K-State hopes to have Nijel Pack back for ‘throwback’ game vs. Marquette

NCAA Men's Basketball

Back in the 1977 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, No. 7 Marquette beat No. 16 Kansas State 67-66 in the Sweet 16 on the way to the national title. In a game that will resemble that contest from 45 seasons ago thanks to some throwback uniforms, the two sides will match up Wednesday night in Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas State will wear their lavender uniforms that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, while Marquette will don their familiar powder blues from the same era. Marquette’s first-year head coach Shaka Smart spent the previous six years at Texas in the Big 12, and K-State’s Bruce Weber grew up in Milwaukee watching Marquette hoops.

K-State (5-2) is coming off a road victory over Wichita State on Sunday, the Wildcats’ first victory over an opponent in the top 280 in the KenPom.com rankings. The score was tied at 54-all before the Cats went on an 8-0 run and they finished the game on an 11-5 spurt.

The most impressive thing about the victory was that it was done without leading scorer Nijel Pack, who was at home with a concussion suffered in practice on Saturday.

“We were in an uncomfortable situation obviously, a road game, great environment, great crowd against a good team without our most consistent guy and we had to deal with it,” Weber said. “We got down, so it even became more uncomfortable but to our guys’ credit grinded it out.”

There is no official word on whether Pack will be available for Wednesday’s game, but Weber was optimistic on Sunday that he wouldn’t be sidelined for too long.

Marquette (7-2) is coming off a loss at then-No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday. Justin Lewis led Marquette with 14 points, while Oso Ighodaro and Darryl Morsell each added 11 points.

Marquette trailed by just three points at halftime, 34-31, but Wisconsin pulled away in the second half thanks in large part to a 70.4 percent field goal percentage after halftime.

“There wasn’t a lot of impressing on our side today,” Smart said. “In the second half we gave up 55 points, which is the opposite of the formula for winning.”

–Field Level Media

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