Wildcats’ offense too much in 79-64 win over Omaha


Mitchell Cutcher

Kyle Luedtke led Omaha with 16 points in the loss at Kansas State. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

The Omaha men’s basketball team returned to Manhattan, Kan., looking to avenge their two-point loss from last season. However, the Wildcats had other plans. Kansas State took control of the game at the end of the first half and never looked back, going on to a 79-64 victory.

The Mavericks had the game within six in the first half before Kansas State went on an 18-3 run to pull away before halftime. Ismael Massoud led the charge for the Wildcats, scoring 10 of the team’s 18 points during the run. Nothing fell for the Mavericks during that stretch, as the team made just one of their 11 shots.

Omaha found themselves trailing 58-36 before going on a 10-0 run to bring the game within 12. Kansas State coach Bruce Weber used a timeout to get the starters back in the game, which slowed some of the momentum. The Wildcats’ lead ballooned all the way up to 26 after that: their biggest lead of the game.

For the third game in a row, the Mavericks’ bench played a crucial role in the outcome of the game. The Omaha bench combined for 39 points, and once again, Kyle Leudtke led the way. He scored 16 off the bench and led all of Omaha’s scorers in the game. Dylan Brougham also contributed off the bench on both sides of the ball. He scored six points and recorded four blocks.

This was a tough game for the Omaha starters, as they shot a combined nine for 35 from the field. Coach Derrin Hansen changed up the starting lineup for the first time of the young season at Kansas State as Marco Smith started in place of Darrius Hughes, who had started the previous two games.

A point of emphasis for the Mavericks in this game seemed to be the three-ball as the Mavericks put up 27 three-point attempts, a season high. However, only 11 of those fell. The Mavericks still scored more than half of their points from deep. Four of those 11 came from Leudtke, who made four of his eight shots from behind the arc.

Across the court, Nijel Pack and Ismael Massoud led the way as they each scored 15. The Wildcats had four players with double-digit point totals in this one, as Mark Smith and Markquis Nowell also each added 11. Kansas State shot 52.8 percent from the floor as a team and Omaha struggled to stop the Wildcats from getting to the rim. The Wildcats scored 34 points in the paint.

The Mavericks will look to bounce back from back-to-back losses as they take on Montana on Saturday, Nov. 20. This will be the Mavericks’ first game of the Summit League-Big Sky challenge. Omaha will host the Eastern Washington Eagles on Dec. 4 to complete the challenge.