Marquette Hangs on Late to Defeat K-State, 64-63

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber yells to his players during the first half of an NCAA college...
Kansas State coach Bruce Weber yells to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)(WIBW)
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 2:02 PM CST
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletics) - Redshirt freshman Oso Ighodaro blocked sophomore Ish Massoud shot at the rim with 4 seconds left, as Marquette withstood a late Kansas State rally to post a 64-63 win in the third edition of the BIG EAST/Big 12 Battle on Wednesday night before 7,184 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.

In a game marked by alternating runs, it was Golden Eagles’ 11-2 spurt over a near 3-minute span midway through the second half that gave them the cushion to hold off a late rally by the Wildcats.

Down 61-54 with 5:42 to play after freshman Kam Jones connected on Marquette’s 10th 3-point field goal of the game, K-State twice closed to within one point in the last minute of play, lastly on a 3-pointer from the corner by senior Mike McGuirl with 19 seconds left to make it 64-63.

The Wildcats (5-3) had to foul on 3 straight possessions to put Golden Eagles (8-2) at the free throw line for the 1-and-1 opportunity with 14 seconds, as Jones missed the front end of the free throw to give K-State one last chance to win. With no timeouts left to set up a play, Massoud drove to the basket and attempted to lay the ball off the rim from under the standard but was blocked by Ighodaro with 4 seconds remaining and redshirt freshman Tyler Kolek grabbed the rebound to secure the win.

The loss snapped K-State’s 3-game winning streak and ended its 7-game winning streak against non-conference opponents at Bramlage Coliseum. The team has now lost both home games to Marquette in the BIG EAST/Big 12 Battle with last season’s scheduled contest at Butler cancelled due to COVID-19.

Although the Golden Eagles knocked down 11 3-point field goals on the night, it was their inside game in the second half that proved to be the deciding factor, as they scored 16 of their 33 points in the paint and were a combined 10-of-13 from inside the arc after halftime. Jones scored 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, including 3 of the team’s 4 3-point field goals.

Redshirt freshman Justin Lewis joined Jones in double figures with a near double-double of 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 9 rebounds to go with a solid line of 5 assists and 3 steals in 33 minutes. Three other players (seniors Kur Kuath and Darryl Morsell and junior Greg Elliott) each had 8 points.

The Wildcats, which came into the game ranking fourth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (23.5), allowed their second-highest 3-point total (11) of the season, one shy of the season-high of 12 set by Illinois on Nov. 23. However, they made the Eagles work for it, as they posted 37 attempts from beyond the arc, which were the second-most by an opponent in school history and the most since Wichita State had 39 on Dec. 10, 1997.

It was a gutsy effort by K-State, which was without its starting point guard and leading scorer Nijel Pack for the second consecutive game and got limited action from fellow sophomore Selton Miguel, who was injured in practice on Tuesday.

The three newcomers – Massoud, fifth-year senior Mark Smith and junior Markquis Nowell – combined for 44 of the Wildcats’ 63 points with each scoring in double figures and playing better than 32 minutes. The trio also collected 22 of the team’s 41 rebounds and 15 of the 18 assists.

Smith led K-State in scoring for the first time this season with 17 points on 6-of-13 field goals to go with a team-tying 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 33 minutes, while Massoud broke out of a recent shooting slump with a season-high 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers, and 6 rebounds.

Nowell, who was vital in Sunday’s win at Wichita State, was again impressive against Marquette, nearly posting the school’s first triple-double, as he scored 11 points on 5-of-13 field goals with a game-high 11 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in a season-high 37 minutes. It marked just the 12th double-double in school history with points and assists, while Nowell’s 11 assists tied for the seventh-most in school history and the most by any Wildcat since Jacob Pullen had 11 against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, 2008.

K-State, which posted a season-high for fast-break points (19) and second-chance points (17), connected on 39.1 percent (25-of-64) from the field, including 24 percent (6-of-25) from 3-point range, and made 7 of its 10 attempts from the free throw line.

Marquette has now won 3 straight games in the series with K-State, including back-to-back wins at Bramlage Coliseum, both coming in the BIG EAST/Big 12 Battle.