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K-State Falls In Big 12 Opener, 71-69

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Courtesy of KState Athletics

NORMAN, Okla. – K-State’s rally fell just short in a 71-69 road loss to Oklahoma on Saturday evening. The Sooners improved to 11-2 (1-0 Big 12), while K-State slipped to 8-4 (0-1 Big 12).

After a rough offensive first half, the Cats went 9-for-16 from behind the arc and scored 47 points in the second half. Nijel Pack scored 15 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes in support of Mark Smith, who finished with a career-high in points (25), rebounds (16) and assists (5).

Smith scored 11 points in the opening half, but Oklahoma led by as many as 15 and took a 33-22 advantage to the break. K-State was just 8-for-25 from the field overall and 1-for-6 from deep in the first half. It was the fewest points K-State has scored in a first half this season.

The second half was a different story, as the Cats went 14-for-27 from the field. A three pointer by Ish Massoud tied things up at 65 with just over a minute remaining. An Elijah Harkless jumper put OU back on top, and Umoja Gibson hit four free throws down the stretch as Oklahoma held on for the win.

Smith went 7-of-13 from the field and hit eight of his nine free throw attempts on the night. Massoud had 13 points to join Smith and Pack in double figures.

Oklahoma finished with 13 offensive rebounds. The Sooners held an 18-8 advantage in second chance points. Harkless finished with 21 points and seven rebounds for OU. Gibson added 19 and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the line. Oklahoma had balanced scoring with all five starters in double figures. Jordan Goldwire had 11, while Jalen Hill and CJ Noland each had 10.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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