Last year on December 11th, Kansas State needed an overtime to come out on top against North Florida. This time around the Cats made the first basket of the game, were up by ten points after seven and a half minutes and never let the Ospreys get any closer the rest of the night. The end result was a 74-55 win for Kansas State but in reality it wasn’t even that close. The Wildcats led by 30 with 6:15 left in the game before North Florida closed the gap on the back of a 12-1 run.
Rodney McGruder led all scorers with 16 points and was one of the few Wildcats to shoot better than 50% from the floor (7-13). Thomas Gipson came off the bench to score 12 and pull down 9 rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Since Weber was able to give his bench quite a bit of playing time, several other players had solid contributions. The best performance of the day however goes to sophomore F Adrian Diaz who scored 9 points and collected 10 rebounds – 8 of which came off errant Wildcat shots. He did all of this in just 14 minutes of action before fouling out.
North Florida freshman Beau Beech came off the bench to score 15 points, grab 7 rebounds and a block a shot in 20 minutes. Junior forward Travis Wallace scored 13 on 5-9 shooting. He also contributed 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Both teams failed to shoot better than 40% on the afternoon. K-State made 25 of 66 attempts (37.9%) while the Ospreys were 20-55 (36.4%). From three point land the teams were even worse combining to go 9-39. North Florida accounted for most of that total with a 6-24 performance. With so many shots missing their mark there were plenty of rebounds to be had and the Wildcats certainly flexed their muscle to win that battle 52 to 28.
North Florida (1-3) travels to Tallahassee to face off against the Florida State Seminoles (3-1) on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, with a 6 pm CT tip-off, Kansas State (4-0) will take on the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens (2-1). The game will be held at Madison Square Garden as the NIT Preseason Tournament continues. Delaware took down Virginia 59-53 to advance to the semifinal in New York.