‘Cats Survive Road Test in Overtime at UNLV, 60-56

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Senior Xavier Sneed scored a season-high 19 points, including 4 of the team’s last 6 points in overtime, to help propel Kansas State to a 60-56 come-from-behind victory over UNLV on Saturday afternoon before 8,796 fans at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Playing in their first overtime since March 2018, the Wildcats (2-0) went back and forth with the Runnin’ Rebels (1-1) in the extra session before a jumper by Sneed with 28 seconds left gave the team the lead for good at 56-54. A deflection off a missed shot by senior Amauri Hardy, who scored a game-high 27 points, went the way of K-State with 18 seconds, and junior Mike McGuirl calmly sank a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 58-54 with 13 seconds remaining.

Freshman DaJuan Gordon blocked a desperation 3-pointer by junior Jonah Antonio on the next Rebel possession with 7 seconds to play and Sneed finished off the Wildcat scoring by knocking down two free throws for a 60-54 lead with 4 seconds. A running lay-up Hardy at the buzzer closed the scoring at 60-56.

With the win, K-State moved to 2-0 to start a season for the sixth consecutive season and the seventh time in eight seasons under head coach Bruce Weber. Playing in their earliest road game in school history, the Wildcats claimed their first non-conference true road victory in close to two years, snapping a 3-game losing streak, and earned their first overtime victory in a road venue since a 66-63 win at No. 16 Oklahoma on Jan. 10, 2015.

Joining Sneed in double figures for K-State was junior Cartier Diarra, who finished with 12 points and a career-tying 6 assists before fouling out with 2:12 to play in overtime. McGuirl posted 9 points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 1-of-2 from 3-point range, to go with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 27 minutes. Freshmen DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy each added 5 points.

UNLV, which scored 86 points in its opener with Purdue Fort Wayne on Tuesday night, was held to 56 points on 34.5 percent (20-of-58) shooting for the game, including 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from 3-point range. K-State has now held 89 opponents to 60 points or less in the Weber era with the Wildcats boasting an 81-8 mark in those contests, including 20 of their last 33 opponents.

Hardy was one of two Rebels in double figures with 27 points on 11-of-23 field goals, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, while Texas transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long added 10 points.

The Wildcats, who scored just 16 points on 27.6 percent (8-of-29) shooting in the first half, including 0-of-10 from 3-point range, finished the game at 37.3 percent (22-of-59) from the field, including 17.4 percent (4-of-23) from long range. The team led for just 5:07 of the game compared to 30:58 for the Rebels.

HOW IT HAPPENED

A pair of jumpers by senior Xavier Sneed gave K-State a quick 4-0 lead but UNLV responded with 10-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from senior Amauri Hardy that forced head coach Bruce Weber to call a timeout with 14:30 left.

The Wildcats went more than 8 minutes without a field goal, missing 9 consecutive field goals, before a follow lay-up by freshman Antonio Gordon closed the gap to 14-6 with 10:13 remaining. The bucket ignited a 6-0 run that pulled the squad to within 14-10 on a jumper by Sneed at the 9:06 mark.

A lay-up by junior Mike McGuirl got K-State to within 18-16 with 3:26 before halftime, but UNLV ended the half on a 5-0 run capped by a 3-pointer by Hardy that gave the Rebels a 23-16 lead at the break. Hardy canned the wide-open trey from the wing after Sneed went down with an injury and had to be helped from the floor.

Neither team shot the ball very well in the opening half, as UNLV connected on 33.3 percent (9-of-27), including 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from 3-point range, while K-State hit on just 27.6 percent (8-of-29) from the field, including 0-of-10 from long range. The 16 points were the fewest in a first half by the Wildcats in nearly 5 years since scoring 12 against Georgia on Dec. 31, 2014.

Hardy led all scorers with 15 points on 6-of-11 field goals, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range for the Rebels, while Sneed led the Wildcats with 6 points on 3-of-10 shooting.

K-State was able to close to within 25-22 with baskets on its first 3 possessions of the second half, but a 3-pointer by sophomore Bryce Hamilton pushed the lead back to 6 at the 17:37 mark.

Sneed, who left with an injury late in the first half, finally gave the Wildcats a 3-pointer after 13 consecutive misses with 13:58 to play to close the score to 28-25. It was the first back-to-back treys by Sneed, who knocked one down on the next possession, to knot the score at 28-all with 13:11 to play.

A 5-0 run broke the tie and gave the Rebels a 33-28 after a pair of free throws by graduate transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long at the 12:12 mark. Sneed started a 7-2 run by the Wildcats by hitting on 3 free throws after being fouled on a corner 3-pointer that gave them a 35-33 lead with a 10:12 to play. It was the first lead since leading 4-2.

The lead was short-lived as UNLV scored 5 straight points to take a 38-35 lead on a layup by Hardy at the 6:47 mark. K-State chipped away before taking a 41-40 lead on a jumper by junior Levi Stockard III with 5:06 to play. The two teams battled through 4 straight ties over the final 5 minutes, including 41-all (4:53), 44-all (2:55), 46-all (2:16) and 48-all (1:08) before heading to overtime.

