MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) — Markquis Nowell and Nigel Pack dropped 18 points apiece, Selton Miguel dropped 17, and the Wildcats stormed back from an early deficit to beat the McNeese State Cowboys, 74-59.
Despite trailing 26-17 late in the first half, the Wildcats found a way to make up the ground in the first half, and then rolled to a comfortable lead early in the second half.
“It started with the defensive end, where we got stops,” Nowell said after the game. “I think we had about eight shutouts in a row, and that’s what really got us going, cause we was able to get easy transition buckets.”
Nowell made history in the game, becoming just the third player in Kansas State history to have multiple point and assist double-doubles in one season. He finished the game with 10 assists as well.
“It’s elite company, I mean, I’m playing with a great group of guys. It’s talent around me, so, you know, it’s easy to make them plays when you know you got shooters and you got people who are just as talented as you. It’s very good company. I’m not satisfied, I just want to keep winning and keep building off of this.
Going into the game Tuesday evening, Head Coach Bruce Weber knew it was going to be a hard-fought game, and he lauded his team’s resiliency to get the job done.
“One thing coach Southwell talked about, and we talked to the whole team, was just ‘where is your preparation? Your mindset?’,” Weber said.
The Wildcats were strong on the boards, outrebounding McNeese 32-28. The two teams tied for turnovers with 13, but the ball movement was strong for the Wildcats, scoring on 17 assists in the game.
The first half started rough for the Wildcats. They went back and forth with the Cowboys, but midway through, they found themselves down by nine points. With 5:30 left in the half, though, they would start clawing back, and would end the half on a 16-0 run to go into the locker room up 35-28.
Entering the second half, it was more of the same for Weber’s squad. They would coast on that lead and never really give McNeese State a chance to come back, outside of a small run that brought the lead down to 10.
The next matchup for K-State has become slightly unclear. The Wildcats were scheduled to play Morgan State on Dec. 29, but they just entered COVID protocols, and the match might end up canceled.
Should the Wildcats be unable to replace that matchup, their next game will be the conference opener, playing the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma, on Jan. 1. That game is set to tipoff at 7 p.m., and will air on the ESPN family of networks.