Wildcats overcome slow start, beat Florida A&M, 67-57

Wildcats

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) — It took through the first half and part of the second to do, but the Kansas State Wildcats put away the Florida A&M Rattlers in Bramlage Coliseum, 67-57.

In the first contest of the season, Wildcats Head Coach Bruce Weber saw a lot that was good, and he praised his team’s effort in a difficult game.

“It was a tough, hard-fought game,” Weber said. “As coaches, we expected it, I’m not sure the guys did. This same group, most of them played against us three years ago. They’ve been through the wars.”

Sophomore guard Nijel Pack led the way in scoring for the Wildcats with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He added three rebounds and three assists in the win.

“It’s just a great start for me,” Pack said. “I know each and every game there’s going to be a different leading scorer, just about how much talent that we got. It felt good to come out and get some confidence back under me, knowing how long I been out for.”

Selton Miguel came off the bench and provided a much-needed spark. He finished the game with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. All of his scorings came within a three-minute stretch in the second half, which propelled them to the win.

“He gave us a great boost,” Weber said. “We’re struggling, he steps up and makes some big plays. The other thing he’s really doing is rebounding. For him to get seven rebounds is really impressive.”

The Wildcats struggled to get any separation from the Rattlers, going blow for blow with them scoring-wise. The largest lead for either team in the first half was K-State leading by five, but even that was short-lived. Shortly into the second half, the Rattlers stayed within one possession.

A key part of Florida A&M’s success was the play of Rattlers guard MJ Rudolph. He would finish the game with 27 points, shooting 58% from the floor to get there. He also added seven rebounds and five assists to his stat line.

“He’s kind of an old-school guy,” Weber said of Randolph. “If you study his stats, he doesn’t shoot a lot of threes. He actually shot a few more threes today than normal. He’s a midrange assassin.”

“We made some mistakes on the defensive end, allowed him to get a few of those. But he earned a bunch of them.” Weber said.

With the first game of the season behind them in the win column, Weber knows there is work to do, but they are optimistic they will be able to correct things down the stretch.

The Wildcats are back in action at home next Wednesday, Nov. 17, against Omaha. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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