Cats Fall To KU In Big 12 Final

The Kansas State Wildcats were looking to make history Saturday night. K-State had not won a conference tournament since the 1979-80 season when they hammered a higher-seeded Kansas team at old Kemper Arena in Kansas City. After breaking a 36-year regular season championship drought last week by sharing this year’s Big 12 title with KU the Wildcats sought to win the tourney title from them.

However, poor shooting and foul trouble doomed the 11th-ranked Wildcats as they fell to seventh-ranked Kansas 70-54 in the Big 12 title game before another tournament record crowd of 19,256 at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. It was the second time in the last four years the two Kansas teams had met in the final and both times the Jayhawks have prevailed.

After leading 11-8 with 11:49 left in the first half, the Wildcats went more than 10 minutes without a field goal until Angel Rodriguez sank a three-pointer just before halftime. Despite their cold shooting and having Will Spradling in foul trouble, KU held just a 24-18 advantage at intermission. Early in the second half K-State twice pulled to within three points but the duo of Jeff Withey and Kevin Young helped the Jayhawks run away and hide for much of the second half and left the Wildcats to settle for second in the tournament.

Rodney McGruder led K-State with 18 points and Rodriguez had 10. Withey poured in 17 points for Kansas while Nadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis each had 12.

Kansas State (27-7) now awaits its destination for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. There’s a lot of speculation the Wildcats could be headed right back to the Sprint Center next weekend, however nothing is official until the pairings are announced on Sunday. Sportsradio 1350 KMAN will bring you live coverage of the Selection Show Sunday at 5 p.m. from the Dial Global Radio Network.
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