Manhattan, KS– Paced by 22 points from Rodney McGruder and a season-high 20 points from Angel Rodriguez, No. 13 K-State (19-4, 8-2 Big 12) took care of business with a 79-70 win over the Iowa State Cyclones (16-7, 6-4 Big 12) in front of a sell-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum.
A three pointer from McGruder at the top of the key capped an 11-2 K-State run during which the Wildcats turned a 50-50 ballgame with 11:57 remaining into a 61-52 Wildcat lead just three minutes later.
The win, coupled with Oklahoma’s 72-66 win over Kansas, left the Wildcats all alone in first place in the Big 12 standings.
After jumping out to an early lead the Wildcats had to battle back to gain a 33-32 halftime advantage. Iowa State went on 26 to 11 run, that covered over nine minutes of the first half, and saw the Cyclones build a 22-28 lead with 5:28 until halftime.
K-State used 17 second-chance points in the second half to pull away for the victory. Thomas Gipson was key, scoring 11 of his 16 points during the second half and adding a team-high 7 rebounds.
K-State held Iowa State leading scorer Will Clyburn, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds in Iowa State’s 73-67 win over K-State in Ames, Iowa, to just 6 points and 2 boards in today’s contest.
K-State heads next about 90 miles east down I-70 to face the reeling Kansas Jayhawks on Monday night. It will likely be the first time that the Wildcats be the higher-ranked team going into a Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence since 1982.