MANHATTAN, Kan. – Sophomore guard Nijel Pack has been selected as the Phillips 66 Big 12 co-Player of the Week on Monday (January 24) after his career-high 35-point performance against No. 7/7 Kansas on Saturday.
For the week, Pack averaged 25.5 points on 57.6 percent (19-of-33) shooting, including 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from 3-point range, in helping K-State split a pair of games against No. 23/22 Texas and No. 7/7 Kansas this past week. He scored 16 points in the upset of the Longhorns on Tuesday night that ended their 11-game homecourt winning streak before his near record-breaking effort against the Jayhawks at Bramlage Coliseum.
Pack shared the weekly honor with Kansas senior Ochai Agbaji, as the two combined for 64 points in Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown. It is the second-most points by opposing players in the 296-game rivalry and the most since K-State’s Mike Wroblewski (46) and Kansas’ Nolen Ellison (25) combined for 71 points on February 7, 1962. Pack is the sixth Wildcat to post a game of 35 or more points against Kansas and the most in more than a decade since Jacob Pullen’s 38-point effort against the top-ranked Jayhawks on February 14, 2011.
Pack’s 35-point effort came on 12-of-18 field goals, including 8-of-12 from 3-point range, and a perfect 3-of-3 effort from the free throw line. The point total is tied for the seventh-most by a Wildcat in a Big 12 game and the most since Barry Brown, Jr., had 38 points against Oklahoma State on January 10, 2018, while it is the fourth-most by a sophomore in school history and the most since Askia Jones scored 35 against Wyoming on January 2, 1992.
Pack’s 8 made 3-point field goals tied for the most by a Wildcat in a conference game, matching the 8 that Steve Henson had against Iowa State on February 17, 1990, and Cortez Groves had against Texas A&M on February 23, 2000. It also tied his career-high of 8 vs. Texas A&M on January 30, 2021, which along with Henson and Groves tie for the second-most made 3-point field goals in any game in school history. The only Wildcat with more 3-pointers in a game came in Askia Jones’ school-record 14 triple performance vs. Fresno State on March 24, 1994.
Pack is the first Wildcat to earn the weekly Player of the Week honor since Cartier Diarra won the accolade on December 30, 2019. Overall, it marks the school’s 30th Player of the Week honor since the inception of the Big 12 in 1997, including the 15th under head coach Bruce Weber. It is the second weekly honor for the Wildcats this season, as fifth-year senior Mark Smith was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on January 3.
A 6-foot-0, 180-pound guard from Indianapolis, Indiana, Pack is the Big 12 leader in 3-point field goals made per game (3.19) while he is among the top-10 in 4 other categories, including third in scoring (16.7 ppg.) and 3-point field goal percentage (42.1), fifth in field goal percentage (45.9) and ninth in minutes (31.1). His numbers are even better in Big 12 play, ranking first in 3-point field goals made per game (3.71), second in scoring (19.0 ppg.), fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (40.6) and eighth in field goal percentage (43.4).
Despite missing 2 games due to a concussion, Pack is off to a strong start to 2021-22, leading the Wildcats in scoring (16.7 ppg.), double-digit scoring games (15), field goals (94), 3-point field goals (51) and minutes (31.1). He has scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games played this season, including 15 or more points in 13 games.
K-State (10-8, 2-5 Big 12) begins a 2-game road swing on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats travel to Waco, Texas to take on the defending national champion Baylor Bears (17-2, 4-2 Big 12) at the Ferrell Center. The game tips off at 7 p.m., CT on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. K-State plays at Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon.