Rodney McGruder scored 18 points while his Kansas State teammates were able to overcome inconsistent periods and hold off Texas Tech runs as the 13th-ranked Wildcats defeated the Red Raiders 68-59 Tuesday night at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock.
K-State jumped out to a 23-13 first half lead over the talented but inexperienced Red Raiders in the first half, but Tech would not back down and went on a 15-8 run to slice the lead to 31-28 late in the first half. However the Wildcats then closed out the first half on a 6-1 run to lead 37-29 at halftime. McGruder then took over in the second half and scored the majority of his points as he bounced back from being held to seven points in Saturday’s win at Oklahoma. The Wildcats led by as much as 12 points in the second half but Texas Tech (9-11, 2-7) could close to gap to no closer than six points and solid free throw shooting down the stretch sealed K-State’s third straight win and second in a row on the road.
McGruder was one of four Wildcats in double figures joined by Angel Rodriguez who had 13 points, Thomas Gipson who had a huge first half added 12 points and Martavious Irving chipped in with 10. Jordan Tolbert led three Red Raiders in double figures with 19 points. Kansas State (18-4, 7-2) shot 43 percent from the floor for the game which included knocking down exactly 50 percent of their shots in the first half.
The Wildcats return to Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday for a key game against Iowa State as the two teams battle for second place in the Big 12. The Cyclones won the first meeting between the two teams in Ames 73-67 on January 26. Tipoff on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum is set for 5 p.m.
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