In overtime, reserve Nick Blair gave UNLV the lead first before McGuirl responded with a 3-point field goal on the next possession for a 51-50 lead. A pair of Mitrou-Long free throws returned the edge to the Rebels with 3:30 remaining before a 3-point play by freshman Montavious Murphy gave the Wildcats a 54-52 lead with 1:10 to play. A Hardy jumper gave the game its ninth tie with 44 seconds at 54-all.

A clinch jumper by Sneed with 18 seconds gave K-State the lead for good at 56-54 before two free throws by McGuirl and Sneed clinched the victory with 13 and 4 seconds, respectively.

After shooting 27.6 percent (8-of-29) from the field in the first half, the Wildcats hit on 46.7 percent (14-of-30) from the field combined in the second half and overtime and knocked down 12 of 13 free throws.

Sneed scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half and overtime.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME

Senior Xavier Sneed scored a season-high 19 points, including 13 in the second half and overtime, to pace one of two Wildcats in double figures. He went 6-of-18 from the field, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range, and 5-of-5 from the free throw line to go with 5 rebounds in nearly 40 minutes.

STAT(S) OF THE GAME

34.5/26.9 – K-State held UNLV to 56 points on just 34.5 percent (20-of-58) shooting, including 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from 3-point range. The Wildcats have now held 89 opponents to 60 points or less in the Weber era with the team boasting an 81-8 mark in those contests, including 20 of their last 33 opponents.

IN THEIR WORDS

K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber

On the game…

“We just gutted it out. I told them (in the last huddle) that we just needed to finish the game. The first thing on the board (in pregame) was stay together and I thought our guys stayed together. We had a lot of guys make big plays at key times in the game and we finally got some stops without fouling in the second half. We had no answer for (Amauri) Hardy. They were smart and got Cartier (Diarra) in foul trouble then they kept getting some isos and he didn’t want to foul and they got in the lane with us. However, we made some big shots when we needed them and got some big stops that how you win games on the road. Hopefully, we can continue to make progress as a team.”

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE

  • K-State is 2-0 to start a season for the sixth consecutive season and the seventh time in eight seasons under head coach Bruce Weber.
  • The win was the first in a non-conference road game since an 84-79 win at Vanderbilt on Dec. 3, 2017, snapping a 3-game skid (at Marquette, Tulsa and Texas A&M) that dated back to 2018-19… The Wildcats have won 8 of their last 11 road games dating back to last season.
  • It was the first overtime game for the Wildcats in more than year since a 66-64 win over TCU in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 8, 2018 and the first in a road game since a double-overtime 79-72 loss at No. 13 Baylor on Jan. 20, 2016… It was also the first overtime win on the road since a 66-63 win at No. 16 Oklahoma on Jan. 10, 2015.
  • UNLV still leads the all-time series, 4-3, including 2-1 at the Thomas & Mack Center… It was the first win in 3 tries at the Thomas & Mack Center and evened the all-time series in games played in Las Vegas to 2-2 as the last win in the series came at the Orleans Arena in 2009… This was the first game of a home-and-home series with the Rebels, who are set to visit Bramlage Coliseum in 2020-21.
  • K-State is now 36-18 all-time against teams from the Mountain West, including 9-13 on the road.
  • The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of juniors Cartier Diarra and Mike McGuirl, senior Xavier Sneed, freshman Montavious Murphy and senior Makol Mawien… This is the second time using this lineup.
  • Sneed has now played in 107 career games, including 74 starts (35 consecutive)… Mawien has played and started in every game in his career, which now stretches to 73… Diarra has now played in 65 games, including 33 starts (4 consecutive)… McGuirl has now played in 48 career games, including 4 starts… This was the second consecutive start for Murphy after becoming the just the fourth Wildcat true freshman to start a season opener under head coach Bruce Weber and the first since 2015.
  • Junior Levi Stockard III was the first player off the bench.

Team Notes

  • K-State scored 60 points on 37.3 percent (22-of-59) shooting, including 17.4 percent (4-of-23) from 3-point range, and connected on 92.3 percent (12-of-13) from the free throw line… The Wildcats shot 46.7 percent (14-of-30), including 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from 3-point range, in the second half and overtime.
  • UNLV was held to 56 points on 34.5 percent (20-of-58) shooting, including 26.9 percent (7-of-26).
  • K-State has now held 89 opponents to 60 points or less in the Weber era with the Wildcats boasting an 81-8 mark in those contests, including 20 of their last 33 opponents.
  • The teams combined for 45 turnovers (25 by UNLV and 20 by K-State) with 35 points scored off those turnovers… The Wildcats scored 19 points off turnovers.
  • K-State has scored 60 of its 127 points this season in the paint.
  • The 16 points in the first half were the fewest since scoring 12 against Georgia on Dec. 31, 2014.

Player Notes

  • Senior Xavier Sneed scored a team-high 19 points on 6-of-18 field goals, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range, and hit all 5 of his free throws… It marked his 16th career game leading the team in scoring… He has now scored in double figures in 54 career games.
  • Junior Cartier Diarra scored 12 points on 4-of-15 field goals, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range… He has now scored in double figures in 19 career games… He also matched his career-high with 6 assists for the second straight game.
  • Freshman Antonio Gordon scored his first career points, finishing with 4 points on 2-of-4 field goals to go with 5 rebounds in 13 minutes of action.

WHAT’S NEXT

K-State returns home to play Monmouth (1-0) on at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Bramlage Coliseum. Tickets start at just $5 before gameday ($10 on gameday). The game will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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