Following a hard-fought road victory at Nebraska Sunday night, the Kansas State Wildcats return to Manhattan, Kan. to host McNeese on Tuesday night in the penultimate nonconference game before Big 12 action begins.
K-State (7-3) fell behind 25-15 in Lincoln Sunday night before going on an 18-2 run to close the first half. The defense was especially stout, forcing the Huskers to miss their final 18 3-point attempts, including all 11 in the second half. Nebraska opened the second half with nine straight points, but K-State responded with a 12-8 run to grab the lead for good.
“What we did was settled down and protected the paint,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “That was the key against them, not let them get into the paint, because … they all can get to the paint and make plays.”
K-State used a two-point guard starting lineup for the first time, as Markquis Nowell joined Nijel Pack in the starting backcourt. Nowell had started when Pack was out with a concussion, and Weber decided that it was time to see what his offense would look like with two options at the point.
“I know he’s a great player. He can get to his shot,” Pack said of Nowell. “I’m a great player that can get to get my shot. (We can) both drive and create. It was just a great feeling for us to go out there and be on the floor together. We always go at it in practice, so it felt great to be on the same team.”
The Wildcats now turn to McNeese (3-8), which is carrying a five-game losing streak into Manhattan. The Cowboys are struggling to score points, ranking 189th in the nation at 71.7 points per game. The problem has been shooting, as they’re ranked 224th in field-goal percentage (43.1 percent), 319th in 3-point field-goal percentage (28.6) and even worse (349th) in free-throw percentage (58.2).
McNeese lost to UTEP 82-72 in its last time out despite leading most of the game. The Cowboys were only down by one with just over three minutes remaining.
“(I) really hope we can build on last night and get some momentum heading into the game at Kansas State,” McNeese coach John Aiken said on Friday. “We found some things to build on.”
–Field Level Media