LSU and Kansas State are both 5-0 as they meet in the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic on Wednesday night.
But they arrived there after contrasting semifinal performances in George Town, Cayman Islands.
The Tigers used a suffocating defensive effort to defeat Akron 73-58 on Tuesday afternoon. In the evening, the Wildcats survived an overtime shootout with Nevada, 96-87.
LSU held Akron to 25.9 percent field-goal shooting (14 of 54) for the game and outscored the Zips 40-23 in the second half.
“The first half, we held them to 31 percent from the floor, but we were down two points, because we didn’t clean the defensive glass,” Tigers coach Matt McMahon said. “And then the second half, we held them to 20 percent from the floor. We gave up two two-point field goals the entire second half. I just thought our effort was tremendous. And then guys did a great job at executing down the stretch.”
Adam Miller led LSU with 23 points and KJ Williams overcame foul trouble to contribute a few key second-half baskets on his way to 19 points.
Kansas State, like LSU, trailed by two points at halftime, but saved its best for last, outscoring the Wolf Pack 16-7 in overtime.
“Wasn’t that fun?” Wildcats coach Jerome Tang said. “If you like offense this was your game.
“After a while, we said, ‘We’ve got to figure out how to keep making shots and put a couple of stops in a row.’ It was big-time players making big-time plays.”
Markquis Nowell had 29 points and 11 assists — the fifth performance in school history with 20-plus points and 10-plus assists — and Keyontae Johnson added 28 points and nine rebounds.
“There’s lots that we can learn from this thing,” Tang said. “The best thing we can do is get some rest and come back (Wednesday) for the championship game.”
–Field Level Media