As the 2019 Cayman Islands Classic gears up for its final day on Wednesday – and readies to crown a champion of the third-annual college basketball preseason tournament – tournament organisers are already turning their attention to next year.
At least two power conference teams are set to tip off in the Cayman Islands for next year’s tournament, according to tournament organisers.
The University of Mississippi – representing the Southeastern Conference – and Kansas State – representing the Big 12 Conference – have signed on for next year. The University of Nevada will represent the Mountain West Conference, the league which partners directly with the tournament.
The five other teams are expected to be announced following Wednesday’s championship game. It’s expected several of those are also from Power 5 conferences, the term used to describe the conferences that traditionally feature the largest universities with the most successful athletics programmes in the US.
Colorado State 61, Loyola 60
Rams freshman guard Isaiah Stevens hit a floater with one second to play to lift Colorado State to a 61-60 comeback win over Loyola Tuesday morning in game five of the Cayman Islands Classic.
A 10-0 run to end the game sealed the win for Colorado State. The Rams trailed by six with less than 40 seconds to go in the game when Adam Thistlewood buried a three-pointer to bring the Rams to within three points of the Ramblers. After pulling to within one, Stevens’ shot just before the buzzer made the difference.
With the win, the Rams earn a spot in Wednesday’s 5th/6th-place game to be played at 1:30pm.
New Mexico State 65, South Florida 45
Two players came off the bench to score in double figures, topped by Shawn Williams with 13, as New Mexico State used its entire roster to claim a 65-45 victory over USF Tuesday afternoon in a semifinal contest at the Cayman Islands Classic.
With the win, the Aggies (4-3) advance to the tournament’s championship game Wednesday at 7:30pm. USF (3-3) will play in the third place contest at 5 p.m.
Williams went 3-for-6 from long range to pace the Aggies, while fellow reserve Johnny McCants added 10 points and seven rebounds. The NMSU bench contributed 35 points toward the victory.
Washington State 66, Old Dominion 50
Sophomore forward CJ Elleby scored a game-high 21 points, including 11 in the second half, as Washington State trimmed Old Dominion, 66-50, in the consolation round of the third annual Cayman Islands Classic at John Gray Gymnasium Tuesday.
The Cougars (3-3) will face Colorado State in the fifth place game at 1:30pm Wednesday. Old Dominion (3-4) will play Loyola of Chicago in the seventh-place game at 11am.
George Mason 85, Nebraska 66
Jamal Hartwell II scored 23 points and Jordan Miller added 20 more as George Mason secured its spot in the 2019 Cayman Islands Classic title game Tuesday with an 85-66 win over Nebraska.
Javon Greene added 17 points for the Patriots. Hartwell II was 5-of-10 shooting from the beyond the arc.
George Mason will face New Mexico State in Wednesday’s championship game, which tips off at 7:30pm.