McGruder guides Wildcats past Cowboys
Manhattan, KS (Sports Network) - Rodney McGruder scored 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting as the 25th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats opened Big 12 play with a 73-67 victory over No. 22 Oklahoma State.
Nino Williams had 17 points and five rebounds for the Wildcats (12-2, 1-0 Big 12), who have won five in a row.
"Obviously, it is a good win. It was not only the first conference game, but it was against a very good team," said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber.
Freshman Marcus Smart paced the Cowboys (10-3, 0-1) with a career-high 25 points, while Markel Brown added 19 in Oklahoma State's second straight loss.
The Cowboys, who were coming off Monday's one-point home setback to No. 10 Gonzaga, went up 43-41 on a Brown basket with just under 14 minutes remaining in the second half.
McGruder then hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 10-2 Kansas State run, but Smart knocked down a trey to trim the deficit to 53-52 midway through the frame. Williams responded with consecutive baskets, and McGruder nailed another 3-pointer to make it 62-56 with about seven minutes to play.
Oklahoma State fought back and pulled even at 64-64 on two Phil Forte free throws. McGruder, though, put the game away by draining two more shots from beyond the arc, the second of which gave the Wildcats a 70-65 advantage inside of two minutes.
Le'Bryan Nash, Smart and Forte each missed 3-pointers down the stretch for the Cowboys.
"(The Wildcats) made big plays at the end of the game and they made some big shots," said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford.
Kansas State snapped a four-game losing streak in Big 12 openers ... Oklahoma State had won six straight conference lid-lifters ... The game featured 12 lead changes ... K-State held a 39-29 rebounding edge and outscored the Cowboys, 18-4, in second-chance points ... This marked just the third meeting and first since 1958 that both teams were ranked.