[GET] SE: McGuirl Steps Up as ‘Cats Snap Streak – Scam

By: Austin Siegel

It was easy to miss the fist pump.

 

When Mike McGuirl drew a double team, passed to a wide-open teammate and watched Selton Miguel hit the shot that put the Wildcats up five with 2:30 left on Saturday, the K-State bench went nuts. 

 

Coaches, players, it didn’t matter. Everyone in purple and white was standing. 

 

McGuirl pumped his fist and got back on defense. The game ended a few minutes later with the ball in his hands, and then K-State’s only senior was a winner for the first time in 53 days. 

 

Suddenly, everyone wanted to speak to the kid from Ellington, Connecticut – even if McGuirl would rather talk about any other member of the K-State Men’s Basketball program. 

 

« I’m really happy for my teammates. They deserve it. They’ve been working so hard. They stayed the course and didn’t stop fighting, » he said. « They’ve stepped up in the past, and it hasn’t shown in the win column. My teammates and coaches really deserve this one. »

 

There’s a reason they threw water on McGuirl in the locker room after a 62-54 win over TCU. The only player who’s been here for four years and started every single game for the Wildcats this season was at his best on Saturday afternoon. 

 

McGuirl finished with a game-high 16 points and put away the Horned Frogs with some clutch free throws down the stretch, delivering K-State their second Big 12 win of the season. 
 
« I told Mike today to relax, enjoy and just don’t force the issue. I think for the most part he did a good job of that, » Bruce Weber said. « I’m just happy for them, because they’re the ones. It hasn’t been easy. It’s not easy on us, but it definitely has not been easy on them. »
 
For 40 minutes in Fort Worth, McGuirl hit the shots that K-State needed, but he also put some of the talented underclassmen on the Wildcats in a position to make plays down the stretch. 
 
That’s not something every senior would be comfortable doing. 
 
McGuirl played almost 30 minutes in the Elite Eight against Loyola Chicago in 2018 and was one of only three guys to play every game for a K-State team that won a Big 12 title the next season.
 
On Saturday afternoon, he was busy finding Miguel for a three-pointer or running the point so Nijel Pack could get open off the ball.
 
Nobody has done a better job empowering the next generation of Wildcats. 
 

 
« I can’t emphasize enough how big time Selton was on defense tonight. That was elite defense, » McGuirl said. « We’ve been in that situation too many times this year, and it’s gone the wrong way. This time we were able to stay poised, stay the course, get stops and get the rebounds that we needed. »
 
Sticking with TCU’s RJ Nembhard, Miguel more than held his own. Before he hit the shot that put K-State in the driver’s seat against the Horned Frogs, Miguel did his most impressive work of the afternoon slowing down the fourth-leading scorer in the Big 12.
 
« He did a great job, » McGuirl said. « Since I’ve been here, this was one of the best defensive performances I’ve seen. And I saw Barry [Brown Jr.], I was part of being here with Barry and X (Xavier Sneed). This was a good one today by Selton. » 
 
Miguel helped limit TCU to season lows in field goals made and attempted, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage and assists.
 
On the other end of the floor, Pack shook off a slow start shooting the basketball to finish with 12 points on the afternoon, as the freshman made the kind of game-changing plays that K-State needed against TCU.  
 
Pack knocked down a three-pointer from the logo at the end of the first half and finished with five assists, playing himself into a game where he shared point guard duties with McGuirl.
 
When it was closing time at Schollmaier Arena, the senior got everyone involved. 
 

 
After teeing up Miguel for a three-pointer to put K-State in the driver’s seat, McGuirl was more than happy to let Pack cook. A pull-up jumper from the freshman would be the dagger in Fort Worth.
 
The Wildcats closed the game on an 16-3 run with two more free throws from McGuirl. He led all players in points, rebounds and assists as K-State finally got back in the win column. 
 
« I’m really happy for everybody who stayed with us. Coaches, players and fans, » McGuirl said. « We know this is just one game but this is a step. This program is going in the right direction. »
 

[GET] SE: McGuirl Steps Up as ‘Cats Snap Streak – Scam
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