Wildcats’ Edwards leads AIA past Klaipeda Nafta, 80-76

By The Mercury

Kansas State guard Justin Edwards paced three players in double figures in helping Athletes in Action to an 80-76 win over Klaipeda Nafta in the first game of their international tour at Nafta Gym in Klaipeda, Lithuania on Saturday.

The game was the first of four by the Athletes in Action group, which includes 10 college players, during a seven-day tour of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, which runs through Aug. 14.

The 10-player roster includes Edwards and sophomore Brandon Bolden as well, as Wichita State’s Darius Carter, Kansas’ Landen Lucas and Baylor duo Royce O’Neale and Ishmael Wainright.

Athletes in Action used a big third quarter to take control of the game, outscoring Nafta, 16-8, in the pivotal period after trailing 46-39 at halftime. The team won three of the four quarters, including the first (23-22) and fourth (25-22).

Edwards scored a team-high 15 points on 6 of 13 field goals, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, to go with four rebounds, one block and one steal.

UNLV’s Kendall Smith and Carter also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Lucas added a team-high eight rebounds to go with eight points. O’Neale and Davidson’s Brian Sullivan also chipped in nine points each. Smith had a team-high four assists and Carter a team-best three blocks.

Bolden scored eight points on 4 of 5 shooting to go with one rebound, one assist and one steal. 

The experience was the first by Edwards and Bolden after sitting out the 2013-14 season. A 6-foot-4 junior guard from Whitby, Ontario, Edwards played two seasons at Maine before transferring to K-State last summer. He averaged an America East-best 16.7 points per game as a sophomore in 2012-13.

A 6-11 sophomore forward from Sumter, S.C., Bolden played in four games in Georgetown as a true freshman in 2012-13.

The Athletes in Action group returns to the floor for their second game on today when they play the National Team of Qatar in the Palanga Arena in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The last two games of the tour will be in Latvian capital of Riga on Tuesday (vs. Latvia University) and Wednesday (vs. Barons).

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