By Jackson Schneider
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's holiday break ended Tuesday night in Manhattan when the Wildcats welcomed in the Omaha Mavericks to close out the 2020 portion of their schedule.
In a back and forth affair, the Wildcats found themselves trailing in the closing seconds to the previously 2-7 Mavericks.
“Obviously it’s time for giving, and I love Christmas. I’m kind of old school, watching AMC movies and Hallmark. I wrap presents and love to play Santa and give to our grandkids," said Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber. "I don’t expect much, but definitely got a nice Christmas gift tonight with a tough, hard fought win that I’m not sure we deserved to win. We made some plays when it counted, got some stops when it counted."
Freshman Guard Selton Miguel shot just 3-for-14 from the field in the game, but made without question the biggest shot of his young K-State career in a corner three with just nine seconds remaining.
“I know I missed a lot of three’s and I missed a lot of layups but Coach Weber, like I said before just kept saying, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting’. If you’re open, try to attack the rim, try to get fouled, try to get points to help the team. So we just kept doing this even though I missed a lot of shots," said Miguel.
In a game that featured nine ties and nine lead changes, a young Kansas State team found a way to win against a much older, battle-tested, Omaha team.
The Mavericks entered with just two wins, but had faced challenging opponents such as #3 Kansas, #9 Creighton, Drake, and Colorado.
"I think we got a little bit tight at a couple points but we kept being positive in the huddles and saying, ‘Make plays, don’t be afraid to lose, play to win’," said Weber. "And we got some stops and made some plays when it counted.”
The Wildcats have now won four out of their last five contests dating back to their loss to Division II Fort Hays State, and will carry that momentum back into Big 12 play when they host the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday, January 2 at 1 p.m. inside Bramlage Coliseum.
“We needed this win because now it’s going to get real with playing conference games and everything. We needed this win so we can go to TCU and get another win," said Miguel.
Kansas State upended TCU 53-49 in the Big 12 Tournament on March 11th prior to the sports world coming to a halt, abruptly ending the Wildcats' 2019-2020 season.