MANHATTAN, Kan. —
Kansas State finally got the better of its old coach.
Over the last decade, Lon Kruger has had the Wildcats' number. While coaching at Illinois, UNLV and now Oklahoma, Kruger's record against the Wildcats was 4-1.
Now it's 4-2.
Rodney McGruder scored 20 points and Will Spradling added 15 as No. 16 Kansas State defeated Oklahoma 69-60 on Saturday in a matchup of unbeaten Big 12 teams.
Romero Osby and Amath M'Baye both scored 12 points for Oklahoma.
Shane Southwell and Angel Rodriguez both added 12 points for Kansas State. Southwell had seven rebounds, and Rodriguez had nine assists. With four Wildcats scoring in double figures, McGruder was quick to credit everyone for the win.
"We're a team," McGruder said. "Not just one person can lead us to victory. We do this collectively. That's great. I'm proud of everyone who stepped up."
The Sooners (12-4, 3-1) kept pace with the Wildcats most of the way thanks to snagging 36 rebounds to Kansas State's 24. That would not be enough to counteract the damage done by turnovers; Oklahoma gave the ball away 16 times.
"Our dives, loose balls, deflections, those little things make a difference," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "We made up for the lack of rebounding by getting those . 50-50 balls, or those energy kind of plays that you need."
Even so, Kansas State (15-2, 4-0) only got a double-digit lead in the second half. Oklahoma quickly responded with a 9-4 run that cut the Wildcats' lead to five points.
After turning the ball over just four times in the first half, Kansas State got whistled for a backcourt violation and a travel on consecutive possessions. Oklahoma took advantage of neither opportunity.
Instead, the Wildcats rallied from the series of mistakes with an 8-1 run that began with a contested 3 by Spradling and continued with a basket by Jordan Henriquez and McGruder's fourth 3 of the game. Free throws by Spradling gave Kansas State a 51-37 lead with 8:50 remaining.
With the Wildcats up 52-39 a few minutes later, Oklahoma went on a 9-2 run that included two baskets by Osby and a 3 by Steven Pledger, bringing the Sooners within 52-48.
Spradling promptly hit a long jumper to widen the gap to 55-48.
Rodriguez helped seal the deal in the closing minutes with a slashing layup in the paint and a 3 that put Kansas State up 61-52 with 2:25 left.
Down 66-56 with just under a minute to play, the Sooners resorted to fouling, and the Wildcats prevailed.
The game stayed close in the first half thanks to Oklahoma's rebounding and Kansas State's scoring off turnovers. The Sooners' 20-10 edge on the boards yielded 16 points in the paint in the first half, but the Wildcats offset that advantage by scoring 19 points off 11 Oklahoma turnovers.
"That's entirely because of Kansas State," Kruger said. "I thought their defense was outstanding."
The Sooners got as much separation as they ever would when Andrew Fitzgerald scored twice in the paint and was credited with two more points after a goaltending call. The sequence gave Oklahoma a 12-7 lead 6 minutes into the game.
Consecutive 3s by Spradling allowed Kansas State within 14-13 of Oklahoma midway through the first half.
"I really started to understand what they were trying to do to guard us, and it actually got real easy towards the end to read them on the screens," Spradling said. "With our bigs screening the way they did today, it was real easy to get open."
The Wildcats briefly took the lead after Rodriguez stole the ball and converted on a fastbreak layup.
The teams traded baskets, and then an emphatic dunk by Osby on an inbounds play gave the Sooners a 21-17 lead. Two free throws each by McGruder and Adrian Diaz tied the game.
The free throws were the first points for McGruder, but apparently those were enough to get him going. He proceeded to drain 3s on three straight possessions.
The Wildcats would go on to make 10 3s in the game.
"It's a difference-maker in the game when you study the stats because they had more field goals than us and overall they dominated the rebounds," Weber said. "If you run motion, you keep moving the ball, you keep spacing, it's going to get to the shooters, and finally we're starting to make some shots."
Following McGruder's trio of long-range shots, a dunk by Diaz and a 3 by Southwell gave Kansas State a 35-27 halftime lead.
Kansas State won't get to celebrate long. On Tuesday the Wildcats host No. 4 Kansas, their archrival and a perennial championship contender.
"It doesn't stop here," McGruder said. "We just better prepare for Kansas."
MANHATTAN, Kan. —
Kansas State finally got the better of its old coach.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Verdigris battles Tahlequah Sequoyah in Checotah
Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan drained two key 3-pointers during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Finals that provided a spark and a huge win over Vian.
Hanslovan, who is accustomed to winning state championships in soccer, will look to move the No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals one step closer toward a berth in the 3A State Tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in the area finals against Tahlequah Sequoyah at Checotah High School.
Catoosa HS set to host Class 6A Girls Area; 5A Boys Area tourneys
For high school basketball enthusiasts in Rogers County, Catoosa High School is the place to be on Thursday and Friday.
Catoosa High School will host the Class 6A Girls Area and Class 5A Boys Area over the two-day period.
Class 3A Regional Champions
It’s takes two to tango and the Verdigris basketball teams are dancing their way to the Class 3A Area Finals.
With a state tournament berth on the line Friday night, both Verdigris teams return to a familiar place on the road to state in Oklahoma City.
The Class 3A No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals waltzed past Vian, 58-46 and the No. 4-ranked Cardinals decked Eufaula, 66-53 to cap off the regional championship night Saturday inside the Jack Collins Fieldhouse.
Claremore set to host 4A Area Basketball Tournament
Claremore High School will be a busy place Thursday through Saturday with several of the state’s top Class 4A basketball teams competing in the area tournament.
West Virginia, Baylor top Big 12 Women's BB Tourney
It took West Virginia two years to make a splash in the Big 12.
The seventh-ranked Mountaineers earned a share of the regular-season title in their second year in the league and take a 10-game win streak into the conference tournament that starts Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
BIG 12 MBB: No. 16 Iowa State looks to close with win over Oklahoma State
Iowa State is more than ready for the postseason after playing 17 games in the nation's most grueling conference.
Still, the Cyclones wouldn't mind picking up a little momentum before heading to the Big 12 tournament and beyond.
No. 16 Iowa State (22-7, 10-7 Big 12) has dropped its last two games, road losses to Kansas State and Baylor, after going 7-1 in February.
NBA CAPSULES: Duncan paces Spurs past Heat
Tim Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed against the Miami Heat, weathering a sluggish third quarter for an intense and emotional 111-87 victory Thursday.
MLB: Hill arrives at Red Sox camp following son's death
Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill starts spring training with a heavy heart.
Hill reported to Boston's camp on Thursday following the death of son Brooks, who was less than 2 months old when he died on Feb. 24.
Sports medicine pioneer Frank Jobe dies at 88
Dr. Frank Jobe, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform an elbow procedure that became known as Tommy John surgery and saved the careers of countless major league pitchers, died Thursday. He was 88.
AP Source: 10-second rule withdrawn by committee
Round one of the pace-of-play debate goes to the proponents of fast football.
The NCAA football rules committee tabled a proposal Wednesday that would have penalized offenses for snapping the ball before 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock, The Associated Press has learned.
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