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.