Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell tallied up 18-points towards his team’s 61-59 win against Louisiana State University on Wednesday night to secure the 2022 Cayman Islands Classic championship at the John Gray Gymnasium.
The tournament title was the 17th in the Wildcats’ school history and the first since winning the Paradise Jam four years ago.
Nowell, the Harlem, New York native, stands at only 5’8, but his personal motto “Heart Over Height” was certainly put on display over the course of the three-day tournament, which eventually led to him earning MVP.
Prior to defeating LSU in the finals, Nowell led the charge with a spectacular 29-point, 11-assist effort to will the Wildcats to a 96-87 overtime victory against Nevada in the semifinals.
Speaking with the media after the finals, Nowell said, “We just beat a very good LSU team.” Adding that their win was only possible because it was a team effort.
“This was a total team effort. The coaches gave us a good game plan and we just executed it.”
Executed they did. With just 4.7 seconds, Kansas Senior Keyontae Johnson’s jumper helped lift Kansas State to a 61-59 win over LSU to capture the Classic Championship before hundreds of fans.
Johnson (16 points), Nowell (18 points) and Desi Sills (16 points) combined for 50 of the Wildcats’ 61 points, including 22 of their 28 second-half points, in which the team rallied from an 11-point deficit with 17:27 to play.
Kansas, now on a six-win undefeated streak for the 2022-23 season, survived some “nervous moments” to earn the victory, as both teams called their full allotment of timeouts (2 each) before the last 4.7 seconds played out.
LSU (5-1) was able to dribble up the court and seemingly tied the game at 61-all at the buzzer. However, the officials reviewed the play and waved the shot off after they discovered that the clock didn’t start on time and the shot came after the game clock had expired.