PREVIEW: Men’s basketball looks to snag first win of season against Kansas City

K-State senior guard Mike McGuirl attempts to save the basketball before it goes out of bounds in the Wildcats 80-70 loss to Drake last week. (Photo Courtesy of Scott Weaver | K-State Athletics)

After dropping two straight games to start the year for the first time since 2002, the men’s basketball team looks to get into the win column for the first time this season against Kansas City on Monday.

The Roos (2-1) most recently came off of a 71-66 loss to Southeast Missouri State. Kansas City’s two wins this season came against non-Division I schools — one NAIA (Culver-Stockton College) and one Division III school (Greenville University).

Kansas State comes off losses to Drake and Colorado in The Little Apple Classic this past week. The Wildcats struggled to string together a solid full 40-minute outing, but will get another chance against the Roos.

After the loss to Colorado on Friday, head coach Bruce Weber wants to see his team piece together a full game.

“We got to play good defense, sustain it and do it without fouling — and be a little more consistent on the offensive end,” Weber said on Friday.

The Wildcats won their last four meetings with Kansas City, most recently a 72-51 victory in 2017. K-State is 18-1 all-time against the Roos.

K-State will look to fix its early-season turnover issues as well. As a team, the Wildcats have 31 turnovers for a 15.5 turnover per game average and forced 19 opponent turnovers so far.

Freshman guard Nijel Pack, along with senior guard Mike McGuirl, have been the go-to options for K-State early in the season. Pack averages 10.5 points, three assists and a rebound per game, while McGuirl leads the team in scoring with 15 points per game.

The Wildcats have to focus on sophomore Josiah Allick for Kansas City, who averages 19 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Marvin Nesbitt Jr. is also a problem for opponents this year, tallying 14.7 points and averaging 8.7 rebounds, standing at just 6-foot-4.

Tipoff for Monday’s contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum. The game is on ESPNU and the K-State Sports Network.