For the second time in as many seasons, Selton Miguel played a key role in Kansas State’s victory over Omaha. This time, however, Miguel didn’t have to provide last-minute heroics to help the Wildcats avoid a stunning loss.

Instead, Miguel teamed with newcomer Ishmael Massoud and fellow sophomore Nijel Pack to bury Omaha early on, helping K-State cruise to a 79-64 win Wednesday at Bramlage Coliseum.

“It was good. We made improvement,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said. “That was our mission: to make improvement from a week ago, from Pitt State, to Florida A&M and to this game. Each game is a little different.”

To Weber’s point, Wednesday’s game was markedly different than last year’s matchup between these two teams. In that contest, the Wildcats (2-0) needed a 3-pointer from Miguel with 9.7 seconds remaining to escape with a 60-58 home victory.

A new-look K-State roster, led on this night by Massoud and Pack’s shooting (tied with a team-high 15 points) and Miguel’s passing (tied for the game high with six assists), put to bed any hopes Omaha (1-2) had of pulling off an upset.

“They came to me early,” Massoud said. “My teammates did a great job of getting me open, and the coaches ran plays for me to get my shots. So I just had the easy job of making shots.”

The Mavericks won the opening jump ball.

That was about the only thing the visitors won Wednesday, though.

K-State reeled off the game’s first eight points, and 15 of the first 17, behind white-hot shooting — the hosts started 7-for-7 from the field.

Though the Wildcats only hit 10 of their next 24 shots, it didn’t matter, as their defense held the Mavericks to a 10-of-36 (27.8%) effort in the opening 20 minutes. K-State’s defense, coupled with its early offensive efficiency — and another spurt in the latter portion of the first half, when it went on an 11-0 run in a span of 2:03 — allowed the hosts jog into the locker room ahead 42-26 at the break.

The 16-point advantage was in large part because of Massoud. A transfer from Wake Forest, Massoud hit five of his eight shots in the first half — including a 3-for-5 showing behind the 3-point arc — to finish the half with 15 points.

He didn’t score after the break.

But he didn’t need to.

“In the second half, the way the team is set up, sometimes it might not be your half, so Nijel and ‘Quis’ (Markquis Nowell), they carried the load,” Massoud said. “So I just had to be solid and play my role and that’s what I did.”

Regardless, Massoud’s first-half excellence made for a drama-free second half: Omaha never trimmed K-State’s lead below 12 points the rest of the way, though the visitors edged the hosts by a point (38-37) in the final 20 minutes.

That tidbit irked Weber.

“My only disappointment was the finish,” he said. “Instead of winning by 15, it should be 20 or 25. But I think (the Mavericks) are feisty and they come back. I think the best thing we knew about them was how they came back against Ball State, so we could keep saying that in the huddle.”

Weber said with approximately five minutes remaining, his team “lost a little bit of our focus.”

The stat sheet backs up Weber’s assertion: Omaha outscored K-State 13-3 in the final five minutes.

“You wish we would’ve had that killer instinct to really put a team down and enjoy a victory,” Weber said, “instead of me not being happy.”

Aside from Massoud and Pack, K-State had two other players post double-digit scoring totals Wednesday: Markquis Nowell had 11 points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field, but made up for it by going 5-for-6 at the free throw line, while Mark Smith had 11 of his own thanks to a 4-for-5 shooting performance. Smith also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.

Omaha’s Kyle Luedtke had 16 points to lead all scorers on the night. He connected on six of his 14 shot attempts, going 4-for-8 from distance.

K-State returns to action Monday in Kansas City, Mo., as it faces No. 16 Arkansas in the Hall of Fame Classic at the T-Mobile Center. That contest will tip off at approximately 8 p.m., following the conclusion of the tournament’s first game: No. 11 Illinois versus Cincinnati.

“We need it,” Weber said. “That’s what you build for, and now it’s time to figure out how to get ready for that. I know they’ve been looking forward to it.”

Recommended for you