Rodney McGruder’s three-point basket as time ran out gave 13th-ranked Kansas State a thrilling and dramatic 64-61 victory over a scrappy Baylor team before a stunned crowd Saturday night at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. McGruder’s game-winner culminated a series of bizarre events that surrounded the end of a game that seemed certain to head to overtime. Earlier, the Wildcats badly missed a shot that would have won them the game giving Baylor the ball with one second left. However, the Bears threw the ball the length of the court and it went out of bounds without any player touching the ball giving K-State another chance. McGruder following a timeout took a pass from Angel Rodriguez and sank the jumper that gave K-State its school record-tying 24th regular season win.
The game was a back and forth affair much of the night with Baylor’s largest lead at five points and the Wildcats leading by no more than four. K-State had that 27-23 lead late in the first half before the Bears stormed back and took a 34-33 lead into the locker room at intermission. K-State seemingly had seized momentum by scoring the first seven points of the second half and twice led by six points but Baylor refused to back down.
Baylor’s Pierre Jackson tied the game on a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left in the second half before K-State ran down the clock and tried for the first time to win the game before succeeding moments later. McGruder led the Wildcats and tied for a game-high 18 points with Jackson while Rodriguez added 13 points and Martavious Irving had 11.
Kansas State (24-5, 13-3) remained in a first place tie in the Big 12 with Kansas after the Jayhawks routed West Virginia earlier Saturday in Lawrence. The Wildcats with victories in their last two contests would earn a share of the Big 12 Championship. K-State’s last regular season conference title was in 1977. The 13 conference victories are the most for any Wildcat Men’s Basketball team since 1960.
K-State will hold Senior Night in their final home game of the season on Tuesday when they entertain new Big 12 foe TCU. Tipoff at Bramlage Coliseum is set for 7 p.m.
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