Kansas State 96, Nevada 87 (OT)

Surfboards around Seven Mile Beach in the Grand Caymans are polished and ready for the approaching Nor’wester breezes and surfing season. At the same time, the nets at the John Gray Gymnasium were gleaming white for snipers to target Tuesday night.

The shining spotlight of the game’s clutch moments were eventually stolen by Markquis Nowell. Harlem’s mighty mite turned Kansas State on its back as regulation time decreased. Overtime was all Wildcats in a 96-87 win.

The game-long shooting duel became a match between Keyontae Johnson and Nevada’s Jaron Lucas. That is until Nowell slipped in at close range only to get the Wildcats into overtime. Then, 20 seconds into OT, Nowell got another bucket to put K-State ahead for the extra period. His floater at 2:04 overtime put the Cats ahead by six and they pulled away, 16–7 in overtime.

K-State scored seven of the first nine points of overtime at the half and held on to its fifth straight win to open the 2022–23 season. Johnson and Nowell picked up the pace for the Cats with a combined 57-point performance. For Johnson, Tuesday night’s game was his best performance as a Wildcat with 28. Nowell threw 11 assists, one night after his 12-assist game against Rhode Island and led the Wildcats with 29 points.

Nevada set the first tone in the Caribbean, but never shook off more than five points. When the Wildcats got a handful of stops, they cashed in the trades on the other side. After 4 minutes, K-State tied on Ish Massoud’s deep 3 from the left wing. When Massoud turned in after a UNR wrap, the Cats surged forward. Desi Sills got up and dunked Cam Carter’s miss for the final tie of the first half, just under 1:00.

The beginning was a shooting clinic and mostly by the Wolf Pack. Nevada went 9-of-10 to start the game and eased into a 21-15 lead in the first 7½ minutes. Lucas did a lot of damage with 10 early points and had 12 for the first 8:00 PM, when the Wolf Pack shot 57% and made 4 of 9 3-point attempts. K-State faced its first halftime deficit in five games, trailing 38-36 in the Islands.

After K-State scored four of the game’s first six baskets, the Wolf Pack found dog treats scattered all over the perimeter. Lucas was on target from the right corner with three shots to tie Nevada at 10-tie. Johnson’s early 10 points impressed to keep the Wildcats in close contact with Nevada.

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