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Freshman Selton Miguel comes through for K-State in 60-58 victory over Omaha

Freshman guard's 3-pointer the difference in Wildcats' 60-58 victory

Arne Green
Salina Journal

MANHATTAN — Selton Miguel was struggling, but with the game on the line, he didn't hesitate in pulling the trigger, and that's what Kansas State coach Bruce Weber likes most about his freshman guard.

He's not yet the most polished player, but he's fearless.

"Fundamentally he doesn't have all the things we'd like. He's still learning the game," Weber said after Miguel drained a 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds left that proved to be the difference in the Wildcats' 60-58 victory over Omaha on Tuesday night in Bramlage Coliseum. "But he just makes plays. He doesn't always do exactly what we ask, but he makes plays."

Thanks to Miguel's big shot and a solid defensive effort down the stretch, the Wildcats avoided the upset and wrapped up 2020 with a 5-5 record. Omaha fell to 2-8.

Miguel's game winner came just 15 seconds after he missed the front end of a one-and-one at the free-throw line that could have extended K-State's 57-56 advantage and put the pressure on Omaha. Instead, Ayo Akinwole was fouled with 17.6 on the clock and hit both free throws to put the Mavericks up by one.

Following a timeout, K-State set up a play designed for Mike McGuirl to get a ball screen from center Davion Bradford with Nijel Pack stepping into the open space. Instead, McGuirl found Miguel in the left corner for the open 3-pointer.

"They fought it (and) tried to overplay it," Weber said of Omaha's defense. "Mike took the lead, drove in and made the right pass.

"Selton had a tough time at different points of the game, but he made two 3s down the stretch that were big ones for us."

Two of Miguel's three 3-pointers came in the final 10 minutes as the teams battled through three lead changes and three ties down the stretch. He was 2 of 13 from the floor — both 3-pointers — before hitting the last one.

"I know I missed a lot of threes and I missed a lot of layups, but Coach Weber kept saying, 'Keep shooting, keep shooting if you're open. Try and attack the rim, try to get a foul, try to get points to help the team,' " said Miguel, a native of Angola who played at West Oaks Academy in Florida before coming to K-State. "So I just kept doing it, even though I missed a lot of shots."

Sophomore guard DaJuan Gordon, who scored just five points but tied Bradford for the team lead with 10 rebounds to go with five assists and three steals, predicted that the late-game heroics were just the beginning for Miguel.

"He made a big-time play and he's going to have a great career at K-State," Gordon said. "He's only going to keep getting better."

Knocking down a game winner certainly was a good first step.

"I think he is very, very willing to take a big shot," Weber said. "And obviously tonight was a huge one for a freshman to step up and help us find a way to win."

K-State was led in scoring by McGuirl with 13 points, followed by Miguel with 11 and Pack with nine. McGuirl also had six assists

After a two-game break from the Big 12, the Wildcats (1-1) return to league play at 1 p.m. Saturday, when they play host to TCU.

Kansas State freshman guard Selton Miguel (2) reacts after hitting a game-winning 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds left Tuesday night in the Wildcats' 60-58 victory over Omaha at Bramlage Coliseum.
Kansas State guard Selton Miguel (2) puts up a shot over Omaha's Matt Pile (40) during Tuesday night's game at Bramlage Coliseum.