LAS VEGAS (TNS) — Kansas State’s basketball team won’t be bringing home the shiny Las Vegas Invitational trophy that it had set it sights on, but a consolation third-place finish and overall solid play in its first true tests of the seasons isn’t a shabby consolation prize.
K-State (5-1) bounced back from its first loss of the year with a 67-59 victory over George Washington (2-4) Friday night in the third-place game of the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena.
“We had to just let yesterday go, we couldn’t let one loss become two,” said junior guard Kamau Stokes, who led K-State with 19 points. “We regrouped last night and had a team dinner and came back and played strong tonight.”
Arizona State (6-0), which held off K-State 92-90 in Thursday’s semifinal, rolled pasted No. 15 Xavier (5-1) 102-86 in the title game, paced by senior guard Tra Holder’s career-high 40 points.
A night after connecting on 15 three-pointers, which was tied for second-most in school history, Kansas State utilized a more balanced offensive attack Friday — relying on midrange jumpers and drives against George Washington as three Wildcats scored in double figures.
In addition to Stokes, big man Dean Wade added 17 and Barry Brown Jr. contributed 15. Xavier Sneed and Makol Mawien eached tallied eight.
While Kansas State controlled the tempo and the scoreboard for the majority of the game, amassing its largest lead of 15 with 10:38 left—for the second straight night the Wildcats had to scramble down the stretch.
George Washington went on a 12-2 run over the next six minutes to cut KSU’s lead to 56-51.
Some more untimely fouls, which significantly hurt the Wildcats against Arizona State on Thursday, gave the Colonials a couple final chances.
Arnaldo Toro, who led GW with 21 points, scored on a drive and hit the ensuing free throw to cut the lead 56-54, but K-State answered in the final minutes and Brown hit three free throws in final minute to secure the victory.