When taking a step back from the battle that happened, I am going to review how Kansas State stole the game in Columbia. This game was crucial not only for bragging rights but for seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Going into tonight’s game in Columbia, I knew if K-State stood any chance against Missouri, they were going to have to do two things, pressure them on defense, and utilize their loaded front court against the Tigers by getting points in the paint. They did both. In the end, it was the Wildcats that prevailed for the second time this season, 78-68.
Kansas State is the first team this season to hand the number 3 ranked Tigers a loss on their home floor. Led by Rodney McGruder’s 24 points, Kansas State scored their second consecutive road win against a top 10 team. McGruder was able to get wherever he wanted the entire game. He split the zone and got open for numerous easy jumpers. As mentioned before, K-State really used their big front line to their advantage. Jamar Samuels was able to score inside and step out and hit the three, which is something he has done well over the past three games. Thomas Gipson seemed unstoppable at times with that jump hook over Kim English. K-State is getting hot at a time that it does every year under Frank Martin, February. If they want to make a run in the NCAA tournament, they need to stick to the game plan that has won them two straight road games against top 10 teams. as for Missouri, this is a disappointing loss that puts them 1 game behind KU in the Big 12 standings going into Saturday’s showdown in Lawrence.
Overall, this game is a big stepping stone for K-State, two games ago, they were on the bubble worrying about whether they would make the NCAA tournament, and a week later, they have all but secured their spot in March Madness. It will be interesting to see what seed the Cats can clinch if they win out for the regular season. Up next for Kansas State is Iowa State on the 25th.