Kansas State coach Bruce Weber wasn’t entirely enthralled with the way his 13th-ranked Wildcats beat Texas Tech Red Raiders.
”I thought for the first time in a long time we took some debatable shots, which was disappointing to me,” he said. ”We were on our toes, not in the places we wanted to be, gave them acouple of easy baskets.”
Rodney McGruder had 18 points and 9 rebounds to steer Kansas State to the 68-59 victory that extended the Wildcats’ lucky run to 3 games.
Angel Rodriguez added 13 points and Thomas Gibson had 12 for the Wildcats (18-4, 7-2 Big 12).
McGruder was 6 of 11 from the field, while Rodriguez was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and was flawless in 4 free throws attempts.
It was bouncing back where the Wildcats showed why they’re a team to be reckoned with. Kansas State finished with 38 rebounds, 23 defensive, while Texas Tech had an overall total of 20.
When it got closer Weber let his players know it.
”We knew we had to step it up and as he would say, ‘Get our rear in gear,”’ McGruder declared. ”We really had to focus in and look after the task at hand.”
Jordan Tolbert scored 19 points and Dejan Kravic added 12 for Texas Tech (9-11, 2-7), which finished with 4 turnovers, its fewest of the season.
For Texas Tech it was its 7th loss in the past 8 games after opening Big 12 play with a win at TCU. It was the Red Raiders’ 3rd straight loss.
Down by 8 points to start the 2nd half, Tech used a 5-0 run on a 3-pointer by Ty Nurse and a dunk by Jaye Crockett to pull within 37-34. Its defense got assertive, forcing 3 turnovers in the first few minutes.
Weber obviously saw the surge from the Texas Tech and hollered to his team, ”You better wake up. They’re playing.”
His words seemed to sink in and the Wildcats employed a 6-0 run, including a 3-pointer and a field goal by Martavious Irving, who finished with 10 points, to go up 48-38 with 12:25 remaining.
Josh Gray hit a jumper for the Texas Tech only to be answered by a 3 from Shane Southwell and a basket by McGruder to put Kansas State up 53-40 about a minute later. Sports scores
But the Texas Tech Red Raiders failed to relent. Kravic hit a field goal and 2 free throws and Gray got another field goal before Tolbert hit a jumper and layup to drag them inside 58-50 with 7:02 remaining.
A tip-in by Kravic off a miss by Gray cut the shortage to 58-52 before McGruder hit a layup and a free throw to put the Wildcats up 61-52 with less than 6 minutes to play.
A charging foul against Gray on the following possession led on to 2 free throws by Rodriguez to push the lead straight to 63-52 with less than 4 1-2 minutes left. The Texas Tech Red Raiders couldn’t cut into the deficit anymore.
Red Raiders pulled within 3 points with roughly 2:30 remaining in the 1st half before Will Spradling hit 3 straight field goals for Kansas State Wildcats, which led 37-29 at halftime.