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K-State determined to get back on track

Arne Green
Salina Journal
McGuirl

Bruce Weber apologized to Kansas State's fans. Senior guard Mike McGuirl called himself and his teammates out.

There wasn't much else to be said about the Wildcats' 81-68 home loss to Fort Hays State on Tuesday night. Not only did they fall to a Division II opponent, but their 1-4 record marks the worst start for a K-State team since 1965-66.

The challenge now for the Wildcats is to put that debacle behind them, with Milwaukee visiting Bramlage Coliseum at 7 p.m. Friday, offering at least a partial shot at redemption.

"It's a long season," McGuirl said. "We're not going to fold, we're not going to give up (and) we're not going to look at any opponent like they're too good.

"We're going to come to win every game and we're going to pick our intensity up, pick everything up, because I still believe in this team and I believe that we can get better."

But McGuirl added that he and his teammates had better heed Weber's postgame message in order to turn things around.

"Positive tomorrow in practice and be all in," he said. "If you're not all in right now, you don't need to be on our team.

"It's a great message, because it's too much BS right now. I could say that's on me. As a leader, I have allowed it. It's happening, it's going on and it can't anymore."

McGuirl went on to define BS as "worrying about the wrong things."

"Everybody has to worry about the right thing and the things that affect winning," he said. "If we do that, we'll get better. I'm sure of that."

Weber put part of the blame for the Wildcats' slow start on turning over a roster with eight new players during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 and quarantines severely curtailed practice time heading into the season.

"I apologize. I’m disappointed. No excuses," Weber said after the game. "I’m the boss. I’ve been here. I’ve done really good things.

"Right now, this is not a special thing. I just hope (the fans) stick with us. We have a young group. I’m very, very sure on Friday it’s going to be different and hopefully moving forward in the season.”

The Wildcats face a Milwaukee team Friday that is making its season debut. The Panthers' first two games were canceled because of COVID-19 protocols.

Milwaukee also has 11 new players on its roster, but returns three starters. The Panthers are led by senior Te'Jon Lucas, who averaged 14.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists last year for a 12-19 team. Senior guard Josh Thomas added 10.2 points per game.

MILWAUKEE AT KANSAS STATE

Tipoff: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Bramlage Coliseum (12,528), Manhattan.

Records: Milwaukee 0-0, Kansas State 1-4.

TV/Radio: ESPN+ (live streaming)/Topeka: WIBW-AM (580); Salina: none.

Next up for K-State: Tuesday, 8 p.m. vs. Iowa State at Ames, Iowa.