fill the Wildcats’ greatest need from the 2020-21 season, which was a lack of production from the 3-point line. The team ranked 319th (out of 340 teams) in 3-point field goal percentage (29.6), while they were 126th in total 3-point field goals made (191) and 243rd in 3-point field goals per game (6.6). The trio have combined for more than 400 triples (442) in their respective careers on 36.1 percent shooting.
- The trio have made their impact in the first 15 games with Smith starting every game, while Massoud and Nowell have 14 and 7 starts, respectively. They have combined for 449 points (29.9 ppg.) on 41.5 percent (154-of-371) shooting with 233 rebounds (15.5 rpg.), 105 assists (7.0 apg.) and 62 steals (4.1 spg). Nowell has scored in double figures in 10 games, including 3 points/assists double-doubles, while Massoud has 7 double-digit scoring games. Smith has 4 double-doubles and is the Big 12 leader in rebounding (8.5 rpg.).
A QUICK LOOK AT K-STATE
- K-State returns 9 lettermen, including 4 players (Davion Bradford, Mike McGuirl, Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack) who registered starts during its COVID-19 challenging 2020-21 campaign, which resulted in the Wildcats’ second consecutive non-winning season at 9-20 overall and 4-14 in Big 12 play. In addition to these 4 players, the team will get back the services of several key lettermen, including juniors Kaosi Ezeagu and Carlton Linguard, Jr., sophomores Luke Kasubke and Seryee Lewis and walk-on Drew Honas.
- The biggest headliner from the returners might be McGuirl, who opted to return for an extra season in 2021-22 after his senior season was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors in 2020-21 after leading the Wildcats in 12 categories, including points (342), double-digit scoring games (20), field goals (112), 3-point field goals (60), assists (103), steals (30) and minutes (34.3).
- The freshmen trio of Bradford, Miguel and Pack had to grow up fast in their first season, starting together in 17 games with 12 of those coming in Big 12 play. The 71 combined starts by the three true freshmen in 2020-21 ranked second nationally only to Kentucky (72). The three combined to average 25.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals in 2020-21, as Pack (12.7 ppg.) became the first true freshman to lead the Wildcats in scoring since 2013-14. Bradford (7.7 ppg.) and Miguel (7.2 ppg.) were fourth and fifth in scoring.
- Ezeagu started early on for K-State before an injury forced him to miss 10 games. He returned in mid-January as mostly a reserve, averaging 5.2 points on 67.7 percent (21-of-31) in his last 10 games. Linguard and Lewis each showed flashes in their first seasons, playing in 17 and 18 games, respectively, while Kasubke recovered from a preseason injury that forced him to miss the first 13 games to be a key contributor in the final 16 games.
UP NEXT: AT 21/22 TEXAS (13-3, 3-1 Big 12)
- K-State continues action on Tuesday when the Wildcats travel to Austin, Texas to take on No. 21/22 Texas on Tuesday night 7:30 p.m., CT at the Erwin Center. It will mark the second meeting in the last 5 games after the Longhorns handed the Wildcats a 70-57 loss at home on Jan. 4. The squad has won 7 of their last 8 games heading into their weekend matchup with Iowa State.
- Texas is averaging 70.4 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting, including 33 percent from 3-point range, while allowing just 53 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting, including 30.5 percent from long range. The Longhorns lead the country in scoring defense. The team has 5 players averaging 9 or more points, including a pair of double-digit scorers in Timmy Allen (11.8 ppg.) and Andrew Jones (10.5 ppg.), who did not play in the first meeting on Jan. 4.