Led by Junior guard Rodney McGruder’s career high 33 points, Kansas State knocked off the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday night 84-80. Kansas State came right out of the gate and grabbed a decent lead on Texas. They kept a one digit lead for most of the game. Kansas State led by double digits at times. But it seemed Texas always made a run to close the gap. K-State’s Rodney McGruder was on fire. He scored a career high 33 points on 11-17 shooting and 4-6 behind the arch. McGruder seemed very comfortable attacking the lane and setting up for wide open three pointers.
Things got interesting when down by 7 with 1:14 to go, J’Covan Brown hit a three to cut the lead to 4. K-State promtly missed 2 free throws. Texas got as close as 1 point away due to lousy free throw shooting by usually reliable Kansas State guards Will Spradling and Rodney McGruder. Texas had the chance to tie or win the game while having the ball with about 10 seconds left. However, a big steal by Martavious Irving led to a dunk at the other end by Rodney McGruder, putting the final touches on a must win game for the Wildcats. J’Covan Brown scored 22 points, shooting 8-28 from the field and 4-14 from 3 point range. Kansas State played exceptionally well on offense but there is still room for improvement on defense. One area they must work on is free throw shooting, which almost cost them the game. Although they are basically out of the Big 12 race, the win helps Kansas State keep their hopes alive for their sixth consecutive top 4 finish in the Big 12.
– After spending the past week in Frank Martin’s doghouse, freshman guard Angel Rodriguez got his first start of the season.
– Freshman forward Thomas Gipson got his first start since the January 4th loss at Kansas
– Junior guard Jeremy Jones came into the game in the second half to a loud ovation after injuring his ankle last Saturday in a breakout game at Oklahoma
– There were many questionable calls the the officiating crew, who heard it all night from the K-State fans
– Rodney McGruder is the fifth K-State player under Frank Martin to score 30 or more points twice in a season. Joining elite company with Michael Beasley, Bill Walker, Denis Clemente, and Jacob Pullen