Kansas State basketball cruises to 79-64 victory over Omaha

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas State center Kaosi Ezeagu dunks during the first half against Omaha on Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

MANHATTAN — Now this must have been what Bruce Weber had in mind for his Kansas State basketball team.

Well, for the first 30-plus minutes or so, at least.

The Wildcats were a study in offensive efficiency from the start as they raced to a 15-2 lead, survived a rough patch in the second half, and cruised to a 79-64 victory over the Mavericks on Wednesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Contrast that with last year's late December meeting between the teams, when K-State needed a late 3-pointer from Selton Miguel to escape with a 60-58. The Wildcats now will take a 2-0 record to Kansas City on Monday to face Arkansas in the first round of the four-team Hall of Fame Classic at the T-Mobile Center.

Illinois and Cincinnati will meet in the early game, with K-State and Arkansas tipping off at 8 p.m. The tournament concludes Wednesday.

K-State shot 52.8% from the field and held Omaha (1-2) to 34.8%.

Ismael Massoud scored all 15 of his points in the first half and Nijel Pack had 11 of his 15 in the second to lead a balanced K-State attack. Mark Smith added 11 points and eight rebounds and Markquis Nowell 11 points off the bench.

More:Kansas State basketball's Nijel Pack off to a fast start despite injury

The Wildcats also got eight points and six assists from Selton Miguel, eight points and six rebounds from Kaosi Ezeagu.

The one negative for the Wildcats was a second-half rash of 11 turnovers as they finished with 16 for the game.

K-State operated at maximum efficiency on the way to a 42-26 halftime lead, shooting 54.8% from the field while limiting Omaha to 27.8%. The Wildcats also had a 23-15 rebounding advantage.

Leading the way was Massoud with 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Selton Miguel and Nijel Pack each had four assists, while centers Davion Bradford and Kaosi Ezeagu grabbed four rebounds apiece.