RAPID RECAP: Nowell lifts Wildcats to OT win over Nevada in Cayman Islands

by Mason Voth • EMAWOnline – Managing Editor – @TheRealMasonV

In a high-scoring battle that saw both teams go on runs and get medium-sized leads, it was K-State who made the final push, after Markquis Nowell forced overtime and came out with a 96-87 win in the semifinals of the Cayman Islands Classic on Tuesday.

Hot shooting was a theme of the first half between K-State and Nevada, as the Wolfpack set the tone early, hitting nine of their first ten shots. Playing a heavy hand in that was Oregon State transfer Jarod Lucas, who knocked down two early threes and scored 12 points in the first half.

K-State was able to answer with a quick starter of their own with Keyontae Johnson, who had 13 in the first half giving the Wildcats a boost. He was one of seven Wildcats to score in the first, out of nine players who saw action.

K-State subdued their turnovers to start the game with just five in the first half, but they also only forced five from Nevada. What stung the Wildcats was sending the Wolfpack to the free throw line for 12 free throws, in which Nevada shot 83%, compared to K-State only going 4/4.

K-State struggled to start the second half, letting Lucas drill a three and then Nowell was trapped at midcourt, leading to a turnover and bucket for Nevada which extended their lead to seven, the largest of the night.

The Wildcats would burst for an 8-0 run though, and take a 44-43 lead after Nowell hit a three and eventually dished one to Johnson.

Both teams kept the high offensive level going and with 8:59 to play the Wolfpack had reclaimed a one-point lead.

With just over five minutes to play, Nevada coach Steve Alford used a timeout as K-State had taken a 71-67 lead, the Wildcats forced a missed three out of the timeout by Lucas.

On the other end, Nowell hit a three and turned around before the shot even fell. After an offensive foul by Nevada, Nowell finished a lay-in to give K-State a nine-point advantage, their largest lead of the game with 3:54 to play.

After empty possessions by K-State, Nevada capitalized and tied the game with a 9-0 run before the one-minute mark to play. Shortly after, Nae’Qwan Tomlin got a nice feed underneath the bucket and slammed it home.

Lucas’ three with under a minute to play gave Nevada a 79-78 lead and after only making one free throw with 14 seconds remaining, Nevada gave K-State a chance that Nowell took advantage of to drive and finish to force overtime, locked at 80.

Nowell didn’t cool off, as he scored nine points in overtime to guide the Wildcats to victory. In total, he finished with 29, while Keyontae Johnson also poured in 28. That marks just the fifth time in school history that two players have scored 25 points or more in the same game.

Next up K-State will face LSU in the Cayman Islands Classic Championship at 6:30 PM on FloHoops.




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