A gritty overtime battle began Kansas State men’s basketball’s trip to the Bahamas. In their first game of the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship, the Wildcats defeated the Providence Friars 73-70 featuring intense defense from both sides.
Forward Will McNair Jr.’s first 3-pointer of the season opened for a sluggish encore. Nearly two minutes went by without a score before the Friars scored their own long ball. Tough defense ensued for the remainder of the half. K-State found one consistent scorer in McNair, scoring nine of the team’s first 19 points.
The half ended with the Wildcats up 29-26 even with a poor offensive showing. Wildcat leading scorers guards Tylor Perry and Cam Carter shared 11 points on 3-10 shooting in the half with each team shooting under 35% from the field.
The second half began a tug-of-war battle after a late first half scuffle between the two teams. K-State gave away the lead but quickly took it back after a 3-pointer from forward Arthur Kaluma. The Wildcats controlled a small lead until a 7-0 Friars run placed the score at 47-42 with Providence ahead.
This run would not go unnoticed.
Perry went on his own 7-0 run, nailing two deep balls with the second coming with a foul. The and-1 3-pointer was K-State’s last made field goal of the half, allowing Providence to stay in the game.
Dependent on just free throws, multiple end-of-half possessions fell by the waste side with a Perry blocked shot and a Kaluma turnover. The defense kept K-State alive, stopping Providence and taking them to overtime 57-57.
The five free minutes of basketball all belonged to the Wildcats. Perry started the period with a trio of free throws. Forward David N’Guessan went on to take over as the big man on the court as McNair did at the beginning of the game. N’Guessan scored all six of his points of the night in overtime receiving dump offs from Perry and Carter.
The pivotal shot of the night came from Kaluma. Up 62-61, the Creighton transfer walked into an open 3-pointer, hitting the bottom of the net to finish with 18 points, second on the team to Perry’s 24.
The battle ended 73-70 as guard Dai Dai Ames and Providence’s Garwey Dual exchanged punches and were each ejected.
The close call was lifted up by K-State’s defense. The offense struggled shooting 36.8% and committing 20 turnovers.
The Wildcats move on to faceoff against No. 12 Miami and former Wildcat Nijel Pack in the championship game of the tournament at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.