Another blizzard blew through the Great Plains Monday night, preventing fans from getting out to support the Kansas State Wildcats in their tussle with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Despite the weather and an unfazed Tech squad, the Wildcats (12-3, 24-4) overcame an uninspired first half to gain the 75-55 victory.
Thomas Gipson paced the ‘Cats with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Angel Rodriguez pitched in 16 points with 7 assists, and Rodney McGruder was good for 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Dusty Hannahs led the Red Raiders (2-13, 9-17) with 14, and Jaye Crockett helped out with 13.
The most important player of the night though, was Nino Williams, who with about 14 minutes to play, and KSU trailing 44-42, scored 11 points in a row to finally spark the Wildcats. Those were they only points Williams scored but they were enough. He also hauled in 7 boards. KSU then closed out the game almost unimpeded by the Red Raiders, stretching Williams’ hot streak out to finish with a 33-11 run as a team. The final score wasn’t indicative of how close the games was for 25 minutes. It took a jumper from Rodney McGruder at the buzzer to give KSU the lead at half time 31-30, and even that shot didn’t fall easily, as it rolled around the rim several times before finally dropping through. The last 15 minutes or so though, the Wildcats’ talent won out.
For the second game in a row, the Wildcats were extremely efficient on the offensive end. They cashed in 29 of 57 shots for 51% and had 20 assists on those 29 baskets. They crushed Tech on the boards, more than doubling the Red Raiders total, 41-20. About the only thing Kansas State did not do well was shoot from three, where the only made 19% on 3-16 shooting.
The Wildcat victory gave them the most Big 12 wins in school hostory and it kept Kansas State in a tie for first place in the Big 12 Conference with the Kansas Jayhawks. Each have three games left on their regular season schedules. K-State travels to Waco Saturday to take on the unpredictable Baylor Bears.