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Kansas State Skates by Marcus Foster, Creighton for 2018 NCAA Tournament Win

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 17, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16:  Mike McGuirl #00 of the Kansas State Wildcats reacts against the Creighton Bluejays during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Barry Brown scored 18 points and Mike McGuirl added 17 more off the bench as the Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Creighton Bluejays 69-59 in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.

KSU held Creighton to just 33.8 percent shooting from the field. Bluejays guard Marcus Foster, who averaged 20.3 points per game this year and was awarded Big East first-team honors in the past two seasons, managed just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.

The story of the game was McGuirl, who scored four more points in this game than he did for his entire season (13 points in nine games). The freshman missed the beginning of the season due to injury, and head coach Bruce Weber even considered redshirting him, according to Kellis Robinett of theΒ Wichita Eagle.

However, Weber kept him on the active roster, which turned out to be a wise decision. McGuirl saved his best performance for the second half, as he scored 12 points during that frame. He also drilled a deep three-pointer from the left side of the halfcourt to give KSU a 32-26 lead into the break:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

Mike McGuirl sinks it at the buzzer from RANGE! 🎯 #MarchMadness https://t.co/UNAntjcz2K

KSU controlled the game in the second half. It never trailed and led by no fewer than seven points for the last 10 minutes. The key moment was a four-point play from McGuirl that extended the KSU lead to 57-46 with 7:15 remaining:

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NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

McGuirl is at it AGAIN! πŸ‘ŒπŸ’ͺ #MarchMadness https://t.co/LPAILe6U7G

In the first half, the Wildcats made the first bucket and did not give up the lead for the remainder of the game. KSU did a great job defending Foster, who played two seasons for Kansas State before transferring to Creighton and did not score until the second half.

Jon Nyatawa ofΒ The Omaha World-HeraldΒ provided a theory as to why the Bluejays couldn't contain the Wildcats on this night:

Jon Nyatawa @JonNyatawa

It wasn't for lack of effort by the #Jays, and Marcus Foster. They simply couldn't handle K-State's aggressiveness. Whether that's personnel or preparation or system? Hard to say in this very moment

Kansas State also fared much better getting to the free-throw line with 25 attempts from the charity stripe (compared to just five for Creighton).

The Wildcats have advanced to the second round and will play the winner of Virginia vs. Maryland, Baltimore County on Sunday. Creighton finishes the season at 21-12.

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