ANALYSIS: Wildcats barely escape Las Vegas with a win in overtime

K-State's men's basketball team took on North Dakota State in Bramlage Coliseum on Nov. 5, 2019. The Wildcats won with a final score of 67-54. (Emily Lenk | Collegian Media Group)

The men’s basketball team managed to escape Las Vegas with an overtime win over the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels with a final score of 60-56.

Senior forward Xavier Sneed and redshirt junior guard Cartier Diarra combined for 31 points. The duo did not get going until late in the game, which could be a concern for Kansas State going forward.

With such a young squad, veteran leadership will be what keeps the Wildcats competitive this season.

Junior guard David Sloan came into the matchup with 19 minutes of play under his belt from the Wildcats’ previous game against North Dakota State, finishing with two points.

Saturday was similar — Sloan finished with a disappointing zero points in 10 minutes of play, contributing to only one of K-State’s 20 turnovers.

Sloan has quite the potential to be a contributor on this years team, and hopefully he is just working out the kinks of his game early on.

First half defensive struggles from the Wildcats slowly diminished in the second half of play, forcing the Rebels to 12 turnovers.

UNLV junior guard Amauri Hardy kept the Rebels hopes alive with a career-high 27 points, shooting 50 percent from the arch. Hardy made a few pivotal shots down the road for the Rebels, but it wasn’t enough.

In all, K-State struggled to ever get going, only leading the Rebels for 5:07 minutes of the entire game. If K-State can improve upon the little things on the defensive side of the ball, they will be a hard team to beat.

After a few days of rest the Wildcats will return to Bramlage Coliseum Wednesday night to host Monmouth University at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.