The Norman Transcript

January 6, 2013

K-State edges OSU

By Ashley Dunkak
The Associated Press

MANHATTAN, Kan. — It’s rare that a 25-point performance by a freshman against a ranked team gets overshadowed.

Saturday was one of those days.

Marcus Smart, a freshman, scored a career-high 25 for No. 22 Oklahoma State, and had the Cowboys within two possessions of a road win over No. 25 Kansas State late in the game. But that’s when Rodney McGruder hit two 3-pointers, six of his game-high 28 points, and the Wildcats escaped with a 73-67 victory.

“They made big plays at the end of the game,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “Made big shots. Any time you get outrebounded like we did and allow their big guy to go off for 26 in the second half, you’re not going to win.”

McGruder was 10 of 13 from the field and hit all five of his 3-pointers after the break, including two in the closing minutes. The first answered seven straight points by the Cowboys, and the second gave Kansas State (12-2, 1-0 Big 12) a 70-65 lead with 1:37 left.

Le’Bryan Nash missed at the other end, and despite two rare misses from the foul line by Will Spradling, the Wildcats had enough to hang on in coach Bruce Weber’s Big 12 debut.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for McGruder,” said Markel Brown, who added 19 points for the Cowboys. “He just kind of took over the game, making timely 3s, getting into the paint, getting points off of second chance shots. He just went out there and did what he was supposed to do for his team.”

Kansas State won despite an inability to shut down Smart.

The athletic guard scored on an assortment of driving layups, pull-up jumpers and free throws to build on a 23-point performance Monday night, when the Cowboys lost 69-67 to No. 10 Gonzaga.

“It was exactly like I expected,” Smart said. “I knew it was going to be tough and physical. It’s a battle every game. It was very physical, but that is exactly what I expected.”

Nino Williams added a career-best 17 points for Kansas State, which welcomed back guards Angel Rodriguez and Martavious Irving after missing two games with injuries. Rodriguez had eight assists as the Wildcats beat the Cowboys for the third straight time.

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