The Kansas State Wildcats are serious in their bid to win their first Big 12 Conference basketball title. They showed up in Austin, Texas ready to play and they left town with a 81-69 victory over the Texas Longhorns. The win over the Longhorns kept KSU in a tie for first place with the Kansas Jayhawks in the league standings.
Wildcat Rodney McGruder turned in a typical yeoman performance with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals, while the flourishing Angel Rodriguez scored 16 with 6 assists, and Shane Southwell pitched in with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo, in only his 4th game back from a NCAA-mandated suspension, led the Longhorns 24 points and 6 rebounds.
Kansas State (11-3, 22-5) jumped out to an early 13-4 lead and Texas (4-10, 12-15) never really threatened the rest of the game. The Wildcats hit 9 three-pointers in 18 attempts and had an efficient 19 assists on their 26 made field goals. A key to the game was free throw shooting. KSU had 11 fewer charity tosses but made 1 more than the Longhorns. KSU hit 20-22 for 91% while UT converted 19-33 for only 58%.
Kansas State is doing everything possible to maintain their position atop the Big 12 standings by playing their best ball of the year. The Wildcats look much better on offense than they did a year ago and have maintained their defensive intensity they had under former coach, Frank Martin. Present coach Bruce Weber has done a terrific job molding this team into a better rounded unit and has them poised to make school history with a Big 12 championship.