Even with a pair of losses to close out the first half of their Big 12 schedule, the Kansas State Wildcats seemed to be gaining some momentum.
A victory over Oklahoma, then single-digit losses at No. 12-ranked West Virginia and at home to No. 1 Baylor gave them some hope going forward. But back-to-back losses at Iowa State and Oklahoma State, two teams near the bottom of the league, have the Wildcats reeling once again.
"There's no doubt," K-State coach Bruce Weber said after Tuesday's 64-59 home loss to last-place Oklahoma State, which ran the Wildcats' skid to four. "But Iowa State had lost four in a row (and) they came back and won.
"I thought we had one of our best practices (Monday). I felt good about it. But again, all the little things have plagued us all year."
Now the Wildcats (9-15, 2-9 Big 12) hit the road to Fort Worth, Texas, where they face a struggling TCU team at 4 p.m. Saturday at Schollmaier Arena. The Horned Frogs (13-11, 4-7) got off to a red-hot start in league play, but have lost six straight.
For K-State, the Oklahoma State game was clearly a low point. Though the Cowboys had picked up their first league victory and played Baylor close on the road their previous two games, they came in at 1-9 in the Big 12.
"Just disappointing," Weber said. "Every loss for me is disappointing, (but) you're playing at home, you've got a decent crowd … "
One bright spot was junior guard Mike McGuirl, who broke out of a slump with a team-high 16 points. But that was small consolation.
"Every game hurts," said McGuirl, who made three 3-pointers against OSU. "The fact that they're piling up just makes it hurt even more.
"At this point, all we can do is come back and play as hard as we can and try to win the next game."
In addition to McGuirl, the Wildcats got 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists from Cartier Diarra, but he also turned the ball over five times. Weber is trying to be patient with his junior point guard.
"He does some good things, but for him it's all new," Weber said. "The ball's in his hand. It hasn't been in his hand like this, and you learn. You learn and you grow, and obviously he gives us a chance. But somebody's got to help us find a way to win."
For his part, Weber said he'll continue to grind a way in hopes that something clicks.
"Obviously I haven't done enough because we're not tough enough," he said. "It's a shame. It's hard to recover now. We can be a basketball family and that's why these guys came here, and we've got to stay together. We can't be divided and I've got to help them … but we've got to stay together and help each other."