Thomas Gipson got straight to the point when asked what the Kansas State basketball team needs to do to bounce back from back-to-back losses at the Maui Invitational.
“We’ve just got to keep moving forward,” Gipson said.
Those were the senior forward’s final words with the media before embarking on the trip home from Hawaii. It was a long journey back to Manhattan, but the idea of returning to Bramlage Coliseum for a 7 p.m. tip against Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday probably made time go by quickly.
Though K-State struggled on its first road trip of the season, beating Purdue and losing to Long Beach State, Arizona and Pittsburgh, it has played well at home.
The Wildcats opened the season with a lopsided victory over Southern Utah and followed it with a double-digit win over UMKC.
A year ago, they started 3-3 and then went undefeated in December, winning 10 straight overall, to break into the top 25 rankings. The main reason for the turnaround was home success. K-State won six of those 10 games at Bramlage, including a 74-71 win over then No. 6 Oklahoma State. Three others were on neutral floors and one was on the road.
K-State coach Bruce Weber is hoping for a similar run this season.
“Now we have our schedule, power rating and all that stuff will be good,” Weber said. “But we've got to get better and get some wins here quickly. It's not going to be any easier with Nebraska-Omaha.”
The Mavericks, indeed, are no slouches. They have beaten Marquette on the road and they are coming off a 78-54 victory over Nevada.
The way guards CJ Carter (16.6 points) and Devin Patterson (16.4 points) are scoring, Nebraska-Omaha has a backcourt that will legitimately challenge K-State guards Jevon Thomas and Marcus Foster.
Nebraska-Omaha at Kansas State
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan
Records: UNO 3-2, KSU 3-3
Radio: KQAM, 1480-AM; KWLS, 107.9-FM
Nebraska-Omaha (3-2): Nebraska-Omaha has already collected two impressive victories this season, beating Marquette and Nevada. It is coming off a lopsided win over Nevada, trouncing the Wolf Pack 78-54. Two guards lead Nebraska-Omaha, with Devin Patterson averaging 16.4 points and CJ Carter averaging 16.6 points. It also has size inside behind 6-foot-8 forward Mike Rostampour, who is nearly averaging a double-double.
Kansas State (3-3): The Wildcats are returning home after a week of away games in which they beat Purdue and lost to Long Beach State, Arizona and Pittsburgh. Bramalge Coliseum could give a nice boost to K-State, which won its first two home games by double digits. The Wildcats have used different lineups all year, but they seem to have a preferred starting five of Gipson, Williams, Iwundu, Foster and Thomas. Forward Stephen Hurt may see extended playing time against Nebraska-Omaha if it uses a big lineup.